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Kelleher Starts In Blue While Marmion Returns To XV Despite Speculation

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Leinster’s bid for three Guinness PRO14 titles in a row continues this week as they travel to Italy to face Zebre.

The eastern province will be looking to make it four wins on the bounce and Leo Cullen has made a number of changes following their last outing, a 40-14 win over Edinburgh two week’s ago.

Cian Kelleher comes in on the wing for his first start since returning to Leinster after a stint in Galway with Connacht. Adam Byrne will also start on the wing where the pair will replace James Lowe and Dave Kearney respectively.

The remainder of the backline stays the same as Rory O’Loughlin and Joe Tomane continue their midfield partnership with Jamison Gibson-Park and Ross Byrne continuing to fill the half-back slots while Hugo Keenan remains at full-back.

Guinness PRO 14

Peter Dooley and Michael Bent are named in the front-row alongside James Tracy who comes in for his first start of the season. Ross Moloney comes in at second-row to partner captain Scott Fardy while Josh Murphy starts at blindside alongside Scott Penny at openside and Max Deegan at number eight.

Meanwhile, out west, Kieran Marmion starts for Connacht for the first time this season as they welcome Cheetahs to the Sportsground. The scrum-half, who has been linked with a move to European Champions Saracens according to the Irish Independent, has came off the bench in each of their opening three games.

Prop Denis Buckley also makes his first start of the season alongside Tom McCartney and Finlay Bealham. Gavin Thornbury and Quinn Roux start in the second row with Eoghan Masterson, Jarrad Butler and Paul Boyle making up the back-row.

Guinness PRO 14

Stephen Fitzgerald starts at full-back in place of the injured Tiernan O’Halloran with Niyi Adeolokun and John Porch completing the back three.

Peter Robb and Kyle Godwin are named at midfield while Conor Fitzgerald partners Marmion at out-half.


Leinster: Hugo Keenan; Adam Byrne, Rory O’Loughlin, Joe Tomane, Cian Kelleher; Ross Byrne, Jamison Gibson-Park; Peter Dooley, James Tracy, Michael Bent; Ross Moloney, Scott Fardy (c); Josh Murphy, Scott Penny, Max Deegan.

Replacements: Bryan Byrne, Michael Milne, Vakh Abdaladze, Ryan Baird, Caelan Doris, Hugh O’Sullivan, Harry Byrne, Jimmy O’Brien

Connacht: Stephen Fitzgerald; Niyi Adeolokun, Kyle Godwin, Peter Robb, John Porch; Conor Fitzgerald, Kieran Marmion; Denis Buckley, Tom McCartney, Finlay Bealham; Gavin Thornbury, Quinn Roux; Eoghan Masterson, Jarrad Butler (c), Paul Boyle.

Replacements: Dave Heffernan, Matthew Burke, Dominic Robertson-McCoy, Ultan Dillane, Cillian Gallagher, Caolin Blade, Tom Farrell, Darragh Leader.

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