Leinster launch their bid for a fourth successive Pro14 title against a Dragons team boasting several Wales international signings. Here's the news about tonight's game
Leinster v Dragons live stream: How to watch from anywhere
Just 20 days have passed since Leinster won their third successive Guinness Pro14 title, which barely constitutes a pre-season. The Dubliners get back to business tonight when they welcome the Dragons to the RDS Arena on the opening day of the 2020-21 Pro14 (8.15pm).
Leo Cullen’s men may have lost their previous match – a Champions Cup semi-final against Saracens – but they have been dubbed ‘The Invincibles’ on the back of last season’s unbeaten and truncated league campaign. They won all 17 Pro14 matches, one of which was a 50-15 drubbing of this evening’s opponents.
Since defeating Ulster in the final on 12 September, Leinster have seen two stalwarts depart, Rob Kearney joining Western Force and Fergus McFadden retiring.
Ireland captain Johnny Sexton leads them out tonight and will have former Skerries Community College man Ciarán Frawley alongside him at 12, even though Robbie Henshaw has successfully come through the return-to-play protocols following a head knock against Saracens. Hugo Keenan and Jordan Larmour have swapped positions in the back three.
Up front, Scott Fardy and Rhys Ruddock are among those getting valuable game time, but tighthead Tadhg Furlong remains absent with the international programme approaching. Having recovered from a back problem, he picked up a minor calf injury.
Leinster are pleased to be getting back in the saddle so soon after their setback against Saracens. “There’s nothing worse than being on the back of a defeat at the end of a season and having three months to think about it. It just sits with you and you can’t put it right,” said senior coach Stuart Lancaster.
The Dragons have their own European wounds to lick, thumped 56-17 at Bristol last time out. Recent signings Nick Tompkins, Jamie Roberts and Jonah Holmes all start tonight and there’s a recall for another Wales international in Aaron Jarvis. The prop is one of three changes from the XV at Bristol, with lock Joe Maksymiw and full-back Will Talbot-Davies also named.
The bench includes a former Leinster age-grade prop in Conor Maguire, scrum-half Tavis Knoyle, who is set to make his 100th Pro14 appearance, and one of Wales’ brightest prospects in back-row Taine Basham.
Leon Brown and Jordan Williams miss the game through injury.
“You’re either daunted by going to Leinster or really excited about challenging yourselves. We’ve tried to sit in that second camp,” said Dragons director of rugby Dean Ryan. “There are definitely easier ways to wander into a season, but we’re really excited about trying to be more competitive at that highest level.”
Welsh Rugby conducted a further 324 coronavirus tests this week, taking the total to 2,872. The only isolated positive case was a Dragons Academy player. He is asymptotic and following the Public Health Wales isolation requirements.
The Dragons were initially competitive in last season’s meeting but ultimately got blown away in a second-half downpour. Watch highlights of that round-five match here.
Leinster: Hugo Keenan; Jordan Larmour, Garry Ringrose, Ciarán Frawley, James Lowe; Johnny Sexton (capt), Jamison Gibson-Park; Ed Byrne, Rónan Kelleher, Michael Bent, Scott Fardy, James Ryan, Rhys Ruddock, Josh van der Flier, Jack Conan.
Replacements: 16 Seán Cronin, 17 Cian Healy, 18 Andrew Porter, 19 Ryan Baird, 20 Max Deegan, 21 Luke McGrath, 22 Ross Byrne, 23 Tommy O’Brien.
Dragons: Will Talbot-Davies; Jonah Holmes, Nick Tompkins, Jamie Roberts, Ashton Hewitt; Sam Davies, Rhodri Williams (capt); Brok Harris, Elliot Dee, Aaron Jarvis, Joe Davies, Joe Maksymiw, Aaron Wainwright, Harrison Keddie, Ross Moriarty.
Replacements: 16 Richard Hibbard, 17 Conor Maguire, 18 Lloyd Fairbrother, 19 Matthew Screech, 20 Taine Basham, 21 Tavis Knoyle, 22 Josh Lewis, 23 Adam Warren.
Here’s how to find a reliable live stream for Leinster v Dragons wherever you are…
How to watch Leinster v Dragons from outside your country
If you’re abroad but still want to watch your local Pro14 coverage, like Leinster v Dragons, you can do so by using a VPN – Virtual Private Network.
VPNs allow you to get around any geo-blocking by changing your IP address so you appear in a different location and can watch the same legal Pro14 live stream you would at home.
Our friends at TechRadar have tested hundreds of VPN and recommend ExpressVPN, which is easy to use, has strong security features and allows you to watch on several devices at once, including smart TVs and phones, iPads, tablets, PCs and Macs.
Plus, ExpressVPN comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee. You can try it out for a month for free – perfect timing to watch the end of the Pro14 season – or sign up for an annual plan and get three months free.
Leinster v Dragons live stream: How to watch from the UK
Leinster v Dragons, which kicks off at 8.15pm today, will be shown live on Premier Sports 2 in the UK.
Premier Sports show every Guinness Pro14 match live in the UK. If you have a Sky or Virgin Media contract, you can add Premier Sports to your package from £9.99 a month.
Or subscribe to Premier Player so you can stream matches online from £9.99 a month or £99 for 12 months.
If you’re from the UK but are overseas when there’s a particular match you want to watch, you can get your normal live stream but you’ll need a VPN – see the information above.
Leinster v Dragons live stream: How to watch from Ireland
In Ireland, eir Sport show every Pro14 match live, including Leinster v Dragons (coverage starts from 7.30pm on eir Sport 1). If you sign up for eir broadband you can watch eir Sport for free via the eir TV app and online player.
Find out more about the eir broadband deals here. Or you can sign up for eir TV and broadband packages, which include eir Sport, from €39.98 a month.
If you have Sky TV in Ireland but not eir broadband, you can add eir Sport to your package for €19.99 a month for three months (€29.99 after that) or for €240 for the year – here are the details of the Sky-eir package.
Leinster v Dragons live stream: How to watch from New Zealand
If you want to tune in to Leinster v Dragons from New Zealand, the match kicks off at 7.15am on Sky Sport NZ Select.
It costs $31.99 a month to add Sky Sport to your Sky Starter pack ($25.99).
Leinster v Dragons live stream: How to watch from South Africa
SuperSport came on board as a Pro14 broadcast partner when South African franchises Cheetahs and Kings joined the competition in 2017.
They primarily show matches involving those teams but are also showing Leinster v Dragons kicks off at 9.15pm on SuperSport CSN. Various DStv packages are available that give access to SuperSport, ranging from Access, which has the Blitz and Variety 4 channels, to Premium, which includes all 18 sports channels.
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