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Nacewa returns, a first Leinster start for Murphy but Dragons come too soon for Ringrose

Leo Cullen has named his team to face Dragons in the Pro14 tomorrow evening.

Josh Murphy will make his first Leinster start on Friday.
Josh Murphy will make his first Leinster start on Friday.
Image: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

LEINSTER’S GUINNESS PRO14 clash with Dragons tomorrow evening has come too soon for Garry Ringrose, but Isa Nacewa returns from injury to captain the province [KO 7.35pm/TG4].

Leo Cullen has also handed a first start to academy flanker Josh Murphy after he made his senior debut off the bench in Leinster’s last outing against Glasgow Warriors before the November break.

Leinster have been strengthened by the return of several players from Ireland camp with Michael Bent and Jordi Murphy named to start and Jack Conan and Andrew Porter among the replacements.

Ringrose will have to wait another week at least to make his comeback from shoulder surgery with Stuart Lancaster confident on Monday that the centre will be fit in time to face Treviso next weekend.

Nacewa’s return from the ankle injury which has kept him out since the win over Montpellier in October and adds experience to the backline, with Jordan Larmour handed a start at fullback and Noel Reid and Rory O’Loughlin forming the midfield partnership for the fourth time this season.

Jamison Gibson-Park and Ross Byrne are the half backs while Fergus McFadden is named on the opposite wing to Nacewa, who will make his 175th appearance for the province.

Isa Nacewa Nacewa is back to captain Leinster. Source: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

Up front, Ed Byrne and Sean Cronin are joined by Bent in the front row with Ross Molony and Scott Fardy behind them. Murphy makes his full debut at six, with Jordi Murphy and Max Deegan making up the back row unit.

Alongside Porter and Conan on the bench is Conor O’Brien, who could make his first appearance at the RDS, while there is a first involvement of the season for Ian Nagle.

Leinster will be looking to get back to winning ways after their defeat at Scotstoun last time out and head into the second block of fixtures sitting third in Conference B of the Pro14, with six wins from eight. 

Meanwhile, Bernard Jackman has named his starting XV for tomorrow’s clash with the former Leinster hooker making eight changes from his side’s win over Scarlets in the Anglo-Welsh Cup last weekend.

Gavin Henson starts for the visitors at out-half, but Zane Kirchner misses out on a return to the RDS through injury.

Leinster:

15. Jordan Larmour
14. Fergus McFadden
13. Rory O’Loughlin
12. Noel Reid
11. Isa Nacewa (captain)
10. Ross Byrne
9. Jamison Gibson-Park

1. Ed Byrne
2. Seán Cronin
3. Michael Bent
4. Ross Molony
5. Scott Fardy
6. Josh Murphy
7. Jordi Murphy
8. Max Deegan

Replacements:

16. Richardt Strauss
17. Peter Dooley
18. Andrew Porter
19. Ian Nagle
20. Jack Conan
21. Nick McCarthy
22. Cathal Marsh
23. Conor O’Brien

Dragons:

15. Angus O’Brien
14. Jared Rosser
13. Adam Warren
12. Jack Dixon
11. Ashton Hewitt
10. Gavin Henson
9. Sarel Pretorius

1. Sam Hobbs
2. Ellis Shipp
3. Lloyd Fairbrother
4. Joe Davies
5. Matthew Screech
6. Aaron Wainwright
7. Ollie Griffiths (captain)
8. James Benjamin.

Replacements:

16. Gerard Ellis
17. Luke Garrett
18. Brok Harris
19. Rynard Landman
20. Ben Roach
21. Dan Babos
22. Arwel Robson
23. Connor Edwards.

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