Read about the five key talking points from Leo Cullen’s press conference ahead of the Guinness PRO14 match against Dragons at the RDS Arena on Friday night (KO 7.35pm).
Join the roar at Leinster v Dragons and get tickets now from €23/10.
1. Josh Murphy makes his first start
“Josh has worked really hard over the last couple of seasons and I thought he went really well in pre-season. He was unbelievably unlucky at the end in the Gloucester game, he got a crack in his jaw right at the end of the game which set him back. He’s worked really hard, he’s been in the Academy system the last number of years, came off the bench against Glasgow so I think it was important to reward him with a first start in the RDS.
“He’s worked his way through and has impressed in training, brings a real abrasive edge and I’m looking forward to seeing him play. Some good experience around him so looking forward to seeing him play.”
2. Garry Ringrose edges closer to a return
“He’s getting closer. He’s done a bit of training with the team so it’s just about tidying up the last bits and getting a bit of confidence in contact. The more exposure he gets in training the better he’ll be when he returns so he’s not a million miles away.
“With a shoulder injury he’s been able to do a lot of training so he’s done a lot of running in the team training over the last number of weeks. Wouldn’t be as much of a concern than if he was coming off another injury. It’s just with a shoulder injury it’s more about tidying up those last bits of contact and he’s been integrated into the rugby and skill element. I wouldn’t be too worried about Garry when he comes back.”
3. James Lowe
“We’ll see how he goes. We need to recognise the seasons he’s come off. He’s played a season with Tasman and it’s a tournament where they’ve got a lot of games condensed and they got to a final. Prior to that he was off with the Chiefs so he’s got a lot of rugby under his belt. We’re just trying to manage him and get him assessed, see how he comes through as there’s no point in throwing a guy in and he breaks down and he’s gone for a period. We’re just being cautious with him, he’s done some training with the teams.”
4. Jack Conan comes back in after international duty
“They all want to push on and get better as it’s a very competitive back row with Ireland. He was very unlucky to miss out on selection for the South Africa game, but I thought he did well against Fiji and carried strongly. They’ve gone for a bit of stability for this weekend but he comes back to us and hopefully he’ll make a good impact later in the game.”
5. Joey Carbery
“There seems to be this narrative there in the background. We’re lucky to have Joey and Ross Byrne and Cathal Marsh. Joey played 10 in pre-season, Rob Kearney picks up an injury as Joey’s coming back so then Joey plays 15 for us and Isa was playing in midfield because of injuries. That’s what squads rely on.
“It’s interesting to see someone like Beauden Barrett who’s up for world player of the year and is probably one of the best players in the world. He’s played a lot of 15 and 10 and Joey in many ways is so similar to that type of profile. The exposure he gets at 15 is very good for his overall game whether he ends up at 10 or 15 we’ll have to wait and see. There’s always going to be some media views on what’s best for him but Joey is making great progress and that’s the main thing. He’s been a really important contributor for us and you see how dangerous a threat he is. Irish rugby and Leinster Rugby is very lucky to have him.”