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Leinster assemble international laden squad for visit of Bulls

By Ian Cameron
Michael Alaalatoa has agreed to join Leinster. (Getty)

Leinster have named a strong side for the visit of the Bulls to a 75 per cent capacity Aviva Stadium in Dublin tomorrow for their inaugural United Rugby Championship (URC) game.

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Jake White’s men can expect a baptism of fire in the Irish capital. The last time the Bulls played European opposition saw the Pretorians humbled by Treviso in the final of the Rainbow Cup. The Currie Cup champions went into that game as favorites but left Italy on the end of a 35 – 8 thrashing, albeit with a somewhat depleted squad.

Leinster head coach Leo Cullen has included seasoned Ireland internationals Johnny Sexton, Garry Ringrose, Johnny Sexton, Luke McGrath, James Ryan, Rhys Ruddock and Van Der Flier in the staring fifteen.

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There will also be a return for Andrew Porter, who missed out on the British & Irish Lions tour due to a foot injury. A tighthead of late, Porter will start at loosehead, the first time he has done so since 2016.

There will be a debut at tighthead for Samoan international Michael Ala’alatoa, while Leinster will have plenty of experience and talent on the bench with 231 times capped Cian Healy, Ryan Baird, Ross Byrne and Jamison Gibson-Park to call upon.

Meanwhile, Springbok veteran Bismarck du Plessis will make his debut for the Vodacom Bulls after joining the side earlier this month.

Leinster: Hugo Keenan, Rory O’Loughlin, Garry Ringrose, Ciarán Frawley, James Lowe, Johnny Sexton (CAPT), Luke McGrath, Andrew Porter, Dan Sheehan, Michael Ala’alatoa, Ross Molony, James Ryan, Rhys Ruddock, Josh van der Flier, Caelan Doris

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Replacements: James Tracy, Ed Byrne, Cian Healy, Ryan Baird, Max Deegan, Jamison Gibson-Park, Ross Byrne, Jamie Osborne

Vodacom Bulls: David Kriel, Cornal Hendricks, Lionel Mapoe, Harold Vorster, Madosh Tambwe, Johan Goosen, Zak Burger; Gerhard Steenekamp, Bismarck du Plessis, Mornay Smith, Walt Steenkamp, Ruan Nortje, Marcell Coetzee (CAPT), Arno Botha, Elrigh Louw

Replacements: Joe van Zyl, Simphiwe Matanzima, Jacques van Rooyen, Janko Swanepoel, Jacques du Plessis, Keagan Johannes, Chris Smith, Stedman Gans

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