Thursday 21 September 2017

BOD included among Leinster Lions returning for Cardiff showdown

Brian O'Driscoll
Brian O'Driscoll

Brian O’Driscoll has been named at outside centre for the visit of the Cardiff Blues tomorrow night in a side which includes three fellow British & Irish Lions in Cian Healy, Jamie Heaslip and Rob Kearney.

In a further boost to Matt O’Connor, Ireland winger Fergus McFadden and South African second row Quinn Roux have recovered from their respective injuries to also take their places in the starting team.

Ian Madigan starts at out-half and will partner fellow Ireland international Isaac Boss at half-back, with Noel Reid partnering O’Driscoll at centre.

Heaslip, who is named in the back-row with Rhys Ruddock and Dominic Ryan, captains the side in Leo Cullen’s absence.

Ireland prop Mike Ross is named on the replacements bench alongside the likes of Jimmy Gopperth and Jordi Murphy as Ian Madigan gets his chance to cement his place at out-half with the Heineken Cup looming.

Winning Lions captain Sam Warburton will return from a severely torn hamstring five weeks ahead of his scheduled return-to-play date to lend his leadership to what is an outfit dangerously out of kilter.

Their Director of Rugby, Phil Davies, had to sit and suffer through Cardiff’s unacceptable 30-25 home defeat to Italian minnows Zebre last Friday night.

Over 15,800 tickets have now been sold for Friday’s game and tickets are still on sale from www.leinsterrugby.ie, Spar Donnybrook as well as Ticketmaster outlets nationwide. There will also be Ticketmaster booths open from 5.30pm on Friday on Anglesea and Simmonscourt Roads.

Meanwhile, the IRFU have released a statement to say that Irish provinces would not be participating in any future European tournaments unless they are endorsed by the IRB and the national unions.

The Irish Rugby Football Union wishes to clarify that its clubs/provinces will not be participating in future tournaments which do not have the full approval of the International Rugby Board (IRB) or the relevant National Rugby Unions.

"The IRFU and its clubs remain fully committed to the development of a pan European Rugby Competition and we welcome the recent comments made by the IRB Chairman, who confirmed that a pan European tournament remains the goal of the IRB," the statement reads

"We are confident this can be achieved.

"Our focus now is to work collaboratively with our colleagues across Europe, encouraging all parties to come to the table in order to engage in and conclude negotiations as speedily as possible."

Leinster team to face Cardiff: (15-9): R Kearney; F McFadden, B O'Driscoll, N Reid, D Kearney; I Madigan, I Boss; (1-8) C Healy, S Cronin, M Moore, D Toner, Q Roux, R Ruddock, D Ryan, J Heaslip (capt).

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