Tuesday 17 September 2019

Blues unveil their next in line to throne against Kings

Leinster’s Ed Bryne. Photo: Sportsfile
Leinster’s Ed Bryne. Photo: Sportsfile
David Kelly

David Kelly

Ed Byrne may have two Lions looseheads ahead of him in the queue but that won't prevent him from trying to make an impression on Leo Cullen with Leinster's shadow squad - and he will look to James Ryan as an inspiration.

"Especially on the loosehead side of things it's very competitive, so everyone's hungry for game time and wanting to make the most of it when they get it," says Leinster's lesser-known Carlow man.

"Definitely this month is something we look forward to. Some of the young lads stepping up over the last year or two has been unbelievable.

"And even on a different scale, James Ryan took his chance last year and you see what that led to. If you do get a chance and put your hands up in those big games it's always going to help."

It may be a mostly unfamiliar squad Leo Cullen sends to South Africa but it is hardly one lacking in experience.

Grand Slam-winning, first-choice openside Dan Leavy, aiming to prove his readiness for Irish challenges in the month ahead, backbones a starting line-up that features no less than nine internationals, including Australian pair Joe Tomane and captain Scott Fardy.

Changes

There are seven personnel changes to the side that secured a bonus-point win away to Benetton last weekend in Treviso, a feat which this outfit will surely seek to replicate tomorrow.

Dave Kearney returns from injury to make his first start since the home win over Dragons in September.

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Mullingar native Conor O'Brien, fresh from his try-scoring debut off the bench last weekend, is given a welcome chance to shine after being handed a midfield berth.

On the bench, Vakh Abdaladze, Ciarán Frawley and Tom Daly are all in line to make their first appearances of the season for the senior side should they be called upon.

All eight replacements were part of the Leinster 'A' squad that defeated Scarlets 'A' in the Celtic Cup final in Llanelli two weeks ago.

The Kings make seven changes to the side that lost narrowly to Scarlets last weekend and they have already beaten Glasgow this term, albeit that remains their sole success.

They have yet to beat an Irish side in seven attempts since joining the league last season and Leinster, maximising their formidable depth chart, are marked to make it a hat-trick of bonus-point wins.

Verdict: Leinster

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