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Leinster Rugby vs Dragons
Guinness Pro14 Rainbow Cup
RDS Arena, Dublin
Friday, 11th June 2021, 20:15

Live: Eir Sports

And so the strangest season we'll ever live through (hopefully) finally comes to an end in the second week of June.

It ends on something of a whimper with a dead rubber against the Dragons. It will be the first time Leinster end the season with a nothing game since Matt O'Connor's last game in charge away to Edinburgh. By dint of the Osprey's conceding their match away to Benetton, all the final round of fixtures are dead rubbers. Benetton will now host the final against the winners of the Bulls and the Sharks.

Leinster were realistically out of the running once Munster beat a weakened team in the first round. Most of the league will now get behind Benetton except a few bitter Munster and Glasgow fans moaning about the unfairness of the fixtures. It's particularly galling for Glasgow to miss out on the final because the only game they lost was a thrashing away to Benetton in one of the first games. Glasgow were up to their usual obnoxious dirt last week against Leinster, so it couldn't happen to a nicer team.

Leinster stupidly let Glasgow get under their skin and also had to endure a Frank Murphy special in terms of incompetent refereeing. But they were also rubbish and didn't even score a point in the second half. Overall it's been a mediocre season in truth. The Pro14 league was retained with the minimum of fuss but after European hopes were raised by the win in Exeter, reality returned with a crushing away defeat to La Rochelle. Since that game, the Leinster players have largely been going through the motions thinking more about summer tours than the games at hand.

However they will want to finish on a high tomorrow evening to give a proper farewell to brilliant servants Michael Bent and Scott Fardy who will both retire after the game. At least there will be a small crowd there of 1200 fans to give the two lads a proper send-off instead of having to wave to an empty stadium like the lads who finished up last season.

They take on a Dragons side who won their first Rainbow Cup game against the Scarlets but have lost everything since. Their coach Dean Ryan has named a side including experienced internationals like Jamie Roberts, Ross Moriarty and Richard Hibbard.

For Leinster there are six changes to the team from last week. Jordan Larmour and Jamison Gibson-Park come into the backline and Cian Healy, Ryan Baird, Scott Fardy and Scott Penny come in to start in the pack.

Hopefully the weather will hold and the boys will get a good send-off.

Team Lineups

Leinster Rugby

Teams Hugo Keenan 15 Josh Lewis
Jordan Larmour 14 Owen Jenkins
Garry Ringrose (C)
13 Aneurin Owen
Rory O'Loughlin 12 Jamie Roberts
Jimmy O'Brien 11 Rio Dyer
Ross Byrne 10 Sam Davies
Jamison Gibson-Park 9 Rhodri Williams (C)

Cian Healy 1 Brok Harris
Ronan Kelleher 2 Elliot Dee
Michael Bent 3 Aaron Jarvis
Ryan Baird 4 Joe Davies
James Ryan 5 Ben Carter
Scott Fardy 6 Harrison Keddie
Scott Penny 7 Ollie Griffiths
Caelan Doris 8 Ross Moriarty

Replacements James Tracy 16 Richard Hibbard
Michael Milne 17 Josh Reynolds
Vakh Abdaladze 18 Chris Coleman
Devin Toner 19 Joe Maksymiw
Josh van der Flier20 Taine Basham
Luke McGrath 21 Gonzalo Bertranou
Harry Byrne 22 Jack Dixon
Cian Kelleher 23 Ioan Davies

Not Considered
due to Injury
Conor O'Brien,
Dan Leavy,
Adam Byrne,
Max Deegan,
Jack Dunne,
Jonathan Sexton,
Will Connors,
Tom Clarkson,
Andrew Porter,
Tommy O'Brien

Officials Referee: Mike Adamson (SRU)

by Jim O'Connor, © 2021-06-10