Preview: Leinster v Treviso

Date published: September 1 2016

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Leinster head coach Leo Cullen has named his first competitive XV of the new PRO12 season as the Irish province get ready to host Treviso at the RDS Arena.

Joey Carbery will make his first start at number 10 having made his debut last season off the bench away to the Glasgow Warriors in March.

Luke McGrath will captain the side for the second time in his career from scrum-half. It will be the first time for the St. Michael's man to lead the team out at the RDS.

Elsewhere in the backline Rob Kearney starts at full-back and is joined in the back three by 31 times capped Springbok Zane Kirchner and Fergus McFadden on the left wing.

Noel Reid and Garry Ringrose will get an opportunity to impress from 12 and 13 having last started together in the centre last November against the Scarlets in a 19-15 win.

In the pack there is a competitive return for Cian Healy after nearly five months out with knee and neck injuries. Bryan Byrne makes his first PRO12 start since last October while Michael Bent starts on the opposite side of the scrum at tighthead.

Ross Molony and Mike McCarthy pair up in the second row while in the back row Dominic Ryan, Josh van der Flier and Dan Leavy start after impressing in the three friendlies to date.

Should Cullen use his replacements bench there will be full Leinster debuts for former Hurricane Jamison Gibson-Park at scrumhalf and of Academy pair Andrew Porter and Rory O'Loughlin.

Meanwhile, Treviso head into this clash with some confidence after claiming two victories in their three pre-season friendlies against Grenoble, Zebre and Leicester Tigers respectively.

There are eight new faces in the matchday 23 chosen by head coach Kieran Crowley of which five are in the starting XV.

Jayden Hayward starts at full-back alongside wings Angelo Esposito and Andrea Buondonno while Tommaso Benvenuti and Luke McLean line up in the midfield.

The half-backs are Giorgio Bronzini at scrum-half and Tommaso Allan at fly-half.

The front row will consist of hooker Ornel Gega who will pack down alongside props Nicola Quaglio and Simone Ferrari.

Marco Fuser and Filo Paulo start in the second row while the back row comprises captain and number eight Alessandro Zanni as well as flankers Francesco Minto and Marco Lazzaroni.

Form: Leinster's only victory in their last eight season opening fixtures in the Guinness PRO12 was 42-19 at Scarlets in 2013, however they have not begun the season with a home game since beating Edinburgh at the RDS Arena in 2007. The Leinstermen have won their last thirteen home games in the PRO12 since drawing 34-all with Glasgow Warriors at the RDS in March 2015. Benetton Treviso have just twice before begun a Guinness PRO12 season with a victory, at home against Scarlets in 2010 and Ospreys in 2012. The Italian side's only victory in their last seven fixtures in the Championship was 22-21 at home to Connacht in round 21. Treviso have not won away from home since their short trip to Zebre in December 2014. Leinster are unbeaten in their last eleven matches against Treviso, whilst their only defeat to an Italian side in the Guinness PRO12 came in Treviso in September 2010.

The teams:

Leinster: 15 Rob Kearney, 14 Zane Kirchner, 13 Garry Ringrose, 12 Noel Reid, 11 Fergus McFadden, 10 Joey Carbery, 9 Luke McGrath (c), 8 Dan Leavy, 7 Josh van der Flier, 6 Dominic Ryan, 5 Mike McCarthy, 4 Ross Molony, 3 Michael Bent, 2 Bryan Byrne, 1 Cian Healy 
Replacements: 16 James Tracy, 17 Andrew Porter, 18 Mike Ross, 19 Hayden Triggs, 20 Jordi Murphy, 21 Jamison Gibson-Park, 22 Cathal Marsh, 23 Rory O'Loughlin

Treviso: 15 Jayden Hayward, 14 Angelo Esposito, 13 Tommaso Benvenuti, 12 Luke McLean, 11 Andrea Buondonno, 10 Tommaso Allan, 9 Giorgio Bronzini, 8 Alessandro Zanni (c), 7 Marco Lazzaroni, 6 Francesco Minto, 5 Filo Paulo, 4 Marco Fuser, 3 Simone Ferrari, 2 Ornel Gega, 1 Nicola Quaglio 
Replacements: 16 Roberto Santamaria, 17 Alberto De Marchi, 18 Tiziano Pasquali, 19 Dean Budd, 20 Marco Barbini, 21 Edoardo Gori, 22 Ian McKinley, 23 David Odiete

Date: Friday, September 2
Venue: RDS
Kick-off: 19:35 BST (18:35 GMT)
Referee: Ian Davies (Wales)
Assistant Referees: Sean Brickel (Wales), Joy Neville (Ireland)
TMO: Paul Adams (Wales)

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