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Leinster Rugby vs Zebre Parma
United Rugby Championship
RDS Arena, Dublin
Saturday, 9th October 2021, 13:00

TV: Live: RTE2, Premier Sports

As predicted, last week Leinster comfortably beat the Dragons in a routine win!

Now it's time to focus on Leinster's return to the RD...

Sorry, what was that?

It wasn't comfortable at all?

Leinster only scored once after 14 minutes and only won 7-6 in the end???!!!

Ah come on, it couldn't have been that bad could it?

23 turnovers! Just the one score from 16 visits to the Dragons twenty two! 6 lineouts lost!

Yep, RTE audiences were reintroduced to live Leinster rugby with one of the worst games in living memory. Yes, it was a wet day but Leinster have played far better in worse conditions. Hopefully it will stand to a few lads never to take the opposition lightly, despite what a preview might say.

In fairness it's not that long since Leinster had a similar performance in a 3-0 win in Italy against tomorrow's opposition Zebre. So these performances can happen on the road, but thankfully not too often. Under the tutelage of former Connacht coach Michael Bradley, Zebre saw some improvement in the last few years and picked up a few wins. However they're still going to be strugglers for the foreseeable future and have begun the season with two home defeats against the Lions and Ulster. Bradly has selected experienced internationals like Mattia Bellinia and Andrea Lovetti in his starting team for tomorrow.

It's almost all change for Leinster with only Michael Ala'alatoa and Rhys Ruddock retained from last week's lamentable display. Ed Byrne and Sean Cronin make their first starts of the season alongside Ala'alatoa in the front row. Devin Toner and Ryan Baird form a new second row pairing and Dan Leavy and Scott Penny join Ruddock who switches to number eight in the back row.

It's an all new backline with Jimmy O'Brien making his first start of the season at full back in the back three with Adam Byrne and Jordan Larmour. Byrne makes his first start since December 2019 after a terrible run of injuries. Jamie Osborne and Ciaran Frawley form an interesting centre pairing. Harry Byrne is back from injury to start at ten and Luke McGrath captains the team from scrum half.

Now I know we said Leinster should win easily enough last week, but if they don't win at a canter tomorrow, there's really something wrong.

Oh and it's great to be back at the RDS finally!

Team Lineups

Leinster Rugby

Zebre Parma
Teams Jimmy O'Brien 15 Jacopo Trulla
Adam Byrne 14 Pierre Bruno
Jamie Osborne 13 Erich Cronje
Ciaran Frawley 12 Enrico Lucchin
Jordan Larmour 11 Mattia Bellini
Harry Byrne 10 Antonio Rizzi
Luke McGrath (C) 9 Nicolo Casilio

Ed Byrne 1 Andrea Lovotti
Sean Cronin 2 Oliviero Fabiani (C)
Michael Ala'alatoa 3 Ion Neculai
Devin Toner 4 Cristian Stoian
Ryan Baird 5 Andrea Zambonin
Dan Leavy 6 Iacopo Bianchi
Scott Penny 7 Luca Andreani
Rhys Ruddock 8 Renato Giammarioli

Replacements Ronan Kelleher 16 Massimo Ceciliani
Peter Dooley 17 Danilo Fischetti
Cian Healy 18 Matteo Nocera
Ross Molony 19 David Sisi
Max Deegan20 Giovanni Licata
Nick McCarthy 21 Guglielmo Palazzani
Johnny Sexton 22 Tommaso Boni
Rob Russell 23 Paolo Pescetto

Not Considered
due to Injury
Jack Dunne,
Will Connors,
Tom Clarkson,
Josh Murphy,
Tommy O'Brien,
Dave Kearney,
Michael Milne,
Caelan Doris,
Rory O'Loughlin

Tommaso Castello,
Marco Manfredi,
Johan Meyer,
Daniele Rimpelli,
Gabriele Venditti,
Giosue Zilocchi
Officials Referee: Sam Grove-White (SRU)

by Jim O'Connor, © 2021-10-08