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Preview: Leinster v Ospreys

13th September 2013 10:34


SKY_MOBILE Luke Fitzgerald

Fit: Luke Fitzgerald

Luke Fitzgerald has recovered from injury to be named in Leinster's XV to face the Ospreys in Saturday's PRO12 clash at the RDS.

Fitzgerald has shaken off a groin strain which had curtailed his training this week.

With Fergus McFadden (hamstring) unavailable, Brendan Macken continues his midfield partnership with Gordon D'Arcy in an unchanged backline from the side that defeated the Scarlets away last weekend.

Up front, Shane Jennings again leads the side and the forwards are boosted by the inclusion of flank Kevin McLaughlin and hooker Richardt Strauss this weekend in an all-Ireland qualified pack.

Mike McCarthy will make his home debut after appearing as a replacement in Llanelli, while there is also a first start this season for Mike Ross who also featured off the bench.

Ian Madigan has been named amongst the replacements alongside fellow Ireland internationals Isaac Boss, Sean Cronin and Rhys Ruddock.

Meanwhile, Tyler Ardron and Jeff Hassler will make their Ospreys debuts if they come off the bench.

"It was good to get off to a positive start last weekend. We wanted to build some real momentum in the opening weeks of the season and although there's plenty of room for improvement there's a lot to be happy about after a tough game in Italy, said Head Coach Steve Tandy.

"The spirit and effort shown by the boys was fantastic, that was probably the most pleasing thing for me. When we had to dog it out at the end, it was backs to the wall stuff and we came through a very difficult test.

"Looking forward to this weekend, there's been plenty to work on off the back of last Saturday, a few things to put right, but the attitude of the group has been good.

"Leinster away is always tough and we wouldn't expect it to be any different this weekend. They've got strength in depth and whatever team they pick we know that as a team we are going to have to be at our best to be able to build on the win in Treviso and keep the momentum going.

"We want to come back to the Liberty next week to play Edinburgh on the back of another positive performance, so that there will be a real buzz around the Liberty to welcome the boys back for the first home game of the PRO12 season, and a good crowd getting behind the region."

Form: Leinster began the season with an impressive bonus point victory at Parc y Scarlets last Friday, recording a ninth successive victory in all competitions in the process. The Leinstermen's only defeat in their last ten encounters with Welsh Regions was 10-19 at the Ospreys last November. Ospreys opened their account with a 24-19 victory in Treviso on Saturday in what was their third successive away game in this competition. The Welshmen are winless on their last three visits to Ireland. Leinster's 37-19 victory over Ospreys at the RDS in round 22 last season ended a four game losing streak to the Welsh outfit.

The teams:

Leinster: 15 Dave Kearney, 14 Darragh Fanning, 13 Brendan Macken, 12 Gordon D'Arcy, 11 Luke Fitzgerald, 10 Jimmy Gopperth, 9 Eoin Reddan, 8 Jordi Murphy, 7 Shane Jennings (c), 6 Kevin McLaughlin, 5 Mike McCarthy, 4 Devin Toner, 3 Mike Ross, 2 Richardt Strauss, 1 Jack McGrath.
Replacements: 16 Sean Cronin, 17 Jack O'Connell, 18 Martin Moore, 19 Tom Denton, 20 Rhys Ruddock, 21 Isaac Boss, 22 Ian Madigan, 23 Darren Hudson.

Ospreys: 15 Richard Fussell, 14 Ben John, 13 Andrew Bishop, 12 Ashley Beck, 11 Eli Walker, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Tito Tebaldi, 8 Joe Bearman, 7 Sam Lewis, 6 Tom Smith (c), 5 James Kingm, 4 Ian Evans, 3 Joe Rees, 2 Scott Baldwin, 1 Ryan Bevington.
Replacements: 16 Richard Hibbard, 17 Duncan Jones, 18 Adam Jones, 19 Tyler Ardron, 20 Morgan Allen, 21 Tom Grabham, 22 Matthew Morgan, 23 Jeff Hassler.

Date: Saturday, September 14
Venue: RDS Dublin,
Kick-off:18.15 local (17.15 GMT)
Referee: Leighton Hodges (WRU)
Assistant referees: Peter Fitzgibbon (Ireland), Michael Black (Ireland)
Television match official: Brian Macneice (Ireland)
Assessor: Michael Carroll (Ireland)

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