Tuesday 25 October 2016

Cullen gives youth a chance for Leinster's Champions Cup dead-rubber with Bath

Published 15/01/2016 | 12:27

Garry Ringrose makes his first European start against Bath. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Garry Ringrose makes his first European start against Bath. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Leo Cullen has selected a relatively callow starting XV as his already eliminated Leinster side seek their first European win of the campaign against Bath at the RDS tomorrow.

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The Blues have lost all four of their opening Pool 5 games, including the corresponding tie with Mike Ford’s Bath at the Rec in November, leaving them bottom of the table with no chance of progressing to the knockout stages.

As a means of blooding young talent for seasons to come, Cullen has handed Garry Ringrose, Luke McGrath, Peter Dooley, James Tracy, Tadhg Furlong and Ross Molony their first European starts, as Peter Dooley and Ross Molony make their full European debuts.

Zane Kirchner, the 31 times capped Springbok comes in at full back, with Isa Nacewa captaining from the right wing and Dave Kearney, who scored two tries last weekend against the Ospreys, on the left.

In the centre Ben Te'o and Garry Ringrose are once again selected having performed well together in the recent Interpro victory over Connacht, while in the half backs Luke McGrath makes his first European start in what will be his 38th cap for the province, alongside Ian Madigan.

It's a new look front row with Peter Dooley, James Tracy and Tadhg Furlong starting for the first time in the Champions Cup.

Similar to McGrath, Furlong has 39 Leinster caps to his name to date, but tomorrow will be his first European start having come off the bench in six European games up until now scoring one try against Castres last season. Furlong has also been capped three times by Ireland.

Mike McCarthy is joined by Ross Molony in the second row while in the back row Rhys Ruddock starts at blind side flanker, with Josh van der Flier on the open side. Jordi Murphy completes the pack from number eight.

Among the replacements are Ireland internationals Jonny Sexton, Sean O'Brien and Sean Cronin.

Leinster squad to face Bath:

15. Zane Kirchner
14. Isa Nacewa (c)
13. Garry Ringrose
12. Ben Te'o
11. Dave Kearney
10. Ian Madigan
9. Luke McGrath
1. Peter Dooley
2. James Tracy
3. Tadhg Furlong
4. Ross Molony
5. Mike McCarthy
6. Rhys Ruddock
7. Josh van der Flier
8. Jordi Murphy

16. Sean Cronin
17. Jack McGrath
18. Marty Moore
19. Tom Denton
20. Sean O'Brien
21. Eoin Reddan
22. Johnny Sexton
23. Noel Reid

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