Sunday 15 July 2018

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Fit-again Ringrose returns as Lowe makes debut

The return of Garry Ringrose is a major boost as the Ireland centre makes his first appearance of the season following shoulder surgery during the summer. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
The return of Garry Ringrose is a major boost as the Ireland centre makes his first appearance of the season following shoulder surgery during the summer. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

It's likely that there are still a few places up for grabs in Leinster's starting XV ahead of next weekend's first of two crucial Champions Cup clashes against Exeter, so with that in mind this afternoon's trip to Treviso is very much last chance saloon for some players to stake their claim.

The return of Garry Ringrose is a major boost as the Ireland centre makes his first appearance of the season following shoulder surgery during the summer.

To add to that excitement, James Lowe makes his debut on the wing after joining from the Chiefs.

The Kiwi was a try-scoring machine in Super Rugby and has the potential to destroy plenty of PRO14 defences.

As is the case during every international window, Leinster were disrupted the most of the four provinces but they have once again dug deep and shown that they have the resources to cope.

A disappointing defeat in Glasgow was mulled over for the duration of the three-week break before Leinster responded in emphatic style against the Dragons.

Several players like Andrew Porter, Adam Byrne and James Ryan (AC joint), who Leinster are sweating over ahead of Europe, will have benefited hugely from their time in Carton House but for the likes of the out-of-sorts Jack McGrath and the fit-again Ringrose and Josh van der Flier, this a big chance to impress ahead of the trip to the Premiership champions.

Porter will continue to learn the ropes at tighthead and having started against Fiji a fortnight ago, scrum coach John Fogarty believes that the promising 21-year-old is handling the transition from loosehead well.

"Certainly, he's of the standard that can play at that level," Fogarty said.

"I think, with Ireland, it was a good window for them to use him. They wanted to develop some players and it's a good window to do it.

"I would like to think that in the window we have to develop Ports, we have used him and we are using him. But there does have to be development.

"I'm all for pushing him out there because I think he's well capable of it.

"But you want him to have good experiences and a few little bad experiences too to make sure he's on the right level.

"You don't want to push him out there to have a bad experience and then say, 'Ah, he's not ready'.

"You want to make sure he arrives in the back-to-backs against European teams and he excels and performs well. Because he's capable of doing it, very capable of doing it and I've no doubt that he will.

"I wouldn't say we're cautious, I think we're giving him the windows and he will continue to grow and develop. He's an exciting player."

Jordan Larmour continues at full-back, Luke McGrath skippers the side from scrum-half, while an all-Ireland back-row of Jordi Murphy, Van der Flier and Jack Conan looks formidable.

A routine Leinster win should follow before the serious business resumes next weekend.

Verdict: Leinster

Benetton - M Banks; T Benvenuti, I Brex, A Sgarbi (capt), L Sperandio; T Allan, G Bronzini; C Traore, T Baravelle, T Pasquali; A Zanni, I Herbst; W Douglas, N Manu, R Barbieri. Reps: H Faiva, N Quaglio, A De Marchi, F Ruzza, M Lazzaroni, S Negri, E Gori, L Morisi.

Leinster - J Larmour; D Kearney, G Ringrose, N Reid, J Lowe; R Byrne; L McGrath (capt); J McGrath, J Tracy, A Porter; I Nagle, S Fardy; Jordi Murphy, J van der Flier, J Conan. Reps: S Cronin, E Byrne, V Abdaladze, M Kearney, M Deegan; N McCarthy, F McFadden, R O'Loughlin.

REF - D Wilkinson (IRFU).

Benetton v Leinster, Stadio Monigo, 3.30, Live on TG4

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