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Wednesday 14 November 2018

Leavy playing catch-up in South Africa

 

Dan Leavy of Leinster. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Dan Leavy of Leinster. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Dan Leavy is the most notable inclusion in the Leinster squad in South Africa to prepare for the Southern Kings on Sunday (KO12.45pm, eir Sport).

The Ireland flanker, originally included in the November squad, has had an interrupted season.

This must be difficult to deal with as Leavy would have ranked as the best openside in the Six Nations.

He completed four out of five of the 80 minutes on offer, missing just 37 minutes of the whole campaign against France in round one.

Were there a British & Irish Lions tour scheduled for the summer, the 24-year-old would have been on that plane.

He has not been able to find his rhythm due to injury and the queue for places in the Blues back-row.

This season, Leavy has only been able to contribute 165 minutes to Leinster from three appearances.

The second of his two 80-minute matches came last week and now going back-to-back is a priority.

There is more international experience is provided by Wallabies Scott Fardy and Joe Tomane as well as Irishmen Dave Kearney, Noel Reid, Michael Bent, Rory O'Loughlin, James Tracy and Adam Byrne.

There could also be the opportunity for Academy men Jimmy O'Brien, a centre, hooker Ronan Kelleher and flanker Scott Penny to make their Leinster debuts.

The latter was very impressive in the Celtic Cup campaign in his first year out of school.

The same goes for number eight Caelan Doris, who has gone back to the drawing board after a baptism of fire against Cardiff in his first start in the PRO14 League back in August.

Most importantly, the focus will be on the level of performance and the number of points that can keep Leinster in control of Conference B.

LEINSTER SQUAD ( v Southern King)

Backs (12): A Byrne, T Daly, C Frawley, J Gibson-Park, D Kearney, H Keenan, C O'Brien, J O'Brien*, R O'Loughlin, H O'Sullivan, N Reid, J Tomane;

Forwards (15): V Abdaladze, M Bent, B Byrne, E Byrne, M Deegan, P Dooley, C Doris, S Fardy, M Kearney, R Kelleher*, D Leavy, R Molony, J Murphy, S Penny*, J Tracy.

*Denotes uncapped players

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