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Connacht team to face Leinster in the Sportsground

Guinness PRO12 Editor

30 Dec 2011

Connacht Rugby have announced the team that will face Leinster in the Sportsground this New Years Day.

Mick Kearney earns his first competitive start for the Province at blindside flanker replacing Dave Gannon who came off with a knee injury on Monday. The 20 year old academy forward, who stands at 6 foot 5 inches, is a former Mount Temple Comprehensive pupil and has represented Ireland U18, U20 & Irish Colleges. He earned his first cap for Connacht against the Ospreys this season and has appeared 5 times since then.

The other change in the pack sees Adrian Flavin replace Ethienne Reynecke at hooker. With over 117 caps Flavin is one of Connacht's most experienced players and even allowing for Mick Kearney's youth the pack boasts 765 caps between them

There are 3 changes to the starting backline. Frank Murphy makes way for Paul O'Donohoe at scrumhalf, Brian Tuohy replaces Fetu'u Vainikolo on the wing and Connacht's newest signing Kyle Tonetti takes over from the injured Dave McSharry. Tonetti joined Connacht from Sale Sharks earlier this season and steps in for McSharry who required stitches to his chin following the St Stephens' Day clash with Munster.

Connacht XV to face Leinster (The Sportsground – Sunday 1st January 17.00)
15 Gavin Duffy (C)
14 Brian Tuohy
13 Eoin Griffin
12 Kyle Tonetti
11 Tiernan O'Halloran
10 Niall O'Connor
09 Paul O'Donohoe
01 Brett Wilkinson
02 Adrian Flavin
03 Ronan Loughney
04 George Naoupu
05 Mike McCarthy
06 Mick Kearney
07 Johnny O'connor
08 John Muldoon

16 Ethienne Reynecke
17 Denis Buckley
18 Dylan Rogers
19 Eoin McKeon
20 TJ Anderson
21 Frank Murphy
22 Matthew Jarvis
23 Henry Fa'afili