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Leinster Rugby vs Newport Gwent Dragons
Guinness Pro12 Round 10
RDS Showground, Dublin,
Saturday, 3rd December 2016, 19:35

Television: TG4

Leinster's six match winning run in the league came to an end over in Llanelli last week as the Scarlets beat them well. Leinster began the game brightly but a combination of poor skills and appalling discipline let Scarlets race into a 35-8 lead 15 minutes into the second half. Things looked bleak and a bad hiding looked on the cards but the 14 men showed great character and three of the youngsters in Adam Byrne, Tom Daly and Andrew Porter scored three second half tries which earned Leinster a bonus point from the game. The comeback shouldn't paper over the cracks though and the Leinster coaches will be disappointed at shipping another five tries to take the season total conceded in the league to 22, by far the most of the teams in the top four. The team with the best defensive record in the league, Munster, have taken over top spot, but as they face a tough trip to Glasgow this week, Leinster will fancy their chances of reclaiming top spot with a win over the Dragons at home this weekend.

The Dragons are having their usual season down the bottom end of the table, but they enter the game with some form having won their last two league matches at home to Connacht and Edinburgh. They did suffer a rather embarrassing heavy defeat away to Russian club Enisei-STM in the Challenge Cup though. Their coach Kingsley Jones has named a team with seven changes to the team that beat Edinburgh last week. In the backs Welsh international Tyler Morgan is named in the centre and Adam Warren is named on the wing. The front row has two changes as props Phil Price and Brok Harris come in. Rynard Landman comes into the second row and the back row has two changes with flanker Nic Cudd and number 8 Harrison Keddie coming in.

For Leinster it's about counting the cost of the autumn Ireland campaign as well as other injuries that have occurred. With the more hard-working Irish players rested this week, Leo Cullen's side has a patch-work look about it. However he is able to welcome back Joey Carbery to start at number ten and all eyes will be on his performance, especially if he is required to start the double-header against Northampton. His return is one of seven changes to the team that lost last week as Luke McGrath comes in to partner him at half back. With Barry Daly suspended, Isa Nacewa moves to the wing and Zane Kirchner starts at full back.

In the pack James Tracy starts at hooker and there's a new second row pairing of Ross Molony and Hayden Triggs. Rhys Ruddock makes a timely return to fitness to come in on the blindside in the backrow alongside Dan Leavy and Jack Conan. It's a very young replacements bench on which Max Deegan and Charlie Rock will hope to make their first Leinster appearance.

The Dragons will do their best to make things awkward for Leinster, but they should have enough to earn a win.

Team Lineups

Leinster Rugby
Newport Gwent Dragons
Teams Zane Kirchner
15 Carl Meyer
Adam Byrne 14 Pat Howard
Rory O'Loughlin 13 Tyler Morgan
Noel Reid 12 Jack Dixon
Isa Nacewa (C) 11 Adam Warren
Joey Carbery 10 Angus O'Brien
Luke McGrath 9 Tavis Knoyle

Peter Dooley
1 Phil Price
James Tracy 2 Elliot Dee
Michael Bent 3 Brok Harris
Ross Molony 4 Nick Crosswell
Hayden Triggs 5 Rynard Landman
Rhys Ruddock 6 Lewis Evans (C)
Dan Leavy 7 Nic Cudd
Jack Conan 8 Harrison Keddie

Replacements Richardt Strauss 16 Rhys Buckley
Andrew Porter 17 Thomas Davies
Jeremy Loughman 18 Lloyd Fairbrother
Mike McCarthy 19 Cory Hill
Max Deegan 20
James Thomas
Charlie Rock 21 Sarel Pretorius
Ross Byrne 22 Geraint Rhys Jones
Tom Daly 23 Tom Prydie

Not Considered
due to Injury
Jordi Murphy,
James Ryan,
Mike Ross,
Ian Fitzpatrick,
Billy Dardis,
Fergus McFadden,
Cathal Marsh,
Dominic Ryan,
Dave Kearney,
Johnny Sexton,
Rob Kearney,
Robbie Henshaw,
Sean O'Brien,
Peadar Timmins

Officials Referee: Marius Mitrea (FIR, 58th competition game),
Assistant Referees: Matteo Liperini (FIR), Stuart Douglas (IRFU),
Citing Commissioner: John Cole (IRFU),
TMO: Stefano Penne (FIR)

by Jim O'Connor, © 2016-12-02