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Leinster find a different position for out-half Harry Byrne

By Liam Heagney
Ireland's Harry Byrne (Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)

Leinster have selected No10 Harry Byrne at inside centre for the first time in two years. The 24-year-old has started 35 times in his 60 appearances for the Irish province and has nearly always been named at fly-half.

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It was during the 2022 Guinness Six Nations when he was given a three-game run at No12, playing against Ospreys, Lions and Benetton in quick succession. In that series, he formed a 12/10 partnership with his older brother Ross.

That combination has now been revived for Saturday night’s URC game at Cardiff, the younger Byrne returning for provincial duty following his recent involvement with Andy Farrell’s Ireland.

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Byrne played the closing 25 minutes of the round two Guinness Six Nations win over Italy on February 11 but was omitted from the replacements when Farrell opted to go with a six/two forwards/backs bench in last Saturday’s round three win over Wales.

He has since gone back to Leinster where he will now start at centre outside his brother Ross, who returned to playing in the February 17 home win over Benetton after a shoulder injury sidelined him for the winter months.

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Another recent Ireland cap restored to the Leinster backline for the trip to Wales is Jordan Larmour, who also featured off the Test bench against the Italians. His start at full-back in place of Henry McErlean will see him win his 100th provincial cap.

The inclusion of Byrne at No12, which is the only other change in personnel to XV that started two weekends ago at the RDS, has resulted in Jamie Osborne and Liam Turner moving to Nos13 and 14 respectively with Tommy O’Brien excluded.

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Leinster head into round 11 of the URC as league leaders three points ahead of Glasgow after eight wins in 10 outings.

Leinster (vs Cardiff, Saturday)
15. Jordan Larmour (99)
14. Liam Turner (24)
13. Jamie Osborne (37)
12. Harry Byrne (60)
11. Rob Russell (25)
10. Ross Byrne (152)
9. Luke McGrath (202)
1. Jack Boyle (10)
2. Lee Barron (14)
3. Thomas Clarkson (34)
4. Ross Molony (172)
5. Jason Jenkins (30)
6. Will Connors (44)
7. Scott Penny (65, capt)
8. Max Deegan (106)

Replacements:
16. John McKee (22)
17. Michael Milne (32)
18. Michael Ala’alatoa (59)
19. Brian Deeny (17)
20. Rhys Ruddock (225)
21. Ben Murphy (10)
22. Sam Prendergast (11)
23. Ben Brownlee (5)

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