Preview: Leinster v Dragons

Date published: February 13 2015

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Leinster head coach Leo Cullen has made two changes in personnel from the XV that played last week to face Newport Gwent Dragons.

Marty Moore returns from injury for his first game since April's Champions Cup game against Toulon and lines up at tighthead prop, while Isaac Boss makes his first start of the campaign from scrum-half having come off the bench against Edinburgh and Cardiff.

The rest of the XV is unchanged with a back three of Isa Nacewa – who also captains the side – Fergus McFadden and Garry Ringrose.

Noel Reid and Ben Te'o once again form the centre partnership with the aforementioned Boss partnering Cathal Marsh in the half-backs. 

Michael Bent starts at loosehead prop, with Aaron Dundon at hooker and Moore on the other side of the scrum. In the second row Ross Molony makes only his second ever RDS start, with the vastly experienced Mike McCarthy beside him for his 54th Leinster cap and 294th cap in professional club rugby.

In the back row Irish internationals Dominic Ryan (blindside flanker) and Jack Conan (number eight) are once again joined by Josh van der Flier, who starts at openside.

James Tracy and Rhys Ruddock are included in a matchday squad for the first time this season and Ruddock hopes to make his first appearance for Leinster since March last year when he played 80 minutes against the Scarlets again in the PRO12. 

Meanwhile, Newport Gwent Dragons travel to the RDS Arena with high hopes having done the double over Leinster last season.

Rynard Landman will lead the Men of Gwent out after two weeks of training and preparations have taken place since their win against Zebre at Rodney Parade in Round 2 of the PRO12. 

Looking back at last year's win against Leinster, Landman commented: "Nick Crosswell got a yellow card in the first few minutes and I thought 'oh no, we can't play with 14 men against them!'

"But we turned things around, our kicking game was great, we left nothing on the pitch, got the 'W'.

"They won't underestimate us this time but I think that was the same when they came to Rodney Parade with an even better side than in Dublin and we won again (25-22).

"We know it will be a tough game and they will have a strong side even though they are affected by World Cup call-ups. They've got depth and a big budget but last season gives us confidence." 

Full-back Carl Meyer joins wings Ashton Hewitt and Tom Prydie in the back three. The centre pairing sees Ross Wardle and Adam Warren retain their positions. Fly-half Jason Tovey also keeps his place as well as Sarel Pretorius as scrum-half.

The front row has one change made to it as hooker Hugh Gustafson joins props Boris Stankovich and Brok Harris. The second row also has one change made to it as Crosswell joins skipper Landman. The back row has two changes made to it as James Thomas and James Benjamin join number eight Ed Jackson.

Form: Leinster's only defeat in their last four Guinness PRO12 matches was 9-16 to Edinburgh at Meggetland in Round 1. The Leinstermen have lost only one home game in any competition since this weekend last year: 14-16 to the Dragons at the RDS Arena in February. Newport Gwent Dragons began the new season by gaining a losing bonus point in Connacht then achieving a 13-0 victory over Zebre at Rodney Parade in Round 2. Dragons have not won on the road since they visited Treviso in March, whilst that victory at the RDS Arena last season represents their only win away at any Irish province since September 2008. Dragons achieved their first ever season's double over the Leinstermen last year.

The teams:

Leinster: 15 Isa Nacewa (c), 14 Fergus McFadden, 13 Ben Te'o, 12 Noel Reid, 11 Garry Ringrose, 10 Cathal Marsh, 9 Isaac Boss, 8 Jack Conan, 7 Josh van der Flier, 6 Dominic Ryan, 5 Mike McCarthy, 4 Ross Molony, 3 Marty Moore, 2 Aaron Dundon, 1 Michael Bent
Replacements: 16 James Tracy, 17 Peter Dooley, 18 Jamie Hagan, 19 Rhys Ruddock, 20 Dan Leavy, 21 Luke McGrath, 22 Ross Byrne, 23 Cian Kelleher

Newport Gwent Dragons: 15 Carl Meyer, 14 Ashton Hewitt, 13 Ross Wardle, 12 Adam Warren, 11 Tom Prydie, 10 Jason Tovey, 9 Sarel Pretorius, 8 Ed Jackson, 7 James Benjamin, 6 James Thomas,  5 Rynard Landman (c), 4 Nick Crosswell, 3 Brok Harris, 2 Hugh Gustafson, 1 Boris Stankovich
Replacements: 16 Rhys Buckley, 17 Phil Price, 18 Shaun Knight, 19 Matthew Screech, 20 Nic Cudd, 21 Luc Jones, 22 Angus O’Brien, 23 Aled Brew

Date: Saturday, October 3
Venue: RDS Arena, Dublin
Kick-off: 14:30 local
Referee: Ian Davies (Wales)
Assistant Referees: Eddie Hogan-O'Connell (Ireland), Shane Kierans (Ireland)
TMO: Jude Quinn (Ireland)

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