Sunday 11 December 2016

Cian Healy starts as Leinster welcome back raft of international stars for clash with Cardiff Blues

Published 19/02/2016 | 12:15

Cian Healy goes thrnster's Cian Healy
Cian Healy goes thrnster's Cian Healy

Leo Cullen has made eight changes to the side that thumped Zebre 52-0 last time out for tomorrow's trip to Cardiff to face the Blues, while handing Ireland prop Cian Healy a second consecutive start as he returns to full fitness.

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Mike Ross is on the bench, while the likes of Ian Madiagn, Eoin Reddan, Sean Cronin and Tadhg Furlong all come back into the fold from the international set up.

Zane Kirchner continues at full back with Fergus McFadden coming into the starting XV having played against France last weekend for Ireland. On the left wing Isa Nacewa captains the side, while Ben Te'o and Garry Ringrose continue their midfield partnership. 

There is a new half-back pairing with Eoin Reddan and Ian Madigan starting. It will be Madigan's 140th appearance for the province, with 788 points to his name to date.  Healy is the only player retained in the front row with Sean Cronin and Tadhg Furlong starting alongside him this week. 
There is one significant change to the second row with Clontarf native Mick Kearney making his debut for Leinster having signed last summer. Unfortunately, a toe injury kept him out of action until the start of the season but a relapse on his first game back with Clontarf resulted in a further lengthy spell on the sidelines. The lock, who has 68 Connacht caps to his name already, will be partnered by Hayden Triggs.

Rhys Ruddock comes into the team at blind side flanker, with Jordi Murphy moving from the number eight shirt onto the open side. That means a welcome return from injury for Jack Conan who has been out with an ankle injury for over three months. He last played against Wasps in the Champions Cup in November.

LEINSTER (Leinster caps in brackets):

15. Zane Kirchner (57)
14. Fergus McFadden (137)
13. Garry Ringrose (12)
12. Ben Te'o (29)
11. Isa Nacewa (140) CAPTAIN 
10. Ian Madigan (139)
9. Eoin Reddan (131)
1. Cian Healy (148)
2. Sean Cronin (104)
3. Tadhg Furlong (40)
4. Mick Kearney (0)
5. Hayden Triggs (6)
6. Rhys Ruddock (104)
7. Jordi Murphy (70)
8. Jack Conan (28)

16. Richardt Strauss (122)
17. Peter Dooley (13)
18. Mike Ross (126)
19. Tom Denton (47)
20. Dan Leavy (10)
21. Nick McCarthy (2) 
22. Noel Reid (54)
23. Adam Byrne (3)

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