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12th Dec 2014

Luke Fitzgerald gets his hands on 13 jersey for Leinster’s date with Harlequins

Gordon D'Arcy is ruled out through injury

Patrick McCarry

A revamped backline and the return of a flanker enjoying an excellent season

Leinster boss Matt O’Connor has selected a strong team to take on Harlequins at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday.

Ian Madigan partners Luke Fitzgerald in the centre while Dominic Ryan returns to the back row in place of Jordi Murphy. Fitzgerald gets a crack at the 13 jersey following Gordon D’Arcy’s injury. He came through last week’s defeat at The Stoop in good shape. Zane Kirchner is named on the right wing.

LeinsterÕs Rhys Ruddock is tackled by Harlequins Danny Care and George Robson 7/12/2014

The front row remains unchanged while Kane Douglas is drafted in to partner Devin Toner in the second row. Isaac Boss starts in place of Eoin Reddan, who had a below-par game against Quins. Jimmy Gopperth is out-half while Rob Kearney, another player who failed to sparkle at The Stoop, is fullback.

Pat Lam has dipped into his wider Connacht squad for their tricky away date against Bayonne in the Challenge Cup. Miah Nikora captains the team and is joined in the half-back pairing by scrum-half prospect Caoilin Blade. 36-year-old lock Michael Swift soundly brings the average age up for everyone.

Connacht XV: Darragh Leader; Niyi Adeolokun, Conor Finn, Craig Ronaldson, Fionn Carr; Miah Nikora (c), Caolin Blade; Ronan Loughney, Dave Heffernan, Finlay Bealham; Michael Swift, Aly Muldowney; James Connolly, Willie Faloon, Danny Qualter.

Replacements: Shane Delahunt, Denis Buckley, Saba Meunargia, George Naoupu, Eoin McKeon, Kieran Marmion, Dave McSharry, Matt Healy

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