Planet Rugby

Preview: Leinster v Munster

30th September 2010 14:57

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Gala event: Rivals face-off in Dublin

Leinster have named their team to take on Irish rivals Munster in this Saturday's historic Magners League clash at the Aviva Stadium.

Cian Healy starts in the front-row alongside Mike Ross while Sean O'Brien and Nathan Hines also return to the starting line up.

O'Brien is named in a back-row with Dominic Ryan and Jamie Heaslip, who leads the team.

In the back-line, Gordon D'Arcy continues his centre partnership with Brian O'Driscoll, with Shane Horgan, Luke Fitzgerald and Rob Kearney forming the back three.

A decision on Jonathan Sexton's availability will be made closer to kick off.

Meanwhile, there were no great surprises in the Munster side for their eagerly anticipated clash at the Aviva Stadium with the same back-line that featured against Glasgow Warriors and just three changes up front.

Wian du Preez starts ahead of Marcus Horan in the front-row, the second remains the same, while the anticipated return of Alan Quinlan means David Wallace, who played in the number six jersey in Firhill slips to the bench with Niall Ronan retaining the seven jersey.

Du Preez started in Munster opening two games and Horan in the next two so there's an obvious pattern there. Given that Wallace's unfamiliar role at blindside against Glasgow was just his first game back and considering the form to date of Ronan, that reasoning behind that choice is evident.

Meanwhile, Leinster field their strongest possible side although they claim a doubt remains about Jonny Sexton who has been bracketed with Isa Nacewa at 10 pending their Captain's Run and how he comes through that. Expect to see him run out with the rest of the side.

Form: Leinster have won their last four matches against Munster but have not won five in a row against their fiercest rivals since the 1930s. The IRFU's impressive newly refurbished home, the Aviva Stadium, hosts its first major game with ticket sales threatening to set a new Magners League attendance record. Leinster's stuttering start to the new season continued on Friday with defeat at Edinburgh, whilst the Leinstermen have won their last five games at the old Lansdowne Road. Munster are now the only side left in this season's Magners League with a 100% winning record. Munster's only win in their last four encounters with fellow Irish provinces was 18-12 at Connacht on 18 April.

The teams:

Leinster15 Rob Kearney, 14 Shane Horgan, 13 Brian O'Driscoll, 12 Gordon D'Arcy, 11 Luke Fitzgerald, 10 Jonathan Sexton / Isa Nacewa, 9 Isaac Boss, 8 Jamie Heaslip (c), 7 Sean O'Brien, 6 Dominic Ryan, 5 Devin Toner, 4 Nathan Hines, 3 Mike Ross, 2 Richardt Strauss, 1 Cian Healy.
Replacements:16 Jason Harris-Wright, 17 Heinke van der Merwe, 18 Simon Shawe, 19 Mariano Galarza, 20 Rhys Ruddock, 21 Eoin Reddan, 22 Isa Nacewa / Ian Madigan, 23 Fergus McFadden.

Munster: 15 Paul Warwick, 14 Doug Howlett, 13 Lifeimi Mafi, 12 Sam Tuitupou, 11 Johne Murphy, 10 Ronan O'Gara, 9 Tomas O'Leary, 8 Denis Leamy (capt), 7 Niall Ronan, 6 Alan Quinlan, 5 Donncha Ryan, 4 Donncha O'Callaghan, 3 Tony Buckley, 2 Damien Varley, 1 Wian du Preez.
Replacements: 16 Sean Henry, 17 Marcus Horan, 18 John Hayes, 19 Mick O'Driscoll, 20 David Wallace, 21 Peter Stringer, 22 Scott Deasy, 23 Denis Hurley.

Date: Saturday, October 2
Venue: Aviva Stadium (Lansdowne Road), Dublin
Kick-off: 19:30 BST (18.30 GMT)
Referee: Jerome Garces (FFR)

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