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Ireland U20s star Larmour starts at fullback for Leinster's pre-season trip to Perpignan

Leo Cullen has named a youthful XV for Friday’s friendly.

Larmour is in year two of the Leinster academy.
Larmour is in year two of the Leinster academy.
Image: Donall Farmer/INPHO

WITH A HOST of senior players still working their way back after summer exertions with the Lions and Ireland, Leo Cullen has named a youthful squad for Leinster’s pre-season trip to Perpignan tomorrow night.

The province’s preparations for the 2017/18 campaign will intensify on Friday when they play the first of three friendlies at the Aime Giral Stadium, kick off 7pm Irish time.

Ed Byrne will captain Leinster for the first time having made his return from a lengthy injury layoff towards the back end of last season, with 25 players in total travelling to France.

Among those hoping to impress will be Ireland U20s start Jordan Larmour who is named to start at fullback in a back three including wingers Adam Byrne and Ian Fitzpatrick.

Former St Andrew’s College student Larmour missed Ireland’s U20 Championship campaign after undergoing ankle surgery in May but has returned to fitness to take a full part in pre-season training.

There are six academy players in total included in Cullen’s starting XV with Fitzpatrick, Larmour, Jimmy O’Brien, Jeremy Loughman, Will Connors and Josh Murphy given the chance at senior level.

There is a sprinkling of experience in the travelling party, too, with Ian Nagle and Mick Kearney partnered together in the second row and Cathal Marsh and Nick McCarthy making up the halfback pairing.

Max Deegan, who was awarded a senior contract by the eastern province ahead of this season, joins Connors and Murphy in an inexperienced but exciting backrow unit, while Sean McNulty, Vakh Abdaladze, Oisin Dowling, Peadar Timmins and Hugo Keenan are among those included on an extended replacements bench.

Ed Byrne Ed Byrne will captain Leinster in France. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Speaking ahead of the trip, Cullen said it was a big window of opportunity for the younger members of the squad to put their hand up and gain invaluable experience at this level.

“The guys have worked hard, the young guys have been back since 19 June so everyone’s keen to get going now,” he said.

“Obviously the disappointment of losing the semi-final [Pro12 to Scarlets] at the end of last season were keen to get back playing games again.

“Guys have come back during the pre-season at various different stages and we’ll have a far old mix of youth and experience against Perpignan so it will be a good experience for all the guys who are going to travel. It’s a great window of opportunity for them.”

It will be the first meeting of the sides since the 2003 Heineken Cup semi-final at Lansdowne Road, which the French outfit won 21-14.

Cullen’s men will then welcome Gloucester to St Mary’s RFC on Friday 18 August before rounding off their preparations for the new season with a fixture against Bath on Donnybrook a week later.

Leinster will kick off the new Guinness Pro14 season away to Bernard Jackman’s Dragons on Saturday 2 September.

Leinster:

15. Jordan Larmour
14. Adam Byrne
13. Jimmy O’Brien
12. Tom Daly
11. Ian Fitzpatrick
10. Cathal Marsh
9. Nick McCarthy

1. Ed Byrne (captain)
2. Bryan Byrne
3. Jeremy Loughman
4. Mick Kearney
5. Ian Nagle
6. Josh Murphy
7. Will Connors
8. Max Deegan

Replacements:

16. Sean McNulty
17. Vakh Abdaladze
18. Oisín Heffernan
19. Oisín Dowling
20. Peadar Timmins
21. Charlie Rock
22. Noel Reid
23. Hugo Keenan
24. Barry Daly
25. Peter Dooley

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