Alex Soroka to make first start against Zebre
March 11, 2021 / Marcus Ó Buachalla
The Leinster Rugby team, proudly sponsored by Bank of Ireland, to face Zebre tomorrow at Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi in the Guinness PRO14 has been announced by head coach Leo Cullen (KO 5.45pm Irish, live on eir Sport).
Luke McGrath will once again captain the side, while Alex Soroka starts a game in the Guinness PRO14 for the first time after his debut off the bench against Glasgow Warriors.
Seán O’Brien and Tim Corkery are in line for their own debuts if introduced off the bench.
Academy player Max O’Reilly starts at full back, with Cian Kelleher making his 25th appearance on the right wing and Dave Kearney selected on the left.
In the centre, Cullen has selected Rory O’Loughlin and Jimmy O’Brien as his pairing for the second week in a row.
Captain McGrath is partnered at half-back by Harry Byrne for the trip to Italy.
In the pack, Peter Dooley, Dan Sheehan and Academy prop Thomas Clarkson start in the front row, with Ross Molony and Jack Dunne in the second row. It will be Dunne’s first start of the season.
In the back row, Josh Murphy starts at blindside, with last week’s Guinness Player of the Match Scott Penny at openside and Soroka wearing No 8.
The two potential debutants are named among the replacements, along with James Tracy, Marcus Hanan, Michael Bent, Devin Toner, Hugh O’Sullivan and Jamie Osborne.
USA-born O’Brien started out playing minis with Greystones RFC before going to school in Blackrock College where he played on the Junior and Senior cup teams. He has three Ireland U-20 caps and is currently studying Economics and Finance in UCD, where he also plays his club rugby.
Corkery is from Bennettsbridge and went to school in St. Kieran’s College. He played his club rugby with Kilkenny RFC.
He also played with the South East Area in the Shane Horgan Cup before progressing to Leinster representative honours. He has three Ireland U-20 caps to his name. Like O’Brien, Corkery is also playing his club rugby with UCD RFC.
Toner continues to edge ever closer to Gordon D’Arcy’s all-time record Leinster Rugby appearance total of 261.
Leinster Rugby (caps in brackets):
15. Max O’Reilly (5)
14. Cian Kelleher (24)
13. Jimmy O’Brien (31)
12. Rory O’Loughlin (77)
11. Dave Kearney (162)
10. Harry Byrne (20)
9. Luke McGrath (143) CAPTAIN
1. Peter Dooley (88)
2. Dan Sheehan (8)
3. Thomas Clarkson (8)
4. Ross Molony (109)
5. Jack Dunne (13)
6. Josh Murphy (43)
7. Scott Penny (23)
8. Alex Soroka (1)
16. James Tracy (123)
17. Marcus Hanan (1)
18. Michael Bent (153)
19. Devin Toner (259)
20. Seán O’Brien (0)
21. Hugh O’Sullivan (26)
22. Tim Corkery (0)
23. Jamie Osborne (4)
Referee: Marius Mitrea (FIR)