Planet Rugby

Preview: Leinster v Cardiff Blues

09th September 2010 16:43


Jonathan Sexton

Back at 10: Jonathan Sexton

Leinster will welcome back a clutch of international stars for their Magners League meeting with Cardiff Blues at the RDS on Saturday.

Returning flanker Shane Jennings captains the Dubliners, who also name Brian O'Driscoll and Jonathan Sexton at outside centre and fly-half.

Isaac Boss keeps his spot at scrum-half and will partner the Ireland number ten, with Fergus McFadden winning the battle to join O'Driscoll.

Mike Ross has recovered from a calf injury to take his place at tighthead alongside Richardt Strauss and Heinke van der Merwe, while Jennings joins Jamie Heaslip and Sean O'Brien in the back-row.

Cian Healy and Eoin Reddan, two more Ireland internationals, have also been included on the replacements bench for the first time this season.

Meanwhile, new recruit Michael Paterson is set to start for Blues having sat out last Saturday's opening victory over Edinburgh.

The Blues will look to build on that win when they travel to the Irish capital but know it will be a big ask with their only previous victory in Dublin in the Magners League was 22-18 against Leinster at Donnybrook in March 2004

There are three other changes in the pack to the starting line-up that defeated Edinburgh with Tom Davies, Deiniol Jones and Sam Warburton all starting having been on the bench last week. The only change in the backs sees Dafydd Hewitt coming in for Tom Shanklin.

Form: Leinster are unbeaten in their last six encounters with the Blues, whilst the Welshmen's only previous victory in Dublin in the Magners League was 22-18 against Leinster at Donnybrook in March 2004. Leinster tripped up 19-22 in Glasgow on Friday and have not begun a season with successive losses since 2003/04. The Leinstermen have won their last 15 Magners League regular season matches at the RDS. Cardiff Blues have won their last nine games in all competitions since March. The Blues have not lost away from home since a trip to Murrayfield to face Edinburgh on 9 January.

The teams:

Leinster: 15 Luke Fitzgerald, 14 Shane Horgan, 13 Brian O'Driscoll, 12 Fergus McFadden, 11 Isa Nacewa, 10 Jonathan Sexton, 9 Isaac Boss, 8 Jamie Heaslip, 7 Shane Jennings (capt), 6 Sean O'Brien, 5 Ed O'Donoghue, 4 Nathan Hines, 3 Mike Ross, 2 Richardt Strauss, 1 Heinke van der Merwe.
Replacements: 16 John Fogarty, 17 Cian Healy, 18 Simon Shawe, 19 Mariano Galarza, 20 Dominic Ryan, 21 Eoin Reddan, 22 Ian Madigan, 23 Eoin O'Malley.

Cardiff Blues: 15 Chris Czekaj, 14 Richard Mustoe, 13 Casey Laulala, 12 Dafydd Hewitt, 11 Tom James, 10 Dan Parks, 9 Richie Rees, 8 Xavier Rush (capt), 7 Sam Warburton, 6 Michael Paterson, 5 Deiniol Jones, 4 Bradley Davies, 3 Scott Andrews, 2 T Rhys Thomas, 1 Tom Davies.
Replacements: 16 Rhys Williams, 17 John Yapp, 19 Fa'ao Filise, 20 James Down, 21 Ben White, 22 Lloyd Williams, 23 Ceri Sweeney, 24 Gavin Evans.

Date: Saturday, September 11
Kick-off: 18:30
Venue: RDS
Referee: Andy Macpherson (SRU)
Assistant Referees: Simon McDowell, Jonathan Peak (both IRFU)
TMO: Tony Redmond (IRFU)

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