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All Black and Springbok pair to make Leinster debut

By Ian Cameron
Jason Jenkins (Photo by Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images)

Former All Blacks centre Charlie Ngatai and Springboks lock Jason Jenkins are set to make their official Leinster bows this weekend in the opening round of the URC.

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Ngatai joined from Top 14 side Lyon, while Jenkins made the relatively short journey from Limerick after a couple of seasons with Munster, where injury hampered his game time.

Leinster takes on Zebre Parma at Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi and head coach Leo Cullen has named a mixed side, that includes both experienced Ireland internationals and young gun Leinster products.

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Rhys Ruddock captains the side alongside Scott Penny and Max Deegan in the back row.

Ireland and Lions hooker Rónan Kelleher, who is returning from injury, partners Ed Byrne and Michael Ala’alatoa in the front row, with Ross Molony and Jenkins partnering up for the first time in the engine room.

Luke McGrath and Ross Byrne make up the half-backs with Ngatai joining newly promoted academy product Jamie Osborne in the centres.

There’s also a return for Dave Kearney who back from a long-term injury. He’s named on the left wing with academy duo Rob Russell and Max O’Reilly making up the back-three unit. Will Connors also returns from injury, on the Leinster bench.

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LEINSTER TEAM:
15. Max O’Reilly
14. Rob Russell
13. Jamie Osborne
12. Charlie Ngatai
11. Dave Kearney
10. Ross Byrne
9. Luke McGrath

1. Ed Byrne
2. Rónan Kelleher
3. Michael Ala’alatoa
4. Ross Molony
5. Jason Jenkins
6. Rhys Ruddock CAPTAIN
7. Scott Penny
8. Max Deegan

REPLACEMENTS:
16. John McKee
17. Michael Milne
18. Vakhtang Abdaladze
19. Brian Deeny
20. Alex Soroka
21. Nick McCarthy
22. Ciarán Frawley
23. Will Connors

Referee – Ben Blain (SRU – 21st competition game)

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