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Dublin: 6 °C Friday 14 December, 2018

Leinster welcome back Rob Kearney as Cullen makes wholesale changes

Twelve changes to the Leinster team for Friday’s game against Edinburgh.

Rob Kearney: last Leinster appearance was against Wasps in late January.
Rob Kearney: last Leinster appearance was against Wasps in late January.
Image: Donall Farmer/INPHO

ROB KEARNEY WILL make his Leinster comeback on Friday evening after seven weeks on the sidelines.

The injury-plagued Kearney hasn’t played since Ireland’s Six Nations defeat against England, but returns at fullback for the Pro12 clash against Edinburgh in the RDS (7.35pm).

Luke Fitzgerald is fit to start on the left wing after limping out of the defeat to Connacht three weeks ago, with coach Leo Cullen making a massive 12 changes in total.

Captain Rhys Ruddock, Jordi Murphy and Ben Te’o are the only survivors from the interpro win against Munster as Cullen shuffles the pack in search of five valuable points.

Luke McGrath and Ian Madigan team up in the half-backs with Noel Reid recalled to join Te’o in midfield and Fergus McFadden lining up on the right wing.

Up front there is an all-new trio of Cian Healy, Richardt Strauss and Mike Ross packing down ahead of Ross Molony and Mick Kearney in the second row.

Josh van der Flier gets the nod opposite Ruddock in the back row with Jordi Murphy shifting across to number eight.


15. Rob Kearney
14. Fergus McFadden
13. Ben Te’o
12. Noel Reid
11. Luke Fitzgerald
10. Ian Madigan
9. Luke McGrath

1. Cian Healy
2. Richardt Straus
3. Mike Ross
4. Ross Molony
5. Mick Kearney
6. Rhys Ruddock (c)
7. Josh van der Flier
8. Jordi Murphy


16. Sean Cronin
17. Peter Dooley
18. Tadhg Furlong
19. Devin Toner
20. Dominic Ryan
21. Eoin Reddan
22. Cathal Marsh
23. Dave Kearney


15. Blair Kinghorn
14. Damien Hoyland
13. Chris Dean
12. Phil Burleigh
11. Tom Brown
10. Jason Tovey
9. Sam Hidalgo-Clyne

1. Alasdair Dickinson
2. Ross Ford (c)
3. WP Nel
4. Anton Bresler
5. Ben Toolis
6. Jamie Ritchie
7. John Hardie
8. Cornell Du Preez


16. Stuart McInally
17. Rory Sutherland
18. John Andress
19. Alex Toolis
20. Magnus Bradbury
21. Hamish Watson
22. Sean Kennedy
23. Mike Allan

O’Gara and O’Connell want to team up in dream coaching duo

‘We can’t play on the Munster name any more, the fear factor isn’t there’ – Stander

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Niall Kelly

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