Belfast Telegraph

Edinburgh trip is a big task for Leinster, claims Fogarty

By Cian Tracey

Leinster's strength in depth will once again be tested when they travel to Edinburgh this evening (7.35pm) looking to overtake the Scarlets at the top of their conference, for at least a few hours.

Former Ireland Under-20 flanker Will Connors has been handed his first start, while 20-year-old fly-half Ciaran Frawley could debut from the bench.

Michael Bent will make his 100th appearance for Leinster as he starts in the front-row alongside skipper Richardt Strauss.

There is also a welcome return from injury for Adam Byrne, who is named among the replacements.

Scrum coach John Fogarty said: "There's a really good mood in the group that's here. Guys know that there are opportunities in front of them but it's not going to be easy. Going away to Edinburgh is tough, they don't concede a lot of tries. They troubled us massively in that first game at the start of the season.

"They stressed our lineout, their maul is strong. They cut through us quite a bit so defensively we were under a lot of pressure. It's a huge task."

Meanwhile, Connacht will be aiming to benefit from having a largely settled squad during the Six Nations period, and their first task is to see off an Ospreys side who sacked their head coach two weeks ago.

Kieran Keane is able to call on plenty of experience in the likes of John Muldoon, Tiernan O'Halloran and Tom McCartney, while Andrew Browne also returns. Keane is demanding that his side carry their European form into the Guinness PRO14.

"We are up for this game, we know the importance of it," Keane said. "This is a really important block of games for us and will have a big bearing on our PRO14 season.

"We have a quarter-final in the Challenge Cup to look forward to but there is a lot of rugby to play before that, so our focus is firmly on the league at the moment."

Belfast Telegraph

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