Wednesday 21 February 2018

Flawless Leinster 'A' ready for 'huge test'

Leinster's Barry Daly. Photo: Sportsfile
Leinster's Barry Daly. Photo: Sportsfile
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

For all of Leinster 'A's remarkable form in the British and Irish Cup, they are still just the third-ranked team in the competition.

That's despite picking up 25 points from a possible 25 thus far, but Ealing Trailfinders and Jersey Reds have superior points differences.

Noel McNamara's charges will be looking to continue their flawless record when they host Doncaster Knights at Donnybrook this afternoon (3.0) and a quick glance through the team would suggest they are likely to do just that.

There is plenty of experience in the starting XV with the likes of Barry Daly, Noel Reid and Michael Bent included, while young talents like Tommy O'Brien and Ronan Kelleher will be keen to impress.

"We couldn't have asked for much more from the boys, there have been some fantastic performances, notably away to Doncaster and Bristol," McNamara said.

"Doncaster clearly want to be involved in the latter stages of this competition. We're under absolutely no illusions that it's going to be a huge test for us."

There is also Irish interest in the Doncaster ranks with ex-Ulster scrum-half Michael Heaney starting, while Limerick native Declan Cusack is among the replacements.

Heaney's former side, Ulster 'A', meanwhile, only need a point on the road against Scarlets Premiership Select to join their Irish rivals in the quarter-finals.

Ireland international Luke Marshall makes a welcome return from the ankle injury he picked up last October. The only other change sees Angus Kernohan promoted to the starting XV on the right wing.

Leinster 'A' (vs Doncaster Knights) - B Daly; J Kelly, G Mullin, N Reid, T O'Brien; C Frawley, N McCarthy; E Byrne (capt), R Kelleher, M Bent; M Kearney, I Nagle; J Murphy, M Kearney, P Timmins. Reps: S McNulty, A Aungier, O Heffernan, O Dowling, C Rock, H Byrne, C O'Brien.

Ulster 'A' (vs Scarlets Premiership Select) - J Owens; A Kernohan, L Marshall, C Patterson, A Cairns; P Nelson, J Stewart; T O'Hagan, J Andrew (capt), T O'Toole; P Browne, C Ross; C Montgomery, M Agnew, M Rea. Reps: Z McCall, E O'Sullivan, M Dalton, A Hall, G Jones, M Stronge, R Butler.

Irish Independent

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