Dan Leavy back in Leinster mat...


Dan Leavy back in Leinster matchday squad after 19-month absence

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Leinster flanker Dan Leavy is set to return to action after 19 months on the sidelines with a knee injury in the Guinness PRO14 match against Zebre.

The 26-year-old Ireland international has been named in the Blues' matchday squad for the first time since he suffered the serious injury in the 2019 Champions Cup quarter-final win against Ulster at the Aviva Stadium.

The clash will be played at the RDS Arena but with Level 5 restrictions in place the game will again be played behind closed doors with only a limited number of media in attendance.

In a further boost for the province, Dave Kearney makes his return from a hamstring injury to win his 150th cap for Leinster while Peter Dooley makes a first appearance since injuring his shoulder in February.

Head coach Leo Cullen has named a total of four uncapped players in his matchday 23, with two players from the Academy included in the quartet.

In the centre is former Blackrock College captain Liam Turner. The 21-year-old centre has ten Ireland U20s caps and was part of the 2019 U20s Grand Slam-winning side.

Dan Sheehan makes his debut in the front row, at hooker, between Peter Dooley and Michael Bent.

29 November 2008; Devin Toner, Leinster. Magners League, Leinster v Newport Gwent Dragons, RDS, Dublin. Picture credit: Matt Browne / SPORTSFILE

Sheehan (22) was promoted to a senior contract during the summer but has been unavailable for the last while with a cheekbone injury. The Dublin University FC player, has five caps with the Ireland U20s.

On the bench, Ciarán Parker is in line to make his Leinster debut should he be introduced. The 25-year-old signed for Leinster last month on loan from Jersey Reds having previously played with Sale Sharks and Munster Rugby.

David Hawkshaw is the final player in line to make his bow for Leinster. The 21-year-old was the captain of the 2019 Ireland U20s Grand Slam winning side until a knee ligament injury put an end to his campaign.

In the second row Devin Toner will win his 250th cap against the Italian side.

Leinster Rugby (caps in brackets):

15. Jimmy O’Brien (19)
14. Tommy O’Brien (4)
13. Liam Turner (0)
12. Ciarán Frawley (27)
11. Dave Kearney (149)
10. Harry Byrne (11)
9. Luke McGrath (129)
1. Peter Dooley (76)
2. Dan Sheehan (0)
3. Michael Bent (142)
4. Ross Molony (97)
5. Devin Toner (249)
6. Josh Murphy (33)
7. Scott Penny (14)
8. Rhys Ruddock (175) CAPTAIN

16. James Tracy (111)
17. Michael Milne (9)
18. Ciaran Parker (0)
19. Jack Dunne (7)
20. Scott Fardy (62)
21. Hugh O’Sullivan (20)
22. David Hawkshaw (0)
23. Dan Leavy (63)

Referee: Craig Evans (WRU) ​

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Ciaran Frawley Dan Leavy Dan Sheehan Devin Toner Guinness Pro14 Leinster Rugby Liam Turner Zebre

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