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After the win last week at Thomond Park against Munster, Leinster boss Leo Cullen has brought in a number of fresh faces. It’s a completely new backline with Jordan Larmour coming in at full-back, Fergus McFadden in on the right wing and Dave Kearney back on the left.
Peter Dooley, Sean Cronin and Tadhg Furlong start in the front row for Leinster, with Ross Molony and James Ryan behind them in the second row. In the back row, captain Rhys Ruddock is joined by Will Connors and Max Deegan.
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Second row Niall Murray is set to make his first start for Connacht. The 20-year-old came off the bench in the recent Champions Cup win over Gloucester. Gavin Thornbury has returned from injury to partner Murray in the second row.
In the front row, prop Denis Buckley also returns to the starting team where he lines up alongside hooker Shane Delahunt and Dominic Robertson McCoy at tighthead. In the back row, Eoghan Masterson is included at blindside with his brother and academy player Sean among the replacements.
Connacht boss Andy Friend said: “We are fully aware of the challenge we face. Leinster have been impressing week in week out in the Guinness PRO14 and the Champions Cup and have set the standard so far this season.
“We really challenged them in the corresponding fixture last season and the lesson from that game is that to beat them you need to deliver a top-class performance over 80 minutes or they will punish you.”
LEINSTER: 15. Jordan Larmour; 14. Fergus McFadden, 13. Garry Ringrose, 12. Joe Tomane, 11. Dave Kearney; 10. Ciaran Frawley, 9. Luke McGrath, 1. Peter Dooley, 2. Sean Cronin, 3. Tadhg Furlong, 4. Ross Molony, 5. James Ryan, 6. Rhys Ruddock (capt), 7. Will Connors, 8. Max Deegan. Reps: 16. Bryan Byrne, 17. Ed Byrne, 18. Roman Salanoa, 19. Ryan Baird, 20. Caelan Doris, 21. Jamison Gibson-Park, 22. Harry Byrne, 23. Cian Kelleher.
CONNACHT: 15. Stephen Fitzgerald; 14. Niyi Adeolokun, 13. Kyle Godwin, 12. Tom Daly, 11. John Porch; 10. Conor Fitzgerald, 9. Caolin Blade (capt); 1. Denis Buckley, 2. Shane Delahunt, 3. Dominic Robertson-McCoy, 4. Niall Murray, 5. Gavin Thornbury, 6. Eoghan Masterson, 7. Paul Boyle, 8. Robin Copeland. Reps: 16. Tom McCartney, 17. Paddy McAllister, 18. Conor Kenny, 19. Joe Maksymiw, 20. Sean Masterson, 21. Stephen Kerins, 22. David Horwitz, 23. Tiernan O’Halloran.
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