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Leo Cullen keen to see Harry Byrne in "big game" with Connacht

Leinster head coach Leo Cullen has attempted light a fire under Harry Byrne ahead of Friday night...



Leinster head coach Leo Cullen has attempted light a fire under Harry Byrne ahead of Friday night's game with Connacht. 

Harry replaces brother Ross at out-half in one of ten changes Cullen's made to the side beaten last week by Ulster at the RDS.

Adding to the air of competition, he'll come up against fellow Ireland hopeful Jack Carty.

“They have different styles in terms of any of the 10's we have," Cullen said of the Byrnes, "Especially from an attacking point of view, getting your timing off the 10's is very important for the forwards and the outside backs.

“Ross has played a ton of games for the team - a very important player for us.

"Harry has played a hell of a lot less, younger player.

"We’re keen to see Harry in a big game, and this is a big game for us. I hope he goes well.

"I thought Ross did a good job last week so when he was good the competition is good, like we talked about in the past."

Cullen's also boosted by returning internationals James Lowe, Garry Ringrose and Caelan Doris.

His opposite number Andy Friend has only made three changes to the team that steamrollered Ospreys at the Sportsground last week.

Peter Robb replaces Oran McNulty at full-back, while Oisín Dowling and Eoghan Masterson come into the pack. Tom Farrell and Cian Prendergast return from injury to take their places among the replacements.

Friend said, “Last week was pleasing not just to pick up 5 points but to continue our recent level of performances, even with a substantial break in the middle.

"The challenge for all of us now is to raise our game even more, away to one of the best sides in Europe.

We’ll take confidence from our win at the RDS last January, and our travelling supporters will be a big help as always. This game will tell a lot about where we are right now so we’re really looking forward to it.”

Leinster
15. Hugo Keenan; 14. Jordan Larmour, 13. Garry Ringrose, 12. Robbie Henshaw, 11. James Lowe; 10. Harry Byrne, 9. Luke McGrath

1. Cian Healy, 2. Dan Sheehan, 3. Michael Alaalatoa; 4. Ryan Baird, 5. Devin Toner; 6. Rhys Ruddock, 7. Josh van der Flier, 8. Caelan Doris

Replacements: 
16. Rónan Kelleher, 17. Andrew Porter, 18. Vakh Abdaladze, 19. Josh Murphy, 20. Max Deegan, 21. Nick McCarthy, 22. Ross Byrne, 23. Tommy O’Brien

Connacht 
15. Oran McNulty; 14. Alex Wootton, 13. Sammy Arnold, 12. Peter Robb, 11. Mack Hansen; 10. Jack Carty (C), 9. Kieran Marmion

1. Matthew Burke, 2. Dave Heffernan, 3. Finlay Bealham; 4. Oisín Dowling, 5. Ultan Dillane; 6. Eoghan Masterson, 7. Conor Oliver, 8. Jarrad Butler

Replacements
16. Shane Delahunt, 17. Jordan Duggan, 18. Jack Aungier, 19. Leva Fifita, 20. Cian Prendergast, 21. Caolin Blade, 22. Conor Fitzgerald, 23. Tom Farrell

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Bundee Aki Connacht Garry Ringrose Harry Byrne James Lowe Leinster Leo Cullen United Rugby Championship