Lion to make first Leinster start

Lions tourist Nathan Hines will make his first start in a Leinster shirt this evening when the European champions travel to Swansea to face the Ospreys. [more]

Lion to make first Leinster start

Lions tourist Nathan Hines will make his first start in a Leinster shirt this evening when the European champions travel to Swansea to face the Ospreys.

Scotland second row Hines made Ian McGeechan’s original 37-man Lions party while plying his trade with French side Perpignan but has since made a high-profile move to Dublin to join up with Brian O’Driscoll and co.

Hines, who cut an impressive figure in Lions colours, came off the bench in Leinster’s win over the Dragons last weekend but tonight’s match at the Liberty Stadium will be the first time he has been named in the starting XV for the Irish province.

But while Hines and fellow 2009 Lion Gordon D’Arcy are certain to see game time against the Ospreys, none of Leinster’s other heavy Lions contingent have been included in their 22-man matchday squad.

Test stars Luke Fitzgerald, Jamie Heaslip, Rob Kearney and O’Driscoll are all yet to feature so far this season as head coach Michael Cheika allows them maximum time to recover from what was a gruelling campaign last time out.

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As well as helping Leinster claim the Heineken Cup crown for the very first time, the quartet were central to Ireland’s first Grand Slam in 61 years and then went on to win Lions Test caps and enhance their reputations on an incredible 10-match tour of the Republic.

With Kearney still absent for Leinster, Fijian international Isa Nacewa deputises at full back, where he will come face-to-face with Lions star Lee Byrne who wears the No15 shirt for the Ospreys.

And Nacewa is expecting a tough battle against an Ospreys 23 packed with big names in the likes of Lions Tommy Bowe, James Hook and Mike Phillips.

"The Ospreys will prove to be a stiff test for us coming after having lost their last game at home to Ulster,” said Nacewa.

”Like us they have a proud record at home and I’m sure that they’ll be determined to get back to winning ways so we’ll need to be focused and wary of them.

"We’ve seen a fair bit of the Ospreys in recent weeks and they’re an extremely talented side. Friday’s game will have a Super 14 feel to it with Jerry Collins, Filo Tiatia and Marty Holah. They’re three top-class performers and I’ve played against them back in New Zealand. It will be a real battle up front to match them, but we know that the Ospreys have a lot of other threats.

"There was a bit of talk about the challenges facing us with three of the first four games being away from home, but we know the confidence that breeds from winning on the road. It helps morale, sets you up for the challenges ahead and, most importantly, it gets you up the Magners League table.

"Friday night will be a tough task for us, but it’s one that we are going to have to meet head on."

Leinster: Isa Nacewa, Shane Horgan, Gordon D’Arcy, Shaun Berne, David Kearney, Jonathan Sexton, Eoin Reddan; Cian Healy, John Fogarty, Stan Wright, Nathan Hines, Malcolm O’Kelly, Kevin McLaughlin, Shane Jennings (captain), Sean O’Brien

Replacements: Bernard Jackman, Mike Ross, Leo Cullen, Devin Toner, Stephen Keogh, Chris Keane, Fergus McFadden, Simon Keogh

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