Friday, March 05, 2021

Jimmy O’Brien has retained his place on the Leinster Rugby team to face Ulster in the Guinness PRO14 top of the table clash in the Kingspan Stadium on Saturday night, KO 7.35pm. The Eadestown man moves to the centre for this one while Kill’s James Tracy returns to the line-up as hooker. The Osborne cousins, Rowan and Jamie, have been included in the replacements for the game.


Jimmy O’Brien in action against Glasgow Warriors last weekend Photo: INPHO/Bryan Keane

Luke McGrath will once again captain the side as Leo Cullen welcomes back four players from Ireland camp for the top of Conference A clash in Belfast.

Academy back Max O’Reilly starts at full-back for his fifth cap of the season, with try-scorer from last week Cian Kelleher on the right wing and Dave Kearney on the left. Kearney has seven tries in 12 games so far this season.

Rory O’Loughlin starts in the number 12 jersey this week, with Jimmy O’Brien wearing the number 13 outside him.

Captain McGrath is joined this week by Ross Byrne who was released by Andy Farrell to Leinster during the week.

Ed Byrne is another released back to Leinster and he starts at loosehead, with James Tracy at hooker and Michael Bent at tighthead.

Devin Toner and Scott Fardy are the second row combination for Cullen’s side for the second week in a row, as Toner gets ever closer to Gordon D’Arcy’s all-time Leinster caps record of 261.

In the back row, Rhys Ruddock and Josh van der Flier are the final two available to Cullen having been released back to the province and they start at blindside and openside, with Guinness Man of the Match from last week, Scott Penny, completing the starting XV for Leinster Rugby.

Speaking at the Leinster Rugby Press Conference this week, Jimmy O’Brien said, ” It’s great to be getting game time as it’s tough getting game time as we have so many good players here. Playing consistently week in, week out helps you build confidence and a bit of form. I’m blessed that I’ve been able to play a good bit this year.”

Leinster Rugby (caps in brackets):

15. Max O’Reilly (4)
14. Cian Kelleher (23)
13. Jimmy O’Brien (30)
12. Rory O’Loughlin (76)
11. Dave Kearney (161)
10. Ross Byrne (96)
9. Luke McGrath (142) CAPTAIN
1. Ed Byrne (63)
2. James Tracy (122)
3. Michael Bent (152)
4. Devin Toner (258)
5. Scott Fardy (72)
6. Rhys Ruddock (184)
7. Josh van der Flier (90)
8. Scott Penny (22)

16. Seán Cronin (192)
17. Peter Dooley (87)
18. Thomas Clarkson (7)
19. Ross Molony (108)
20. Josh Murphy (42)
21. Rowan Osborne (8)
22. Jamie Osborne (3)
23. Jack Dunne (12)

Contact Newsdesk: 045 432147

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