leinster fansThe Leinster team to face the Melbourne Rebels in Friday night’s opening fixture of the Bank of Ireland Series in Donnybrook (KO: 7pm) has been named.

New Zealand out-half Mat Berquist (*note there is one ‘t’ in Mat’s first name) makes his first appearance for Leinster since his summer arrival from the Canterbury Crusaders and he will partner recent Academy graduate John Cooney at half back in a backline which also includes Kildare’s Fionn Carr who starts on the wing.

Rhys Ruddock captains the side and joins Dominic Ryan and Leo Auva’a in the back row.

Meanwhile, following his summer return to his home province, Balbriggan native and former Leinster Youths prop Jamie Hagan lines up alongside Richardt Strauss and Heinke van der Merwe in the front row. First cousins Mark Flanagan and Devin Toner start in the second row for the first time.

Tickets will be available on the gate from €10 (adult) and €5 (child), while stand tickets cost €20. Tickets are also available from www.leinsterrugby.ie, the Leinster Rugby Store (Donnybrook), Spar (Donnybrook) and from Ticketmaster outlets nationwide.

LEINSTER:

15: Ian Madigan

14: Darren Hudson

13: Brendan Macken

12: Eamonn Sheridan

11: Fionn Carr

10: Mat Berquist

9: John Cooney

1: Heinke van der Merwe

2: Richardt Strauss

3: Jamie Hagan

4: Mark Flanagan

5: Devin Toner

6: Rhys Ruddock CAPTAIN

7: Dominic Ryan

8: Leo Auva’a

REPLACEMENTS:

16: Aaron Dundon

17: Jack McGrath

18: Jack O’Connell

19: Steven Sykes

20: David Gannon

21: Cillian Willis

22: Colm O’Shea

23: Andrew Conway

24: Jason Harris-Wright

25: Ciaran Ruddock

26: Ben Marshall

27: Andrew Boyle

REFEREE: David Wilkinson (IRFU), ASSISTANT REFEREES: Michael Black (IRFU), Mark Patton (IRFU), 4th OFFICIAL: Ed Kenny (Leinster Rugby Referees), 5th OFFICIAL: Dan Wallace (Leinster Rugby Referees)