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Leinster risk losing 4 in a row as they rest big names for Connacht clash

Shane Jennings leads the blues for the inter-pro fixture but a host of senior players will sit out the action.

Shane Jennings leads a youthful Leinster squad.
Shane Jennings leads a youthful Leinster squad.
Image: ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

LEINSTER COACH JOE SCHMIDT is placing his trust in a youthful squad as he looks to arrest the province’s three-game losing run.

Shane Jennings leads a young squad for the visit of Connacht with six of the starting XV aged 23 or under.

10 of the players named in the match-day squad featured in Leinster A’s 44-13 British and Irish Cup win over Jersey two weeks ago.

The openside flanker is one of six Ireland internationals in the starting line up. Amongst them is Fergus McFadden who starts on the right wing in a back three alongside Fionn Carr and full-back Andrew Conway.

Ian Madigan lies in third place in the league’s points scorers list so far – 74 points from 11 Pro12 games – but had a poor kicking game in last week’s 27-19 defeat to Ulster. He will pair up with Isaac Boss at half back.

In the pack, Heinke van der Merwe is named in the front row alongside Aaron Dundon and Ireland prop Michael Bent, with Devin Toner partnering Ben Marshall at second row. Marshall will make his fifth appearance for the province.

Losing run

Leinster lost twice in succession to Clermont Auvergne in the Heineken Cup before succumbing to Ulster, and their powerful pack, at Ravenhill on 22 December.

Connacht lost 16-12 to Munster last Saturday but defeated Leinster 34-6 at the Sporstground in September and will be keen to inflict some damage after it emerged their lock, Mike McCarthy would be joining the European champions in the summer.

Luke Fitzgerald and Eoin O’Malley were hoping to feature in the squad but the comeback dates have been pushed back again.

Leinster: A Conway; F McFadden, B Macken, A Goodman, F Carr; I Madigan, I Boss; H van der Merwe, A Dundon, M Bent, B Marshall, D Toner, R Ruddock, S Jennings (c), J Murphy.

Replacements: S Cronin, J McGrath, M Ross, L Cullen, D Ryan, J Cooney, N Reid, A Byrne.

*The game kicks off at 7:45pm and TheScore.ie will be at the RDS for liveblog coverage from 7:15pm.

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About the author:

Patrick McCarry

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