Match Page 2017-18 - Scoreboard WP ID: 132

Match Page 2017-18 - Last Time WP ID: 133

Match Page 2017-18 - Current Standing WP: 134

Match Page 2017-18 - H2H WP: 136

Match Page 2017-18 - Last 3 Matches WP: 142

Match Page 2017-18 - Season so Far WP:141

Preview: Leinster v Zebre

Andy Baber 6 Apr 2018

After securing their place in the final four of the Champions Cup, Leinster turn their attention back to the Guinness PRO14 and a meeting with Zebre in Dublin.

The hosts go into the Round 19 fixture sitting pretty at the top of Conference B, but there is still more work for them to do to seal a place in the Final Series.

What’s at stake?

Leinster only have a three-point advantage over Scarlets at the top of Conference B, so a win at the RDS Arena will take them another step closer to that all-important home semi-final.

And they will fancy their chances against the bottom side in Conference A, with Zebre’s last win in the Guinness PRO14 dating back to February 16.

Team news (Leinster)

Devin Toner will lead out Leinster for the first time against Zebre, while Barry Daly starts at full-back, with Adam Byrne and James Lowe on the wings.

Academy back Conor O’Brien starts alongside Rory O’Loughlin in the centre, with Jamison Gibson-Park and Ross Byrne the half-back pairing.

Cian Healy and Tadhg Furlong are the starting props this week with James Tracy getting the nod at hooker. Toner captains the side from second-row alongside Mick Kearney.

In the back-row, Josh Murphy starts at blindside, with Dan Leavy at openside and Max Deegan, who made his European debut last Sunday, starts at eight.

Team news (Zebre)

It will be a special occasion for tighthead prop Dario Chistolini, who will earn his 100th cap in a Zebre side that will feature nine changes from the clash against Glasgow Warriors two weeks ago.

Six of the changes are all Italian internationals who played the last Six Nations match, with Matteo Minozzi returning to the back three with Gabriele Di Giulio and Mattia Bellini.

Giulio Bisegni returns to wear the No.13 jersey and will pair up with Faialaga Afamasaga, while the half-back pairing will be Carlo Canna and Marcello Violi.

In the pack, Valerio Bernabò switches to the back-row and will take to the field alongside Jacopo Sarto and David Sisi, who moves from the second row to No.8.

Talking points

Leinster scrum coach John Fogarty said: “We’ve got a good squad – we’ve got a big squad. We’ve used them throughout the season.

“We’re going to need to use them towards the end of the season to make sure bodies are fresh and that we have really good energy on the field.

“That’s what we’re going through at the moment, making sure that the right team is picked so that we’re ready for Zebre.”

“They’ve done really well under Michael Bradley this season,” Fogarty said of Leinster’s opponents. “You look at the two Connacht games and they were very impressive in both.

“They’re a dangerous side that have a lot of big bodies that we’ve to deal with, so that intensity that you spoke about with JR (James Ryan) and Dan (Leavy), we need to be able to replicate that with all the players we have on the field.”

Key battle – Ross Byrne v Carlo Canna

With Johnny Sexton not included in the matchday 23, it falls to Ross Byrne to provide the sparkle for Leinster against Zebre and keep the score ticking over. Carlo Canna does have the potential to hurt sides, though, and will be crucial to the fortunes of the visitors.

Key stat: Leinster have won all ten games they have played against Zebre, scoring 31 tries in the process. Zebre, on the other hand, have touched down six times.

Did you know? More than a year has passed since Zebre and Leinster last faced each other back in January 2017 when the Irish province ran out comfortable 70-6 winners.

Leinster: Barry Daly, Adam Byrne, Rory O’Loughlin, Conor O’Brien, James Lowe, Ross Byrne, Jamison Gibson-Park, Cian Healy, James Tracy, Tadhg Furlong, Devin Toner (C), Mick Kearney, Josh Murphy, Dan Leavy, Max Deegan

Replacements: Bryan Byrne, Peter Dooley, Vakh Abdaladze, Ross Molony, Peadar Timmins, Nick McCarthy, Ciarán Frawley, Gavin Mullin

Zebre: Matteo Minozzi, Gabriele Di Giulio, Giulio Bisegni, Faialaga Afamasaga, Mattia Bellini, Carlo Canna, Marcello Violi, David Sisi, Jacopo Sarto, Valerio Bernabò, George Biagi (C), Leonard Krumov, Dario Chistolini, Oliviero Fabiani, Andrea Lovotti

Replacements: Roberto Tenga, Andrea De Marchi, Cruze Ah-Nau, Eduardo Bello, Luhandre Luus, Guglielmo Palazzani, Serafin Bordoli, Giovanbattista Venditti

Referee: Ian Davies (WRU)

AR1: Dan Jones (WRU) AR2: Simon Rees (WRU)

TMO: Jon Mason (WRU)

TV: TG4

Guinness PRO14 Final 2018 Ticket Information: Prices start at just €35 at www.ticketmaster.ie with tickets available to suit every experience.
To book hospitality visit: https://www.pro14rugby.org/hospitality
For Travel packages visit: https://www.pro14rugby.org/travel-packages
For Fanzone & Dublin 7s visithttp://www.dublin7sfestival.ie

Historical Lineup Pre Opta (sfms data) - Preview - v2

Match Page 2017-18 - Lineups WP: 135

Match Page 2017-18 - Match Data WP: 140

Match Page 2017-18 - Timeline WP:139

Leinster ease to seven-try win over Zebre

Andrew Lawton 7 Apr 2018

Max Deegan scored two tries in an impressive display as Leinster cruised to a bonus-point victory over Zebre at the RDS Arena.

The Conference B leaders never seemed to get out of first or second gear, but secured a maximum five points as they look to secure a crucial home semi-final in the Guinness PRO14 Final Series.

James Lowe and Rory O’Loughlin gave Leinster the lead at half-time before Deegan’s opportunistic first try and well taken second really took the game away from the Italians.

Lowe added a second of his own after good work from Ross Byrne, before substitutes Vakh Abdaladze and Bryan Byrne finished the scoring.

Zebre started the game well, but found Leinster’s defence difficult to break down and the home side took the lead with their first real attack of the game.

Lowe kicked forward, forcing Matteo Minozzi to clear his lines, and from the ensuing lineout Leinster won a penalty.

Lowe took quickly and a couple of phases later, the winger muscled his way over the whitewash, with R Byrne adding the conversion.

Zebre nearly hit back as Leonard Krumov thundered towards the try line, but Jamison Gibson-Park hauled him down and Leinster regrouped.

Zebre put points on the board through a Carlo Canna penalty late in the half only to allow Leinster in minutes later to extend their advantage.

Barry Daly broke through the Zebre defence and streaked in to the opposition 22, where a few phases of quick ball and an excellent offload from hooker James Tracy eventually led to O’Loughlin sliding over in the right corner.

Any Zebre hopes of mounting a second-half comeback were dented 40 seconds after the break as Deegan capitalised on Marcello Violi’s dawdling at the back of a ruck to cross for Leinster’s third score.

The Italian side found themselves bearing down on the Leinster try line once more as Valerio Bernabo charged through, but they failed to make the most of the territory, coming away with another Canna penalty.

Leinster secured the bonus point on the hour mark as another quickly taken penalty undid Zebre.

Deegan’s quick tap set the backs in motion with O’Loughlin crashing over the gain line before the No.8 got himself out on the right flank to finish off the move in style.

Zebre faded after that and Leinster showed their strength in depth as Abdaladze and B Byrne muscled over to make the scoreline very healthy from the home side’s point of view.

Guinness PRO14 Final 2018 Ticket Information: Prices start at just €35 at www.ticketmaster.ie with tickets available to suit every experience.
To book hospitality visit: https://www.pro14rugby.org/hospitality
For Travel packages visit: https://www.pro14rugby.org/travel-packages
For Fanzone & Dublin 7s visithttp://www.dublin7sfestival.ie

Match Page 2017-18 - Summary WP:137

Match Page 2017-18 - Match Data WP: 140

Match Page 2017-18 - Timeline WP:139

Match Page 2017-18 - Lineups WP: 135

Match Page 2017-18 - Performance WP:138