Sunday 17 December 2017

No Henshaw or Dillane in Connacht XV while Fitzgerald returns for crunch provincial clash

Luke Fitzgerald
Luke Fitzgerald
Will Slattery

Will Slattery

In possibly their biggest ever match with Leinster, Connacht will be without two of their most influential players in their first XV.

Star centre Robbie Henshaw will start on the bench while rampaging second row Ultan Dillane, who excelled during his Six Nations cameos with Ireland, is ruled out with a shoulder injury.

Youngster Peter Robb starts at inside centre in the place of Henshaw, in a backline that is still brimming with pace and skill.

Leinster are operating at closer to full strength, with Luke Fitzgerald returning to the side on the wing, leaving Garry Ringrose to continue his promising centre partnership with the destructive Ben Te'o.

Johnny Sexton has been left out of the 22 entirely, with Ian Madigan starting at out-half while Luke McGrath gets the nod at scrum-half ahead of internationals Eoin Reddan and Isaac Boss.

Leo Cullen will also be able to call upon eight international players off the bench if required.

The game takes place at the Sportsgrounds in Galway at 17.15 tomorrow.

Here are the full teams.

Connacht: 15 Tiernan O'Halloran, 14 Niyi Adeolokun, 13 Bundee Aki, 12 Peter Robb, 11 Matt Healy, 10 AJ MacGinty, 9 Kieran Marmion, 8 John Muldoon (c), 7 Jake Heenan, 6 Sean O'Brien, 5 Aly Muldowney, 4 Quinn Roux, 3 Nathan White, 2 Tom McCartney, 1 Denis Buckley

Replacements: 16 Dave Heffernan, 17 Ronan Loughney, 18 Finlay Bealham, 19 Andrew Browne, 20 Eoin McKeon, 21 Caolin Blade, 22 Shane O'Leary, 23 Robbie Henshaw


Leinster: 15 Isa Nacewa (c), 14 Fergus McFadden, 13 Garry Ringrose, 12 Ben Te'o, 11 Luke Fitzgerald, 10 Ian Madigan, 9 Luke McGrath, 8 Rhys Ruddock, 7 Josh van der Flier, 6 Dominic Ryan, 5 Hayden Triggs, 4 Ross Molony, 3 Tadhg Furlong, 2 Richardt Strauss, 1 Cian Healy

Replacements: 16 Sean Cronin, 17 Jack McGrath, 18 Mike Ross, 19 Devin Toner, 20 Jamie Heaslip, 21 Eoin Reddan, 22 Noel Reid, 23 Zane Kirchner

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