Thursday 5 December 2019

Doris aims to make the most of chance

PRO14: Leinster v Ospreys (Tonight 7.35, TG4 & Eirsport)

Caelan Doris
Caelan Doris

The culture at Leinster has always revolved around taking the shirt on loan with the idea of leaving it in a better place than when you received it.

That was always the way Jamie Heaslip looked at it anyway.

Now another number eight, Caelan Doris, wants it for keeps. "This block, we've called 'Own The Jersey,'" he said.

"It's not like we're just playing while the lads are away.

"It's make this jersey yours and make it as hard as possible for guys to get it off you when they come back."

The medium-term demise of Jack Conan to a foot fracture has opened a door that Doris plans to kick in.

The upcoming five-match PRO14 run should provide the perfect stage to grow his game, albeit on the back of someone else's misfortune.

It means Leinster coach Leo Cullen will turn to Doris, Max Deegan or Rhys Ruddock when the first European moment of truth arrives in mid-November.

What pre-season and the first round of the PRO14 in Benetton tells us is that Doris will have first go.

This will also be a first outing for Leinster's overseas three, Jamison Gibson-Park's Ireland qualification allowing captain Scott Fardy, James Lowe, back from shoulder surgery, and Gibson-Park to unite in Blue with Rowan Osborne set for his debut off the bench.

LEINSTER: H Keenan; F McFadden, R O'Loughlin, J Tomane, J Lowe; R Byrne, J Gibson-Park; P Dooley, R Kelleher, M Bent, D Toner, S Fardy (capt), J Murphy, W Connors. C Doris.

Replacements: J Tracy, M Milne, V Abdaladze, R Molony, M Deegan; R Osborne, H Byrne, C O'Brien.

OSPREYS: C Evans; L Morgan, S Williams, T Thomas-Wheeler, K Giles; L Price, S Venter; R Jones, S Parry, T Botha, D Lydiate (capt), L Ashley, O Cracknell, S Cross, D Baker.

Replacements: S Otten, G Thomas, G Gajion, B Glynn, G Evans; M Aubrey, T Williams, H Dirksen.

Verdict: Leinster.

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