Boost for Leinster as McGrath, Leavy and Tomane make injury returns

LEO CULLEN HAS included Ireland internationals Luke McGrath and Dan Leavy in his Leinster team to face Edinburgh at Murrayfield in the Guinness Pro14 tomorrow evening [KO 7.35pm, eir Sport/Premier Sports].

With a Heineken Champions Cup quarter-final against Ulster to come in two weekends’ time, their returns are timely for Leinster.

McGrath has been out since January. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Scrum-half McGrath has been absent since suffering a knee injury against Toulouse in January that cruelly ruled him out of Six Nations involvement with Ireland.

Openside flanker Leavy, meanwhile, has been sidelined since December with a calf issue – also ensuring he took no part in the Six Nations – but makes his return in the number seven shirt. 

McGrath and Leavy are joined in making injury comebacks by former Australia international Joe Tomane, who has recovered from hamstring surgery sooner than expected.

Initially ruled out for up to five months back in November, Tomane has been passed fit to start at inside centre against Edinburgh.

There is further good news for Leinster on the injury front with the return of scrum-half Nick McCarthy to the bench for the trip to Scotland.

Promising academy back Ciarán Frawley gets his first start at fullback in the Leinster team to take on Edinburgh, with Barry Daly and Fergus McFadden on the wings.

Tomane makes his return at 12. Source: Inpho/Billy Stickland

Noel Reid joins Tomane in midfield as Ross Byrne partners McGrath in the halfbacks.

Seán Cronin, dropped from the Ireland squad after starting the Six Nations game against Italy in round three, gets an opportunity to show his quality at hooker, with Ed Byrne and Michael Bent either side of him in the front row.

Josh Murphy and Mick Kearney pair up in the second row, while Rhys Ruddock is named captain in a back row also including Leavy and Max Deegan at number eight.

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Ireland internationals Jack McGrath and Andrew Porter are included on a bench that also features youngsters Jack Dunne, Oisín Dowling and Jimmy O’Brien. 

Edinburgh, meanwhile, have named a strong team that includes fit-again flanker John Barclay, who will make his debut for the club after recovering from a long-term Achilles tendon injury.

Leinster hold a 22-point lead at the top of Conference B of the Pro14 ahead of this fixture, meaning they have already secured a home semi-final. Edinburgh sit fifth in the table, five points behind third-placed Ulster.

Leinster (v Edinburgh):

15. Ciarán Frawley
14. Fergus McFadden
13. Noel Reid
12. Joe Tomane
11. Barry Daly
10. Ross Byrne
9. Luke McGrath

1. Ed Byrne 
2. Seán Cronin 
3. Michael Bent
4. Josh Murphy
5. Mick Kearney
6. Rhys Ruddock (captain)
7. Dan Leavy
8. Max Deegan


16. Bryan Byrne
17. Jack McGrath
18. Andrew Porter
19. Jack Dunne
20. Oisín Dowling
21. Nick McCarthy
22. Jimmy O’Brien
23. Conor O’Brien


15. Dougie Fife
14. Darcy Graham
13. James Johnstone
12. Matt Scott
11. Duhan van der Merwe
10. Jaco van der Walt
9. Henry Pyrgos (captain)

1. Pierre Schoeman 
2. Ross Ford 
3. WP Nel
4. Fraser McKenzie
5. Ben Toolis
6. John Barclay
7. Hamish Watson
8. Viliame Mata


16. Cameron Fenton
17. Allan Dell
18. Simon Berghan
19. Callum Hunter-Hill
20. Magnus Bradbury
21. Charlie Shiel
22. Simon Hickey
23. Chris Dean

Referee: Ben Whitehouse [WRU]. 

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