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Leinster send largely second string 31-man squad to South Africa

By Kim Ekin
Leinster players after their defeat in the United Rugby Championship match between Ulster and Leinster at Kingspan Stadium in Belfast. (Photo By Harry Murphy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

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Leinster are sending a mostly second-string squad on a two week tour of South Africa in the United Rugby Championship.

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Just six of the 23-man matchday squad that started against Connacht on Friday are included in the 31-man squad to play two URC games in the coming fortnight.

Andrew Porter, Ronan Kelleher, Michael Ala’alatoa, Josh Murphy, Rhys Ruddock and Ciaran Frawley are the only survivors from the Heineken Champions Cup Round of 16 second leg at the Aviva Stadium.

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Ireland internationals Porter and Kelleher are both returning from injury and in need of game time.

Ruddock will captain the side which will play the Cell-C Sharks at the Hollywoodbets Kings Park and a week later, in Cape Town, the DHL Stormers at the Green Point Stadium.

Second row James Ryan – who was concussed during the Guinness Six Nations game against England after colliding with Charlie Ewels – is not included in the squad.

It will be the first time that Leinster will have played either side.

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Leinster Rugby are in first place with three rounds remaining before the Quarter-Final line-up is announced, while both South African sides are vying for a berth in the top four of the United Rugby Championship table.

The Cell-C Sharks are currently in 6th position with nine wins from 15 games in the United Rugby Championship, and they are a point behind the DHL Stormers in 5th, also with nine wins from 15 games played.

So far just one European-based URC side has claimed a victory on South African soil in the inaugural season. Mike Blair Edinburgh bagged a 21 – 5 victory over the Sharks.

31-man Leinster squad: 

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1. Ed Byrne
2. Peter Dooley
3. Michael Milne
4. Andrew Porter
5. Rónan Kelleher
6. John McKee
7. James Tracy
8. Vakh Abdaladze
9. Michael Ala’alatoa
10. Thomas Clarkson
11. Brian Deeny
12. Jack Dunne
13. Josh Murphy
14. Martin Moloney
15. Rhys Ruddock CAPTAIN
16. Seán O’Brien
17. Scott Penny
18. Max Deegan
19. Alex Soroka
20. Cormac Foley
21. Nick McCarthy
22. Harry Byrne
23. David Hawkshaw
24. Tommy O’Brien
25. Rob Russell
26. Ciarán Frawley
27. Rory O’Loughlin
28. Jamie Osborne
29. Adam Byrne
30. Chris Cosgrave
31. Max O’Reilly

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