Max Deegan gets the nod as Leo Cullen names Leinster team to take on Benetton

Max Deegan of Leinster

Max Deegan will start at number seven for Leinster in tomorrow evening's Pro14 clash against Benetton.

With Dan Leavy's devastating injury coming hot on the heels of Josh van der Flier's season being destroyed by a torn groin, Deegan will step in.

22-year-old Deegan, a natural number eight, is something of an athletic anomaly in that the 6'3" loose forward is a surprisingly effective poacher for such a tall man.

There was a time when Deegan's rugby expression was that of an effortless, Rolls-Royce version, happiest in the fast lanes on the outside.

He has knuckled down for 18 blue caps this season, ten starts, three of the last four of them coming on the openside, albeit against Zebre, Southern Kings and Cheetahs in the PRO14.

Barry Daly comes in at full back with Fergus McFadden on the right wing and James Lowe on the left.

Australian international Joe Tomane is partnered in the centre by Mullingar man Conor O'Brien, with captain Luke McGrath and Noel Reid the half backs.

In the pack Jack McGrath, James Tracy and Andrew Porter are selected to start in the front row with Mick Kearney and Scott Fardy in the second row.

Leinster Rugby (caps in brackets):

15. Barry Daly (34)

14. Fergus McFadden (176)

13. Conor O’Brien (16)

12. Joe Tomane (10)

11. James Lowe (25)

10. Noel Reid (119)

9. Luke McGrath (108) CAPTAIN

1. Jack McGrath (142)

2. James Tracy (88)

3. Andrew Porter (50)

4. Mick Kearney (50)

5. Scott Fardy (39)

6. Josh Murphy (19)

7. Max Deegan (39)

8. Caelan Doris (12)

16. Bryan Byrne (38)

17. Peter Dooley (59)

18. Michael Bent (119)

19. Jack Dunne (3)

20. Scott Penny (4)

21. Hugh O’Sullivan (11)

22. Ciarán Frawley (11)

23. Jimmy O’Brien (6)

Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)