Planet Rugby

Preview: Leinster v Dragons

13th February 2014 12:45

Share:

Zane Kirchner in action for Leinster

Full-back: Zane Kirchner

Following on from last week's bonus-point victory away to Zebre, Leinster coach Matt O'Connor has mixed things up to face the Dragons.

A number of additional players are now at his disposal having been cleared to play by the Irish set-up.

Fergus McFadden, Martin Moore, Sean Cronin and Jack McGrath who all saw game time against Wales in the Six Nations start, while Rhys Ruddock who was part of the extended matchday squad that day, also comes in to the fold.

Leinster, who won the original fixture at Rodney Parade, 23-19, make seven changes in total to the 15 that faced the Italians last weekend.

Zane Kirchner who scored his second try in Leinster colours last weekend continues at full-back. Darragh Fanning switches to the left wing to accommodate McFadden who has now fully recovered from his hand injury and acquitted himself so well against Scotland and Wales.

Brendan Macken and Noel Reid are retained in the centre but there is a new pair at half-back with Eoin Reddan and Ian Madigan taking over from John Cooney and Jimmy Gopperth. Gopperth is named amongst the replacements.

Captain Leo Cullen and Mike McCarthy are once again selected in the second row but there is a completely new front row with the aforementioned McGrath, Cronin and Moore selected to start having finished out the game so strongly against the Welsh.

In the back-row there is one change with Rhys Ruddock returning in a straight swap with Kevin McLaughlin. Shane Jennings is again selected at seven with Jordi Murphy continuing at the back of the scrum.

Meanwhile, after the Dragons home game at Rodney Parade was cancelled last weekend because of a waterlogged pitch, the region are ready to take on this battle away from home at the RDS.

"Leinster are a very well organized team and are currently doing well in the league. So going over there will be difficult for us," said head coach Darren Edwards.

"When we beat Glasgow away I thought that for us was a major stepping stone, we opposed Glasgow's game on them and actually won that battle. Now we know a formula that does work, it's just about making sure we keep attacking that.

"We play a certain style here and it works really well, so we do get results at home. But I do think that we need to do something away from home - we really need to concentrate on the basics of the game. When teams change their squads around like Leinster will have to because of the Irish boys in the national squad, our our set piece and kicking game need to be spot on."

Hallam Amos has made the move from wing to full-back from the game against Newcastle in the LV=Cup. He is joined in the back-three by Matthew Pewtner who returned from injury last week and Will Harries who moves from open side to blindside. The centre pairing is made up of Pat Leach and experienced player Ashley Smith. Jason Tovey gets the nod as fly-half and welsh international Richie Rees takes his place as scrum half.

The front row takes on the form of Owen Evans as loose head prop, Welsh international hooker T. Rhys Thomas is called upon and Nathan Buck comes in as tight head prop. The second row is taken up by young gun Cory Hill and C Rob Sidoli, who also dons the captaincy. As for the back-row Lewis Evans and Nic Cudd are named as the flankers and Fijian international Netani Talei pulls on the number eight jersey.

Form: Leinster are the best side in the RaboDirect PRO12 on current form having tallied 23 league points from their last six matches, whilst their only defeat in the competition in their last eight encounters came at Murrayfield on 20th December. Leinster's most recent defeat by a Welsh region came at the Ospreys in November 2012. Newport Gwent Dragons home game with Edinburgh was postponed at the weekend due to inclement weather, whilst they have won just one of their last four matches in the PRO12. Dragons' only away victory in the tournament in almost twelve months came on a trip to Glasgow in November. Dragons have not beaten an Irish province on their own turf since they visited Ulster in the PRO12 in September 2008. Leinster have won their last seven fixtures against the Welshmen since the Dragons 30-14 victory at Rodney Parade in December 2009, whilst the Men from Gwent have never beaten Leinster in Dublin.

The teams:

Leinster: 15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Fergus McFadden, 13 Brendan Macken, 12 Noel Reid, 11 Darragh Fanning, 10 Ian Madigan, 9 Eoin Reddan, 8 Jordi Murphy, 7 Shane Jennings, 6 Rhys Ruddock, 5 Mike McCarthy, 4 Leo Cullen (c), 3 Martin Moore, 2 Sean Cronin, 1 Jack McGrath.
Replacements: 16 Aaron Dundon, 17 Michael Bent, 18 Tadhg Furlong, 19 Tom Denton, 20 Dominic Ryan, 21 Issac Boss, 22 Jimmy Gopperth, 23 Darren Hudson.

Dragons: 15 Hallam Amos, 14 Matthew Pewtner, 13 Pat Leach, 12 Ashley Smith, 11 Will Harries, 10 Jason Tovey, 9 Richie Rees, 9 Netani Talei, 7 Nic Cudd, 6 Lewis Evans, 5 Rob Sidoli (c), 4 Cory Hill, 3 Nathan Buck, 2 T.Rhys Thomas, 1 Owen Evans.
Replacements: 16 Sam Parry, 17 Aaron Coundley, 18 Francisco Chaparro, 19 Matthew Screech, 20 Jevon Groves, 21 Wayne Evans, 22 Steffan Jones, 23 Ross Wardle.

Date: Friday, February 14
Venue: RDS, Dublin
Kickoff: 19:45 GMT
Referee: Marius Mitrea (Italy)
Assistant Referees: Marc Patton (Ireland), Barrie O'Connell (Ireland)
TMO: Kevin Beggs (Ireland)

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Friday , September 19
Gloucester vs ExeterGloucester vs Exeter Preview
Saturday , September 20
Sale vs London Welsh14:00
London Irish vs Saracens15:00
Harlequins vs Wasps15:00
Bath vs Leicester15:15
Sunday , September 21
Newcastle vs Northampton14:00
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Friday , September 19
Munster vs ZebreMunster vs Zebre Preview
Cardiff Blues vs UlsterCardiff Blues vs Ulster Preview
Connacht vs LeinsterConnacht vs Leinster Preview
Saturday , September 20
Newport Gwent D'gons vs Glasgow14:40
Scarlets vs Benetton Treviso18:00
Sunday , September 21
Ospreys vs EdinburghOspreys vs Edinburgh Preview
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Friday , September 19
Brive vs ToulonBrive vs Toulon Preview
Saturday , September 20
Racing Metro Paris vs Toulouse14:45
La Rochelle vs Bordeaux-Begles18:30
Grenoble vs Bayonne18:30
Castres vs Oyonnax18:30
Clermont Auvergne vs Lyon18:30
Montpellier vs Stade Francais20:45
More Top 14 fixtures
Currie Cup
Friday , September 19
Lions vs PumasLions vs Pumas Preview
Saturday , September 20
Western Province vs Griquas15:00
Blue Bulls vs Sharks17:05
Eastern Province Kings vs Cheetahs19:10
More Currie Cup fixtures
ITM Cup
Friday , September 19
Counties Manukau vs CanterburyCounties Manukau vs Canterbury Preview
Saturday , September 20
Hawkes Bay vs Bay Of Plenty14:35
More ITM Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
ITM Cup
Thursday , September 18
Northland 20 - 31 TaranakiNorthland vs Taranaki Report
Wednesday, September 17
Southland 14 - 38 TasmanSouthland vs Tasman Report
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , September 14
Wasps 20 - 16 NorthamptonWasps vs Northampton Report
Newcastle 18 - 20 London IrishNewcastle vs London Irish Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Cardiff Blues 12 - 33 GlasgowCardiff Blues vs Glasgow Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Top 14
Bordeaux-Begles 27 - 21 MontpellierBordeaux-Begles vs Montpellier Report
More Top 14 results
ITM Cup
Waikato 26 - 21 Counties ManukauWaikato vs Counties Manukau Report
Hawkes Bay 41 - 0 Otago
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , September 13
Gloucester 34 - 27 Sale SharksGloucester vs Sale Sharks Report
Bath 53 - 26 London WelshBath vs London Welsh Report
Exeter 20 - 24 LeicesterExeter vs Leicester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Rugby Championship
New Zealand 14 - 10 South AfricaNew Zealand vs South Africa Report
Australia 32 - 25 ArgentinaAustralia vs Argentina Report
More Rugby Championship results
Guinness PRO12
Leinster 42 - 12 ScarletsLeinster vs Scarlets Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Top 14
Toulouse 9 - 13 Clermont AuvergneToulouse vs Clermont Auvergne Report
Bayonne 23 - 6 Brive
Oyonnax 40 - 27 Grenoble
Toulon 24 - 28 Stade FrancaisToulon vs Stade Francais Report
Racing Metro Paris 28 - 11 LyonRacing Metro Paris vs Lyon Report
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Griquas 31 - 27 PumasGriquas vs Pumas Report
Lions 35 - 33 Western ProvinceLions vs Western Province Report
Cheetahs 30 - 30 SharksCheetahs vs Sharks Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Bay Of Plenty 12 - 27 AucklandBay Of Plenty vs Auckland Report
Southland 36 - 34 Northland
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , September 12
Harlequins 0 - 39 SaracensHarlequins vs Saracens Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Saracens29
2Bath29
3Leicester Tigers29
4Exeter26
5Northampton26