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Leinster Rugby vs Edinburgh Rugby
Guinness Pro 14, Round 3
RDS Arena, Dublin

Friday, 11th October 2019, 19:35

TV: Live on Eir Sports

Leinster had another very comfortable win last week. It eventually became like a training match against a fairly hapless Ospreys team.

However, these big wins are becoming a little too commonplace and aren't great for Leinster's young players or the league. It's one thing Leinster hammering teams with their full choice line-up, it's another thing doing it with a team half made up of kids. The young players in the A team aren't getting much of a challenge in the Celtic Cup either, racking up comfortable bonus point wins in each of their seven games this season. They're likely to win comfortably again in the Celtic Cup final this Sunday against Ulster in Donnybrook. But you do wonder if a lack of meaningful competition could hurt their development especially when they meet tougher challenges as they advance in their careers.

Edinburgh should hopefully present a better challenge tomorrow evening. The Scots have started the season well with a big home win over Zebre and a tough away win in Cardiff last week. After qualifying for the Heineken Cup quarter-finals last season Edinburgh were bitterly disappointed not to make the Pro14 play-offs. Their coach Richard Cockerill has challenged them to make the play-offs as a minimum target for the season. He will be aided in that by an in-form Mark Bennett who has scored four tries in the first two games. Bennett was the bright young thing around the time of the last World Cup but he lost his way badly since then mainly through injuries. However he's still only 26 and a strong season with Edinburgh could resurrect his international career.

Bennett is named in a team that shows just two changes from last week as Jamie Hodgson and Mesulame Kunavula come in at lock and blindside flanker respectively. It's not a bad side with the prolific Duhan van der Merwe and the in-form Jaco van der Walt two players to watch out for.

For Leinster there are three changes from last week. Dave Kearney comes in on the right wing in the only change to the backs. The other two changes are in the pack where Max Deegan and Scott Penny come in on the flanks. It should be a better game this week but you would still fancy Leinster to win.

Team Lineups

Leinster Rugby
Edinburgh Rugby
Teams Hugo Keenan 15 Damien Hoyland
Dave Kearney 14 Jamie Farndale
Rory O'Loughlin 13 Mark Bennett
Joe Tomane 12 George Taylor
James Lowe 11 Duhan van der Merwe
Ross Byrne 10 Jaco van der Walt
Jamison Gibson-Park 9 Nic Groom (C)

Peter Dooley 1 Pierre Schoeman
Ronan Kelleher 2 Mike Willemse
Michael Bent 3 Pietro Ceccarelli
Devin Toner 4 Jamie Hodgson
Scott Fardy (C)
5 Murray Douglas
Max Deegan 6 Mesulame Kunavula
Scott Penny 7 Luke Crosbie
Caelan Doris 8 Nick Haining

Replacements James Tracy 16 Cameron Fenton
Michael Milne 17 Jamie Bhatti
Vakh Abdaladze 18 Murray McCallum
Ross Molony 19 Sam Thomson
Josh Murphy 20
Ally Miller
Rowan Osborne 21 Charlie Shiel
Harry Byrne 22 Simon Hickey
Jimmy O'Brien 23 James Johnstone

Not Considered
due to Injury
Dan Leavy,
Ciaran Frawley,
Barry Daly,
Ed Byrne,
Jack Conan,
Cian Kelleher

Fraser McKenzie,
Matt Scott,
Dave Cherry,
Darryl Marfo,
Ruan Steenkamp,
Jack Blain,
Hamish Watson,
Chris Dean,
Lewis Carmichael
Officials Referee: Ben Whitehouse (WRU),
Assistant referees: George Clancy (IRFU), Wayne Davies (WRU),
TMO: Sen Brickell (WRU)

by Jim O'Connor, © 2019-10-10