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Dublin: 7 °C Monday 18 February, 2019
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Locked out: No room for Cullen in Leinster side to face Llanelli

Shane Jennings captains the team with Damian Browne and Devin Toner named at lock. Ian Madigan will win his 50th cap for the province.

Image: ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

LEINSTER COACH JOE Schmidt has named his side to open this season’s RaboDirect Pro12 challenge, but it does not include captain Leo Cullen.

The veteran second row was fit enough to play a role in pre-season, but on this occasion Schmidt has opted to go with Damian Browne and Devin Toner in the engine room.

Tom Denton, a summer recruit from Leeds Carnegie, has been named on the bench. And with the other new signing Quinn Roux yet to hit full match-fitness, Cullen faces a fight to get into the Heineken Cup winners’ team this season.

Shane Jennings will captain the side in Cullen’s absence. The open-side joining Dominic Ryan and, number eight, Leo Auva’a in the back row.

The front row contains tight-head Jamie Hagan, Heinke van der Merwe and Richardt Strauss who is five months from qualifying for national selection.

Kiwi-born pair Isaac Boss and Isa Nacewa are the experienced heads in a back-line which once again contains the youthful pairing of Noel Reid and Brendan Macken.

Ian Madigan makes his 50th appearance for his home province and he will be seeking to make gaps appear for his lightening quick wingers, Andrew Conway and Fionn Carr.

Leinster (v Scarlets): I Nacewa, A Conway, B Macken, N Reid, F Carr; I Madigan, I Boss: H van der Merwe, R Strauss, J Hagan; D Browne, D Toner; D Ryan, S Jennings (Capt.) L Auva’a.

Replacements: A Dundon, J McGrath, M Moore, T Denton, J Murphy, J Cooney, C O’Shea, D Hudson.

The big rugby season preview… Leinster

New signings set to start for Munster at weekend

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About the author:

Sean Farrell

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