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Dublin: 5 °C Friday 13 December, 2019
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Lowe, Tomane and Ruddock in harness as Leinster begin pre-season in Montauban

Despite a host of international absentees, Leinster have named an exciting starting XV to face a robust challenge in the south of France.

Image: James Crombie/INPHO

DOUBLE WINNERS LEINSTER will play their first pre-season match ahead of the new campaign away to Pro D2 side Montauban (kick-off 19.30 Irish time) tomorrow.

Marquee signing Joe Tomane will start at inside centre for his new club in Stade Sapiac while James Lowe will run from fullback.

Rhys Ruddock, newly installed as club vice-captain, is fit and firing after hamstring trouble in the second half of last season. He will lead his team from the openside of a back row featuring Max Deegan and Josh Murphy.

With Ross Byrne involved in Ireland’s summer, Leo Cullen has no out-and-out 10 in his 28-man squad for the trip, Noel Reid operates as out-half alongside scrum-half Nick McCarthy.

“The majority of the group that are playing this weekend came back in the middle of June,” Cullen says, “they did a three-week (training) block at that stage, had another break and came back, so they’ve done a fair amount. It’ll be nice to put into practice some of the things we’ve worked on over the course of pre-season.

Andrea Bronzini and Noel Reid Source: James Crombie/INPHO

“(Montauban are) a big physical team and it should be a good test. They get good crowds over there as well. Conditions are difficult this time of year in the south of France… they’re a little more advanced than we are in terms of this being the third pre-season game that they’ve played. It was the same with Perpignan last year.

“Their season starts next week, so there’s a probably a bit more urgency about what they’re doing. They’ve probably built a bit of the cohesion that we’re trying to establish now at this stage.”

Leinster will play their second pre-season match against Newcastle in Donnybrook next Friday.

Leinster (pre-season v Montauban)

15. James Lowe
14. Adam Byrne
13. Rory O’Loughlin
12. Joe Tomane
11. Barry Daly
10. Noel Reid
9. Nick McCarthy

1. Peter Dooley
2. Bryan Byrne
3. Michael Bent
4. Ross Molony
5. Ian Nagle
6. Josh Murphy
7. Rhys Ruddock (Capt)
8. Max Deegan

Replacements

16. James Tracy
17. Ed Byrne
18. Vakh Abdaladze
19. Mick Kearney
20. Will Connors
21. Jamison Gibson-Park
22. Jimmy O’Brien
23. Dave Kearney
24. Oisín Dowling
25. Conor O’Brien
26. Tom Daly
27. Jack Kelly
28. Gavin Mullin

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Sean Farrell

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