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Academy scrumhalf gets first start as Leinster 'B team' takes on Stormers

By Kim Ekin
Rhys Ruddock, left, and Cormac Foley during a Leinster Rugby Captain's Run at the DHL Stadium in Cape Town, South Africa. (Photo By Harry Murphy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

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After coming within inches of beating the Sharks last weekend in Durban, Leinster head coach Leo Cullen has heavily rotated his team to take on URC rivals, the DHL Stormers, in Cape Town.

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Eyebrows were raised when Cullen named a second-string 31-man touring squad for South Africa, but the Dublin-based side showed they were certainly a match for the Sharks despite ultimately losing 28 – 23 after a late assault on the home side’s line was thwarted.

Once again Leinster are fielding a 23 light in experience, with not a single player from their Heineken Champions Cup victory over Connacht featuring in the 23. Six of the starting XV have won less than 10 caps for the side, while Rhys Ruddock at No.8 boasts more caps (205) than the entirety of the rest of the starting pack.

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Cullen is giving a first start to academy scrumhalf Cormac Foley, who will make win his fourth cap for the province, alongside Ciarán Frawley at 10.

Rory O’Loughlin moves from the wing to the centre, while Jamie Osborne keeps his number 13 shirt. At fullback, Max O’Reilly is joined by Adam Byrne and Rob Russell.

Brian Deeny and Josh Murphy remain in the second row. Ruddock captains the side, with Alex Soroka and Scott Penny rounding out the back row. After recovering from injury, Michael Milne has been included among the replacements with the hopes of making his first appearance of the season.

Cullen’s youngsters will certainly have their hands full against a Stormers side that are looking to make it eight home wins in a row.

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LEINSTER TEAM (Leinster caps in brackets):
15. Max O’Reilly (8)
14. Adam Byrne (64)
13. Jamie Osborne (17)
12. Rory O’Loughlin (95)
11. Rob Russell (3)
10. Ciarán Frawley (51)
9. Cormac Foley (3)
1. Ed Byrne (83)
2. John McKee (1)
3. Thomas Clarkson (16)
4. Brian Deeny (1)
5. Josh Murphy (59)
6. Alex Soroka (3)
7. Scott Penny (39)
8. Rhys Ruddock (205) CAPTAIN

REPLACEMENTS:
16. Lee Barron (1)
17. Michael Milne (16)
18. Vakh Abdaladze (16)
19. Jack Dunne (19)
20. Seán O’Brien (2)
21. Nick McCarthy (46)
22. Harry Byrne (33)
23. Martin Moloney (6)

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