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Sunday 20 October 2019

Toner and Marmion return to PRO14 action

Devin Toner during Leinster training this week
Devin Toner during Leinster training this week

It is a funny old game this.

No sooner had Jordi Murphy given up the ghost of revisiting the 2015 World Cup to settle an old score than it was dangled in front of him again with news of Jack Conan's foot problem.

It just goes to show how Murphy, Devin Toner and Kieran Marmion are just one 'lucky break' away from being right in the middle of the madness in Japan.

There is no better way for Toner to get over the heartbreak of what happened in recent weeks than to get back on that other horse closer to home.

All of the frustration, anger and disappointment will be reserved for Benetton in the PRO14 League at Stadio Monigo this evening (KO5.15 Irish time, Eirsport 1).

Fellow Ireland international Ross Byrne and Dave Kearney will have to be on point as there are any number of kids looking to taken them down.

Worse again, 24-year-old Byrne will have to add younger brother Harry, just 20, to the list of those on the way up.

This year's Ireland U20 fly-half is set for his debut as is prop Michael Milne.

"It is such a good day watching guys make their debut for Leinster," said Leo Cullen.

"It is one of the real perks of the job, when you pick guys in the 23 and they feature on the field.

"Homegrown talent, that's what we want."

Scrum-half Marmion will have to bide his time from the bench behind Caolin Blade as Connacht go on the road to Scarlets this evening (KO5.15, TG4).

Brothers Conor and Stephen Fitzgerald will enjoy a special day starting at out-half and wing, respectively, as Paddy McAllister debuts in the front row.

Munster should find Dragons a lot more manageable at Thomond Park this afternoon (KO3.0, TG4 & Eirsport 1).

Coach Johann van Graan will be eager to see how scrum-half Nick McCarthy copes on his debut with JJ Hanrahan and Tyler Bleyendaal set to share the distribution duties.

LEINSTER (v Benetton): J O'Brien; A Byrne, R O'Loughlin, J Tomane, D Kearney; R Byrne, J Gibson-Park; P Dooley, R Kelleher, M Bent, R Molony (capt), D Toner, M Deegan, W Connors, C Doris.

Replacements: J Tracy, M Milne, A Abdaladze, J Murphy, S Penny; H O'Sullivan, H Byrne, H Keenan.

MUNSTER (v Dragons): M Haley; D Sweetnam, R Scannell, T Bleyendaal, S Daly; JJ Hanrahan, N McCarthy; J Loughman, K O'Byrne, S Archer, F Wycherley, B Holland (capt); J O'Donoghue, T O'Donnell, A Botha.

Replacements: D Barron, J Cronin, K Knox, D O'Shea, C Cloete; A Mathewson, L Coombes, J O'Sullivan.

CONNACHT (v Scarlets): T O'Halloran; S Fitzgerald, K Godwin, T Daly, M Healy; C Fitzgerald, C Blade; P McAllister, T McCartney, F Bealham, G Thornbury, Q Roux, E Masterson, C Fainga'a, J Butler (capt).

Replacements: S Delahunt, D Buckley, D Robertson-McCoy, U Dillane, E McKeon; K Marmion, P Robb, D Leader.

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