Friday 20 January 2017

Costello set for emotional return to Ireland

Published 22/10/2016 | 02:30

Former Munster assistant coach Ian Costello faces Leinster today. Photo: Sportsfile
Former Munster assistant coach Ian Costello faces Leinster today. Photo: Sportsfile

Munster's decision to postpone their British & Irish Cup clash against Doncaster came as little surprise and although their senior side will take to the pitch this afternoon, there will be plenty of emotion in every game across Europe.

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In Donnybrook, Leinster 'A' will be eager to build on their impressive away win in Richmond last week as they take on a Nottingham side with plenty of Munster connections.

The English side's new head coach Ian Costello was Anthony Foley's assistant for his two-year tenure in charge of Munster and the Kerry native will have faced an extremely tough week.

Costello took over the reins at Nottingham at the start of the season and brought with him Jordan Coghlan, who starts in the back-row, and Shane Buckley ,who is named among the replacements.

Both players featured for Munster under Foley's tutelage and they will be aiming to do their former coach proud.

Leinster 'A', however, are a formidable outfit and despite making six changes to their side, they will be confident of picking up another win.

Richardt Strauss has recovered from a knee injury and makes his first appearance of the season at hooker, while Jack Conan continues his comeback with another start at No 8.

Ulster 'A' also welcome back a key player in Wiehahn Herbst for the trip to London Scottish.

The South African prop plays his first game since the Champions Cup defeat to Saracens last January and his return will be a huge boost to Les Kiss.

Irish-qualified second-row Kieran Treadwell has yet to make an impact on the senior team since joining from Harlequins during the summer but the 20-year-old is a huge talent and is a star in the making.

Jacob Stockdale moves to outside-centre, while Rob Lyttle starts on the wing. Stockdale and Lyttle are also hugely exciting talents who have already featured for the seniors this season.

Ulster 'A' began their campaign with a win over Jersey Reds last weekend and although so too did London Scottish, they will be confident of making it back-to-back victories.

Elsewhere, Connacht Eagles picked up where they left off in the competition last season as they lost again. Connacht's youngsters lost all six of their games last season and will be hoping for a change of fortunes away to London Irish.

Luke Carty, younger brother of senior out-half Jack, swaps the No 15 shirt for 10, while Mitch Lam (Pat's son) who scored all ten points last Sunday, lines out at inside-centre.

Leinster 'A' (v Nottingham) - J Power; H Keenan, J O'Brien, T Daly, B Daly; R Byrne, N McCarthy; A Porter, R Strauss, J Loughman; R Molony, J Ryan; Josh Murphy, P Timmins (capt), J Conan. Reps: B Byrne, O Heffernan, H Triggs, M Keegan, C Rock, C Marsh, J Larmour.

Ulster 'A' (v London Scottish) - J McPhillips; R Lyttle, J Stockdale, M Best, A Cairns; B Herron, A Lloyd; J Simpson, J Andrew, W Herbst; D Tuohy (capt), K Treadwell; S Mulholland, C Joyce, L Dow. Reps: J Murphy, T O'Hagan, C Trenier, J Donnan, N Tomoney, C Kelly, L Sampson.

Connacht Eagles (v London Irish) - D Panter; A Leavy, R Parata, M Lam, E O'Keefe; L Carty, C McKeon; C Gleeson, P O'Toole, J East; L Stevenson, D Qualter (capt); M Kelly, J Connolly, S McVeigh. Reps: S O'Hehir, J Naughton, S Masterson, J Pim, S Kerins, J Conroy, J Murphy.

Irish Independent

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