Schmidt summons youths for Aironi visit
LEINSTER v AIRONI, RDS, Live RTÉ 2 (KO 7.05)
COACH Joe Schmidt has summoned Ireland Under 20s Andrew Conway and Brendan Macken forth into the Leinster backline, charged with making bottom club Aironi suffer in the Magners League at the RDS tonight.
It can’t have gone down too well with Ireland U20 coach Mike Ruddock, whose son Rhys captains Leinster for the first time in a strange twist. It seems the professionalism of provincial rugby takes precedence over the Six Nations Age-Grade competition.
Senior players Isa Nacewa, Kevin McLaughlin, Heinke van der Merwe and Stephen Keogh will carry much of the responsibility in keeping Aironi under control. Half-backs Ian Madigan and Paul O’Donohoe will have to keep them pinned back.
It might not be as straight forward as the positions in the table suggest. Former Munster number eight Nick Williams is a handful off the base and the Italians have pace out wide from Danwel Demas and Kaine Robertson.
Even so, Leinster should have too much in the tank. A win would take them into second for the time being. A bonus-point would be the cherry on top.
LEINSTER: I Nacewa; A Conway, B Macken, E O’Malley, D Kearney; I Madigan, P O’Donohoe; H van der Merwe, R Strauss, C Newland, K McLaughlin, D Toner, R Ruddock (capt), D Ryan, S Keogh. AIRONI: P Buso; K Robertson, G Pizarro, H San Martin, D Demas; J Marshall, T Tebaldi; A De Marchi, R Santamaria, F Staibano, M Bortolami (capt), J Furno, N Cattina, J Erasmus, N Williams.