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Flags banned from Rec

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Early controversy at Leinster Bath match as flags banned from the Rec

There’s been an early controversy prior to Bath and Leinster’s European Rugby Champions Cup game at the Rec.

Reigning champions Leinster travel to Bath in the same pool looking to return to winning ways after their 10-match unbeaten run was abruptly ended by Toulouse in Round 2.

However, their supporters have had deal with their flags being banned from the stadium on health and safety grounds.

The Official Leinster Supporters Club (OLSC) tweeted in the last hour “We brought 1500 flags over today’s game and Bath Rugby are refusing to let us distribute them. They are saying that the flags failed a health and safety test.”

“These flags have been passed as safe by Airports and stadia all over the world. We would like to apologise to supporters for this disappointing news. We did everything we could to get the flags from Bath but they wouldn’t release them.”

Bath Rugby responded, stating: “We’re really sorry – the flags were tested against three safety criteria & failed all three including fire. We have to take safety seriously, but we realise it’s disappointing. We’re really looking forward to the game & we know you’ll bring the noise to the Rec today.”

There is a return for a host of Irish internationals and a welcome return from injury for a number of players.

Rob Kearney starts at full back with Jordan Larmour on the right wing and James Lowe on the left.

In the centre Noel Reid partners Garry Ringrose, while in the half backs Luke McGrath starts at nine with captain Johnny Sexton outside him at ten.

In the front row Cian Healy, Seán Cronin and Tadhg Furlong are named with Devin Toner and James Ryan completing the tight five.

In the back row Rhys Ruddock, winning his 150th cap, Josh van der Flier and the fit again Dan Leavy complete the pack.

On the bench Carlow’s Ed Byrne is in line to make his European debut. The 25 year old, who made his Leinster debut in 2014, has though been blighted by injury and missed 28 months with two separate knee injuries.

The loosehead prop has though been on a good run of form and games over the last 12 months with 23 games played in that time.

Meanwhile Charlie Ewels starts for Bath in the second row alongside Dave Attwood, who returns to the starting line-up to face the reigning European Champions. Nathan Catt and Henry Thomas start either side of Tom Dunn in the front row.

Tom Ellis and Sam Underhill start at blindside and openside flanker respectively, with South African international Francois Louw switching to number eight to complete the back row.

Scrum-half Will Chudley partners James Wilson in the half-back combination, with Jamie Roberts coming back into the fold at inside centre. Roberts will be joined by Jackson Willison in the midfield for the third round of the competition.

Joe Cokanasiga continues on the left wing, with the England international the Club’s top scorer with five tries already to his name this season. Semesa Rokoduguni starts on the opposite flank, with Ruaridh McConnochie at full-back.

Fly-half Freddie Burns has been ruled out of the game with a foot injury.

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Early controversy at Leinster Bath match as flags banned from the Rec