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Leinster Rugby vs Ospreys
Pro Rugby
RDS Arena, Dublin,
Friday, 19th March 2021, 20:15

TV: Live on Eir Sports

A young Leinster side did the job away to Zebre last week.

Now there's just one more game to play before the final against Munster in the RDS next Saturday the 27th. The following Friday from that they will take on Toulon in the Heineken Champions Cup, so it's a pretty intense period coming up.

They take on the third placed Ospreys tomorrow evening. After a dire couple of seasons, the Ospreys has been a little better this year and have won nearly half their league games to put themselves in with a chance of qualifying for the Champions Cup next season. However they have been hit with injuries and have lost their last three games in a row. Their coach Toby Booth had named a team with the experienced Dan Evans and Owen Watkin in the backline but other than that, it's a fairly callow looking outfit.

For Leo Cullen, the main thing is to continue momentum which is proving even more difficult with yet more injuries, particularly in the outside backs who have been especially cursed this season. Cian Kelleher and Jimmy O'Brien have been added to the injury list but at least Ciaran Frawley is back from injury to play at inside centre. This allows Rory O'Loughlin to move to the wing and Rowan Osbourne is the only other change replacing Luke McGrath at scrum-half.

In the pack Devin Toner is named to start at lock to equal Gordon D'Arcy's all-time appearance record for Leinster. Big Dev has been a great servant to Leinster and hopefully he'll make the record his own over the next few weeks. He's partnered by Ross Molony and Scott Fardy captains the team from blindside flanker with Scott Penny on the openside and Josh Murphy at number eight for the first time. Sean Cronin and Michael Bent come in to start in the front row alongside Peter Dooley who will win his 90th Leinster cap.

With both teams down to the bare bones in terms of squad depth, this match could mainly be a form-filling exercise so don't expect a classic.

Team Lineups

Leinster Rugby

Teams Max O'Reilly 15 Dan Evans (C)
Rory O'Loughlin 14 Dewi Cross
Jamie Osborne 13 Owen Watkin
Ciaran Frawley 12 Keiran Williams
Dave Kearney 11 Cai Evans
Harry Byrne 10 Luke Price
Rowan Osborne 9 Reuben Morgan-Williams

Peter Dooley 1 Rhys Henry
Sean Cronin 2 Sam Parry
Michael Bent 3 Ma'afu Fia
Ross Molony 4 Lloyd Ashley
Devin Toner 5 Rhys Davies
Scott Fardy (C)
6 Will Griffiths
Scott Penny 7 Morgan Morris
Josh Murphy 8 Gareth Evans

Replacements Dan Sheehan 16 Dewi Lake
Marcus Hanan 17 Garyn Phillips
Thomas Clarkson 18 Tom Botha
Jack Dunne 19 Olly Cracknell
Sean O'Brien
20 Sam Cross
Hugh O'Sullivan 21 Shaun Venter
Tim Corkery 22 Josh Thomas
Andrew Smith 23 Joe Hawkins

Not Considered
due to Injury
Vakh Abdaladze,
Conor O'Brien,
Dan Leavy,
Adam Byrne,
Max Deegan,
Tommy O'Brien,
Caelan Doris,
David Hawkshaw,
Luke McGrath,
Cian Kelleher,
Jimmy O'Brien,
James Ryan,
Garry Ringrose

Officials Referee: Chris Busby (IRFU)

by Jim O'Connor, © 2021-03-18