Thursday 14 December 2017

Leinster preview: D'Arcy ruled out of Blues first game of the season as Dan Leavy given chance to shine

Dan Leavy
Dan Leavy

Just when he thought it couldn't get any worse, Gordon D'Arcy has been ruled out of Leinster's first PRO12 match in Edinburgh tonight with a shoulder injury.

So much for making a late claim in case of injury to an Ireland centre.

Really, it is time for Noel Reid to have a prolonged period in the number 12 shirt where his superior passing game can play right into the hands of Ben Te'o and the back three of Fergus McFadden, Darragh Fanning and Isa Nacewa.

The half-backs Luke McGrath and Cathal Marsh have been together since their days at school in St Michael's. This is the chance they have been waiting for and they have to take it with Isaac Boss and Ross Byrne on the bench.

Another past-pupil, Dan Leavy, finally makes his first start, the former Ireland U20 captain making his way back to full fitness from a number of injury problems.

The fact Leavy has been chosen ahead of Dominic Ryan and Josh van der Flier speaks volumes for how much Leo Cullen rates him.

The introduction of Jack Conan, even against miserable Moseley, brought increased drive and composure on the ball.

He looks the heir apparent to Jamie Heaslip already for club and country.

It will fall on the shoulders of the front five to make Edinburgh take a backward step.

Michael Bent, Aaron Dundon and Jamie Hagan will be buttressed by Tom Denton and Mike McCarthy with Kevin McLaughlin's sound judgement vital to his captaincy.

Edinburgh: J Cuthbert; D Fife, C Dean, S Beard, D Hoyland; P Burleigh, N Fowles; R Sutherland, N Cochrane, J Andress, A Bresler, B Toolis, C Du Preez, R Grant (capt), N Manu.

Leinster: I Nacewa; F McFadden, B Te'o, N Reid, D Fanning; C Marsh, L McGrath; M Bent, A Dundon, J Hagan, T Denton, M McCarthy, K McLaughlin (capt), D Leavy, J Conan.

Verdict: Leinster

Edinburgh v Leinster, Meggetland, 7.35 TG4

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