Leinster Rugby and Munster Rugby reveal team selections for Aviva fixture clash

Ireland interprovincial weekend at the Aviva

URC round six looms large this weekend. Leinster Rugby host Munster Rugby in the Aviva Stadium on Saturday evening. The hosts buoyed by a 100% start to the league campaign and looking to secure a fourteen win in the past seventeen fixtures between these provinces. Hawkeye Sidekick reflects on the team news.

Hawkeye Sidekick Podcast: URC Round Five / Six roundup

Leinster Rugby have shuffled their squad for this latest Irish interprovincial clash. Nine changes to the starting lineup which secured a shutout win over Connacht Rugby last weekend. Robbie Henshaw comes back into the three quarters to partner Garry Ringrose.

Jimmy O’Brien switches to the wing to accommodate the inclusion of Ciaran Frawley at full back. Frawley is a superb footballer, he will perform the full back role with aplomb but is this perhaps a lost opportunity to run the rule over the player at ten?

Sexton obviously looking for game minutes but we need to see Frawley at ten in a fixture which will be high in tempo and physicality to confirm whether the player is a viable ten starter for Ireland next year at a World Cup let alone long term.

I am delighted to see Jamie Osborne get game time in this fixture. Osbourne was excellent in the Emerging Ireland tour and it is good that this prospect is getting more game minutes so soon after this tour. It will only bring the player on in form and performance levels.

Cormac Foley makes way for Luke McGrath at scrum-half and as mentioned Johnny Sexton comes in for Ross Byrne. The pack sees ex-Munster Rugby Jason Jenkins, Cian Healy, Max Deegan and Scott Penny come into the unit.

A tasty bench to come on and make an impact. Andrew Porter, Michael Ala’alatoa, Ross Molony, Jack Conan and John McKee are standout players. Nick McCarthy, Ross Byrne and Rob Russell will look for game minutes in the second half to close out a Leinster Rugby win. A strong lineup from Leinster Rugby.

The Munster Rugby squad report earlier this week represented a field hospital casualty report. Numerous injuries to mention and we are not even including the guys who are out long term. Tadhg Beirne (groin) and Peter O’Mahony (neck) have failed to recover from injury for this fixture.

Alongside the Ciaran Frawley full back selection, we have Jack Crowley filling the same role for Munster Rugby. This is a trial game for the international senior side. How can Farrell, Easterby and Catt really evaluate Frawley and Crowley if they are not playing the ten position?

Are they just being put on to get game minutes? The ten depth chart is an area of debate. It is a lost opportunity, perhaps both will get twenty minutes at the end but the fixture may be decided well before then.

Joey Carbery was much improved last weekend in Munster Rugby’s win over the Bulls but this is a step up in opposition and line speed. How will Carbery effect the game from ten? Will he get enough ball to run an effective, cohesive game plan? Will Carbery look to snip around the fringes or will he stay in the pocket, become one dimensional and allow Leinster Rugby to smash ball carriers with ease?

Craig Casey does not make the trip to Dublin so we have Conor Murray who has a superb opportunity to remind Farrell and supporters alike of his prowess.

Rory Scannell and Liam Coombes form the three quarter partnership; it looks a daunting task for the Cork natives but I like that Coombes is getting game time at thirteen as his attacking lines are impressive.

The Munster Rugby pack will see Loughman, Barron and Knox in the front row. Barron and Knox making their first start of the season. It goes without saying that Munster Rugby’s set piece will be massively tested by a Leinster Rugby pack containing Jason Jenkins.

Let’s be frank. We never saw the best of Jason Jenkins last season, some would say we never saw him at all for Munster Rugby given his injury plighted campaign. Jenkins this term has showed massive work rate and physicality in set piece and Munster Rugby will be fully aware of the threat provided by the South African.

Tom Ahern and Jean Kleyn form the second row for Munster Rugby. Ahern coming off an excellent Emerging Ireland tour and will be up against James Ryan and Jason Jenkins. Kleyn’s form in recent weeks has been really strong, a repeat is required this weekend. Lineout must execute like clockwork.

The back row has a nice balance to it. John Hodnett starts his first game of the season; an astute back row talent and one who will relish getting involved in the breakdown battle. Jack O’Donoghue and Gavin Coombes providing massive ball carrying ability and physicality.

Leinster Rugby have counter acted this by bringing in mobility in the unit. Penny, Deegan and Doris will provide excellent speed around the breakdown and running lines for Sexton to snip passes to inside channels.

Munster Rugby’s aim tomorrow is to deliver a performance, a good solid performance which shows a game plan with different looks. If we see box kicks, lateral passing and non-support of the ball carrier for potential offloads; then this will be a long evening in the Aviva for the men in red.

Buckley, Quinn, Campbell are exciting prospects coming off the bench for Munster Rugby. Kilcoyne will provide experience in the pack exchanges in the third quarter onwards. Patterson and Healy will look to keep things simple at half-back. O’Sullivan and French will need to hit the ground running against this well drilled Leinster Rugby outfit.

There is no doubt that Leinster Rugby will enter this fixture as hot favourites. The hope is that a local derby game will throw the form book out the window somewhat. This is a national senior squad trial match so players who impress here will be primed for November test match series minutes.

A Leinster Rugby win consolidates their place at the summit of the URC while Munster Rugby will look for a good performance first and then look to take something from the game. Munster Rugby’s home fixture against Ulster Rugby looks must win already. Home win beckons here but the hope from Munster Rugby is that the side deliver a performance full of pride, work rate and cohesion; enough to secure something from the fixture.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *