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Byrne and Baird to make first starts as Toner captains Leinster

Harry Byrne and Ryan Baird have both been named to start in the Leinster team to take on Dragons.

Harry Byrne will make his first start for Leinster against Dragons on Friday.
Harry Byrne will make his first start for Leinster against Dragons on Friday.
Image: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

HARRY BYRNE HAS been handed his first start for Leinster as Leo Cullen rings the changes for Friday’s visit of Dragons in the Guinness Pro14 [KO 7.35pm, Eir Sport 1].  

Byrne, younger brother of Leinster and Ireland out-half Ross, starts in the No 10 shirt after making three appearances off the bench so far this season. Fellow Academy player Ryan Baird is also handed a first start at lock.

Baird will partner Devin Toner in the second row, with Toner captaining Leinster for just the second time in his career, on the occasion of his 235th appearance for the province. 

Cullen has opted to mix youth with experience throughout the starting team. Jimmy O’Brien starts at full back with Dave Kearney and James Lowe on the wings.

Rory O’Loughlin and Conor O’Brien get the nod in midfield, with Jamison Gibson-Park keeping his place at scrum-half.

The front row consists of Peter Dooley, Rónan Kelleher and Michael Bent, while Max Deegan, Scott Penny and Caelan Doris line up in the back row to complete the pack.

On the bench, Ciarán Frawley could make his first competitive appearance of the season following an ankle injury, while prop Jack Aungier is in line to make his Leinster debut.

Dragons boss Dean Ryan has made two changes to the team that beat Glasgow Warriors, with centre Connor Edwards returning for his first league appearance since April 2018, while Harri Keddie returns from injury to line out in the back row.

Leinster sit top of Conference A with 19 points after picking up four wins from four, 10 points clear of fourth placed Dragons. 

Leinster:

15. Jimmy O’Brien
14. Dave Kearney 
13. Rory O’Loughlin
12. Conor O’Brien
11. James Lowe
10. Harry Byrne
9. Jamison Gibson-Park 
1. Peter Dooley
2. Rónan Kelleher 
3. Michael Bent 
4. Devin Toner (captain)
5. Ryan Baird 
6. Max Deegan 
7. Scott Penny 
8. Caelan Doris

Replacement:
16. James Tracy 
17. Michael Milne
18. Jack Aungier 
19. Ross Molony 
20. Will Connors 
21. Hugh O’Sullivan
22. Ciarán Frawley 
23. Cian Kelleher 

 

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Dragons:

15. Jordan Williams
14. Owen Jenkins
13. Adam Warren 
12. Connor Edwards
11. Ashton Hewitt
10. Sam Davies
9. Rhodri Williams (captain)
1. Brok Harris
2. Richard Hibbard
3. Leon Brown
4. Joe Davies
5. Matthew Screech
6. Harri Keddie
7. Ollie Griffiths 
8. Taine Basham

Replacements:
16. Ellis Shipp
17. Josh Reynolds
18. Lloyd Fairbrother
19. Max Williams 
20. Huw Taylor
21. Luke Baldwin
22. Arwel Robson
23. Tyler Morgan

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