Ed Byrne in line for first Leinster appearance in 28 months

Having recovered from two knee injuries, he makes the bench for Friday's trip to the Dragons

Leinster, Ed Byrne

Image: ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

After injury decimated their squad last Friday night during their victory over Edinburgh, Leo Cullen has opted to make eight changes for their trip the Dragons on Friday night.

Leinster finished the game at the RDS with 14 men and lost players like Josh van der Flier and Davev Kearney, while Dominic Ryan, Rory O'Loughlin and Noel Reid were also all forced off the pitch with injury.

Joey Carbery suffered cramp in the closing stages and was not risked by the Leinster backroom team.

Fergus McFadden and Rhys Ruddock return to the starting XV, while Ed Byrne is also in line to make his long awaited return after over two years out through injury.

Carbery is included in the squad and starts his first game for Leinster at full back. Promising young talent Adam Byrne starts on the right wing.

He's already crossed nine times in all competitions this season. On the left wing Fergus McFadden returns for his first game of the year and his first since Leinster's clash with Cardiff Blues in October.

Injury has restricted the Kildare man to only two games in total all season. Reid is included in the squad and starts at number 12, alongside Zane Kirchner at 13 in a new centre combination.

Jamison Gibson-Park starts at scrumhalf to pick up cap number 21, while Ross Byrne will line out at number 10.

Peter Dooley again lines up at loose head prop with Richardt Strauss back to captain the side from hooker. Michael Bent starts at tight head for his 80th Leinster cap.

Ross Molony and Mike McCarthy retain their starting positions in the second row. Ruddock returns from a quad injury to start at blind side flanker.

Peadar Timmins will make his first start for Leinster at open side, having made five appearances off the bench to date. Jack Conan will scrum down at number eight.

Ed Byrne is on the bench after recovering from two knee injuries. Byrne hasn't played a competitive senior game for Leinster in nearly 28 months. 

Leinster XV to face the Dragons

15. Joey Carbery (14)
14. Adam Byrne (16)
13. Zane Kirchner (80)
12. Noel Reid (76)
11. Fergus McFadden (144)
10. Ross Byrne (16)
9. Jamison Gibson-Park (20)
1. Peter Dooley (31)
2. Richardt Strauss (139) (C)
3. Michael Bent (79)
4. Ross Molony (36)
5. Mike McCarthy (73)
6. Rhys Ruddock (123)
7. Peadar Timmins (5)
8. Jack Conan (44)

Replacements

16. James Tracy (34)
17. Ed Byrne (5)
18. Mike Ross (146)
19. Hayden Triggs (23)
20. Max Deegan (1)
21. Luke McGrath (67)
22. Cathal Marsh (17)
23. Barry Daly (7)