IAN MADIGAN’S FRUSTRATING season continues as the out-half has only been named on the Leinster bench for Sunday’s league clash with Zebre.
Madigan was released to Leinster coach Matt O’Connor on Thursday after Joe Schmidt deemed him surplus to Ireland’s Six Nations requirements. He will only deputise for Jimmy Gopperth during the Pro12 clash at Stadio Aprile.
Having started the season as the prime candidate for Leinster’s 10 jersey, Madigan has oft found himself on the bench looking in. He has shared the out-half role with Gopperth in the Pro12 but began four of Leinster’s Heineken Cup games on the bench. His last start for the league champions was away to Connacht over a month ago. Madigan may have been hoping to feature from the off against Zebre but O’Connor has selected the New Zealander, having had him at training all week.
Lock Mike McCarthy was also released for Pro12 duty but has been named in Leinster’s starting XV to face the Italians. McCarthy will wear protective head-gear after receiving 23 stitches to a head wound he picked up against Ospreys in the Heineken Cup.
Promising academy winger Sam Coghlan-Murray has been named on the left wing for Leinster while Darragh Fanning will feature on the right. The centre partnership is Brendan Macken and Noel Reid with Zane Kirchner at fullback.
McCarthy is joined by club captain Leo Cullen in the second row with 21-year-old tighthead Tadhg Furlong packing down, up front, with Aaron Dundon and Michael Bent. The Leinster back row is an impressive unit, with Kevin McLaughlin and Shane Jennings joined by another player given time away from camp Ireland, Jordi Murphy.
Leinster: Z Kirchner; D Fanning, B Macken, N Reid, S Coghlan-Murray; J Gopperth, J Cooney; M Bent, A Dundon, T Furlong; L Cullen (c), M McCarthy; K McLaughlin, S Jennings, J Murphy.
Replacements: J Tracy, J O’Connell, E Byrne, T Denton, D Ryan, L McGrath, I Madigan, D Hudson.
Like rugby? Follow TheScore.ie’s dedicated Twitter account @rugby_ie >