Sunday 11 December 2016

Cullen unleashes Porter as Leinster look to stay on top

Published 05/11/2016 | 02:30

Leinster prop Andrew Porter . Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Leinster prop Andrew Porter . Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Anyone who follows the school's rugby scene or the underage Ireland teams will be familiar with Andrew Porter but for the rest, this afternoon marks a big moment in the career of a youngster who is destined for the top.

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Porter starred for the Ireland U-20s on their way to the World Cup final in June and he will make his first senior start for Leinster against Zebre today.

Weighing in at almost 20 stone, Porter is already a colossus but he demonstrated his ferocious power in the scrum when the U-20s sealed a famous win over New Zealand.

The loosehead prop is breaking all kinds of records in Leinster's gym and he will pack down beside Richardt Strauss who makes his first appearance of the season following a knee injury.

Ireland Sevens captain Tom Daly is handed his debut at outside centre by Leo Cullen who will be eager to leave Parma with all five points.

Cullen is also boosted by the availability of Sean O'Brien who missed out on Ireland's clash with the All Blacks in Chicago.

Leinster impressed against Connacht last weekend and given that Zebre have never managed to win a single point in their previous eight meetings, it looks ominous for the Italians today.

Cullen will not take anything for granted but that said, Leinster should have little trouble in seeing off Zebre to ensure that they remain top of the table.

Verdict: Leinster

Zebre - E Padovani; G Bisegni, M Pratichetti, T Castello, G Venditti; C Canna, M Violi; A Lovotti, T D'Alpice, D Chistolini; Q Geldenhuys, G Biagi (capt); M Mbanda, J Meyer, A van Schalwyk. Reps: C Fettuccia, B Postiglioni, P Ceccarelli, R Ruzza, D Minnie, G Palazzina, C Engelbrecht, S Balocchi.
Leinster - I Nacewa (capt); A Byrne, T Daly, N Reid, B Daly; R Byrne, J Gibson-Park; A Porter, R Strauss, M Bent; M McCarthy, H Triggs; D Leavy, S O'Brien, J Conan. Reps: J Tracy, P Dooley, M Ross, M Kearney, R Ruddock, N McCarthy, D Ryan, H Keenan.
REF - N Owens (WRU)

Irish Independent

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