Carbery to make first start at 10 as Leinster name team for Pro12 opener

HEAD COACH LEO Cullen has handed talented out-half Joey Carbery his first start in a Leinster shirt as the province prepare to get their Guinness Pro12 season under way against Benetton Treviso at the RDS tomorrow night (7.35pm).

The 21-year-old Auckland-born Athy man made his Leinster debut off the bench last March away to the Glasgow Warriors but has now been handed his first start.

This is Carbery’s second season in the Leinster academy, while earlier this year he also starred for Clontarf as they won the Ulster Bank League, earning a man-of-the-match award for his performance in the final.

Also comfortable at fullback, the former Ireland U20 played much of his underage rugby with Athy RFC before making a move into the schools game with Blackrock College.

Carbery is partnered in the halfbacks by scrum-half Luke McGrath who will captain the side for a second time, in the absence of the injured Isa Nacewa.

Rob Kearney has proved his fitness to line out at fullback with the experience of South African Zane Kirchner and Leinster stalwart Fergus McFadden on the wings, while Noel Reid and Garry Ringrose form an exciting centre combination.

A recovering Cian Healy has also done enough in pre-season to earn a starting spot at loosehead alongside Bryan Byrne at hooker and Kiwi Michael Bent at tighthead.

Ross Molony will partner fit-again Mike McCarthy in the second row, while Dominic Ryan, Josh van der Flier and Dan Leavy make up the back row.

Kiwi scrum-half Jamison Gibson-Park has been named on the bench and will be hoping to make his Leinster debut tomorrow night, a feat former Ireland U20 prop Andrew Porter and Rory O’Loughlin, who has impressed at centre in pre-season, will be hoping to match.

Leinster (v Benetton Treviso)

15. Rob Kearney
14. Zane Kirchner
13. Garry Ringrose
12. Noel Reid
11. Fergus McFadden
10. Joey Carbery
9. Luke McGrath (c)

1. Cian Healy
2. Bryan Byrne
3. Michael Bent
4. Ross Molony
5. Mike McCarthy
6. Dominic Ryan
7. Josh van der Flier
8. Dan Leavy

16. James Tracy
17. Andrew Porter
18. Mike Ross
19. Hayden Triggs
20. Jordi Murphy
21. Jamison Gibson-Park
22. Cathal Marsh
23. Rory O’Loughlin

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