Ruddock returns from injury as Cullen makes nine changes for Cheetahs

Home / Ruddock returns from injury as Cullen makes nine changes for Cheetahs

RHYS RUDDOCK HAS shaken off a hamstring injury to return to action for Leinster in Friday night’s Guinness Pro14 clash against the Cheetahs at the RDS, as Leo Cullen makes nine changes to his starting XV.

Ruddock was ruled out of contention for Ireland’s Six Nations trip to Rome last weekend after sustaining the injury in training but will hope to get valuable minutes under his belt for the eastern province tomorrow evening [KO 7.35pm, eir Sport/Premier Sports].

Ruddock is back to full fitness. Source: Gary Carr/INPHO

The flanker captains Leinster from the back row with Dave Kearney, Adam Byrne, Rory O’Loughlin, Jamison Gibson-Park and Scott Fardy among those also returning to Cullen’s side for the round 17 encounter.

Kearney has also shaken off a knock to start at fullback while Byrne returns to Leinster action to win his 50th appearance on the right wing having trained with Joe Schmidt’s Ireland in recent weeks.

O’Loughlin partners Conor O’Brien in midfield with McFadden shifting wings and Ross Byrne resuming his half-back pairing with Gibson-Park, as James Lowe misses out on the non-European player selection rule. 

Fardy, who this week announced his decision to remain with Leinster next season, adds experience to a pack which is also bolstered by Ruddock’s presence as well as the selection of Ireland international Michael Bent in the front row.

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Peter Dooley and Bryan Byrne are handed starting opportunities for the visit of the Cheetahs to Dublin, with Ross Molony — last week’s captain — retained in the second row. Max Deegan and Caelan Doris continue at seven and eight respectively.

There is a powerful look to Leinster’s bench, too, with Mick Kearney recovering from a shoulder knock to take his place among the replacements alongside James Tracy, Ed Byrne, Andrew Porter, Josh Murphy, Hugh O’Sullivan, Noel Reid and Barry Daly.

Defending Pro14 champions Leinster are bidding to consolidate their advantage at the top of Conference B having extended their lead to 22 points with a nine-try rout of the Southern Kings last time out.

The Cheetahs have made just two changes from their defeat to Scarlets last week as Franco Smith’s side bid to record their first victory on Irish soil since joining the Pro14 at the start of last season.


15. Dave Kearney 
14. Adam Byrne 
13. Rory O’Loughlin 
12. Conor O’Brien 
11. Fergus McFadden 
10. Ross Byrne 
9. Jamison Gibson-Park 

1. Peter Dooley
2. Bryan Byrne 
3. Michael Bent 
4. Ross Molony 
5. Scott Fardy 
6. Rhys Ruddock (captain)
7. Max Deegan 
8. Caelan Doris 


16. James Tracy 
17. Ed Byrne
18. Andrew Porter 
19. Mick Kearney 
20. Josh Murphy 
21. Hugh O’Sullivan
22. Noel Reid 
23. Barry Daly.


15. Louis Fouche
14. William Small-Smith
13. Benhard Janse van Rensburg
12. Dries Swanepoel
11. Rabz Axwane
10. Tian Schoeman
9. Tian Meyer

1. Ox Nche
2. Reinach Venter
3. Aranos Coetzee
4. Walt Steenkamp
5. JP du Preez
6. Gerhard Olivier
7. Abongile Nonkontwana
8. Junior Pokomela.


16. Jacques du Toit 
17. Charles Marais 
18. Luan de Bruin 
19. Sintu Manjezi 
20. Marnus van der Merwe 
21. Henco Venter 
22. Rudy Paige 
23. Shaun Venter.

Referee: Nigel Owens [WRU]. 

Bernard Jackman joins Murray Kinsella and Gavan Casey to discuss the backlash to World Rugby’s league proposal, captaincy styles, sports psychology and more in The42 Rugby Weekly.

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