Before the main business of the Heineken Cup quarter finals commence over the weekend the next generation have a chance to test themselves as Leinster A clash with Munster A in the B&I Cup at the RDS on Good Friday evening, kick off 6.00pm.
Having watched their senior colleagues defeat Munster last weekend in Thomand Park, Leinster’s young guns will be keen to do the blue jersey justice against what is sure to be a fired up Munster team.
To reach the semi finals Leinster have seen off Esher away (32-18), Melrose at home (42-20) and Llanelli away (19-13), drew with London Welsh (24-24) before defeating Pontypridd (32-0) last time out to secure themselves a home semi final.
Coach Colin McEntee has selected a strong team for the game. Rhys Ruddock captains the side and leads a back row of himself, Dominic Ryan and Leo Auva’a.
The back three is equally potent. Fionn Carr, Andrew Conway and David Kearney all start and Munster know that they will have to be on guard at all times to nullify the dangerous trio.
Speaking ahead of the game, Colin McEntee said: “The B&I Cup competition has improved in quality progressively over the last number of years and it’s not too often that emerging players have the opportunity to play in front of what will hopefully be a big crowd in the RDS. So the anticipation has risen over the last few days and the squad are in a good frame of mind for Friday’s test.
“Though we’re without a few players through injury, we’re pleased to be able to call upon several experienced players such as Damian (Browne) for what is going to be the biggest test that we have faced so far this season.
“Munster are a quality side and Ian (Costello) has done a fantastic job with them this year. They have a strong crop of emerging Irish talent on show, each of whom will be as keen as we are to win.
Munster, like their hosts, have had a good run in the B&I Cup. Their only defeat in the competition thus far came back in November when they narrowly lost 10-6 to the Cornish Pirates.
While several players are on standby for Munster’s Heineken Cup quarter final with Ulster 48 hours later it is expected that the likes of JJ Hanrahan and Danny Barnes will line up in the staring 15 at the RDS.
Along with Hanrahan and Barnes, Denis Fogarty, Ian Nagle and Scott Deasy are all expected to play some part in what should be a hugely intense and exciting game.
Leinster: D Kearney; A Conway, B Macken, C O’Shea, F Carr; N Reid, L McGrath; J McGrath, A Dundon, M Moore; D Browne, M Flanagan; R Ruddock capt, D Ryan, L Auva’a.
Replacements: T Sexton, J O’Connell, J Coughlan, J Murphy, M healy, C Marsh, A Boyle.
Munster: S Scanlon Cork Con); L O’Dea (Shannon), AN Other, JJ Hanrahan (UL Bohs), I Dineen (Cork Con), S Deasy (Cork Con), AN Other; D Kilcoyne (UL Bohs), S Henry (UL Bohs), J Ryan (Cork Con); B Hayes (Cork Con), I Nagle (Cork Con); AN Other, B O’Mahony (Clontarf), P Butler (Shannon).
Replacements: D Fogarty (Cork Con),P Borlase, P Donnellan (Cork Con), B O’Hara (Cork Con), D Cusack (Garryowen), C Sheridan (UL Bohs),R O’Mahony Garryowen),
REFEREE: Ian Davies (WRU), ASSISTANT REFEREES: Mark Patton (IRFU), Jonathan Peak (IRFU),
4th OFFICIAL: Eanna O’Dowd (Leinster Rugby Referees), 5th OFFICIAL: Aidan Fogarty (Leinster Rugby Referees)