Tuesday 6 December 2016

Leo Cullen names large international contingent in first Leinster squad of the season

Published 10/08/2016 | 21:36

Fergus McFadden, pictured being tackled by Ulster’s Clive Ross, is back in full fitness
Fergus McFadden, pictured being tackled by Ulster’s Clive Ross, is back in full fitness

After recovering from injuries that curtailed their involvement at the end of last season, Ireland internationals Josh van der Flier, Fergus McFadden and Mike McCarthy have been named in Leinster’s 32-man squad for Saturday’s pre-season friendly against Ulster in Navan.

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Furthermore, Leo Cullen has included other Irish representatives Jack Conan, Michael Bent and Dominic Ryan, while South African back Zane Kirchner is also in the group. The Ireland players who took part in June's three test tour of South African have not yet been called upon.

Recent arrivals Ian Nagle and Niall Morris have the chance to put their best forward should they feature in any of the three upcoming friendlies against Ulster, Bath and Gloucester ahead of the start of the Pro 12 season on September 2.

Players such as Andrew Porter and Vakh Abdaladze, who played pivotal roles for the Ireland U20s in the World Championships, can begin to stake their claim in a very competitive propping department. 

World Cup wining coach Graham Henry has been stationed at UCD over the last month on a consultant basis, so the Navan Rugby club will be the first venue to witness whether or not the magic he performed on Argentina, albeit over a much longer period, has rubbed off on the Blues.

Beaten finalists in the Pro 12 season, Leinster endured a horrible Champions Cup campaign in what was Cullen’s first season at the helm.

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