Advertisement
Monday 6 February 2023 Dublin: 1°C
©INPHO/Ryan Byrne
# Pro12
Schmidt adds international flavour for Leinster's Italian job
Seven Irish internationals will make their first start of the season when Leinster face Benetton Treviso on Saturday evening.

JOE SCHMIDT WELCOMES back his international big guns for Leinster’s RaboDirect Pro12 trip to Italy.

Seven Irish stars make their seasonal debuts when the European champions face Benetton Treviso on Saturday evening.

Midfield pair Brian O’Driscoll and Fergus McFadden return to boost a back line which ran in five tries against the Dragons last Saturday, while Jonathan Sexton and Eoin Reddan link up at half-back for the first time this campaign.

Mike Ross resumes in his usual spot at tighthead while Kevin McLaughlin and captain Jamie Heaslip join Shane Jennings to make up an all-international back-row for the game in the Stadio Monigo.

The international influx is part of 11 changes made by Schmidt from last weekend’s bonus-point win, with Heinke van der Merwe, Richardt Strauss, Damien Browne and Devin Toner all returning to the pack.

Leo Cullen is one of three Irish internationals named on a replacements bench which also includes Isa Nacewa.

“It’s a privilege and an honour, like it always is, to lead out a group of lads who are your mates having just spent the last eight weeks pushing ourselves to the limit,” Heaslip said. “It’s an honour to be representative of that this week.

“It’s quite humbling aswell to be given the honour. I relish it any time it comes across my shoulders. Hopefully, I’m able to lead on the pitch as well as guide the lads off it this week.

“But it’s awful handy. They may not all be captain, but we have so many leaders in the team. Sure we have Brian [O'Driscoll], the captain of our country, is there at centre; Leo [Cullen], our club captain, on the bench so he will at some stage take over. Jon Sexton’s there at 10, he’s a great leader aswell.

“We’re lucky to have so many guys with a wealth of experience. They don’t need me leading, everyone is on the same page as it is.”

Benetton Treviso: Luke McLean; Edoardo Gori, Tommaso Benvenuti, Alberto Sgarbi, Ludovico Nitoglia; Alberto Di Bernardo, Tobias Botes; Alberto De Marchi, Leonardo Ghiraldini, Ignacio Fernandez-Rouyet; Francesco Minto, Corniel Van Zyl (c); Simone Favaro, Alessandro Zanni, Robert Barbieri. Replacements: Franco Sbaraglini, Michele Rizzo, Lorenzo Cittadini, Valerio Bernabò, Dean Budd, Marco Filippucci, Fabio Semenzato, Kristopher Burton.
Leinster: Ian Madigan; Andrew Conway, Brian O’Driscoll, Fergus McFadden, Fionn Carr; Jonathan Sexton, Eoin Reddan; Heinke van der Merwe, Richardt Strauss, Mike Ross; Damian Browne, Devin Toner; Kevin McLaughlin, Shane Jennings, Jamie Heaslip (c). Replacements: Sean Cronin, Cian Healy, Jamie Hagan, Leo Cullen, Jordi Murphy, John Cooney, Noel Reid, Isa Nacewa.

Interview: Murphy still taking the outside line

Your Voice
Readers Comments
This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
Leave a Comment

    Leave a commentcancel