18 May, 11:09
IRFU Chief Executive Philip Browne has issued a statement following confirmation of Ronan O'Gara's decision to retire from playing professional rugby.
The Australian outfit will provide Leinster with a strong test before the province welcome Northampton Saints to Donnybrook a week later in what will be a repeat of of their memorable Heineken Cup final clash.
Friday, August 19: Leinster v Melbourne Rebels, Donnybrook, 7pm
Friday, August 26: Leinster v Northampton Saints, Donnybrook, 7pm
Commenting on the province's pre-season plans, head coach Joe Schmidt said: "These two high profile games, against top class opposition, will be very challenging which is ideal leading into the RaboDirect PRO12 campaign.
"Melbourne are a new franchise with high ambitions who boast a strong array of young and experienced talent.
"We know all about Northampton's many qualities from their performances both in their domestic league and in Europe last year.
"Both sides will provide us with a real test as we look to integrate some of our new signings into the panel ahead of the start of the PRO12."
Leinster have also broken their record for Season Ticket sales for the coming season. The province's Season Ticket offer covers 17 matches in the RaboDirect PRO12, the Heineken Cup and British & Irish Cup, but not the two pre-season friendlies. Sales have already passed the 13,000 mark.
Tickets for the two pre-season friendly matches against Melbourne and Northampton go on sale this Friday at 10am. They are available from www.leinsterrugby.ie and Ticketmaster outlets nationwide.
Adult Stand: €20
Child Stand: €10
Adult Terrace: €10
Child Terrace: €5
* Season Ticket holders will be able to avail of a special offer for each game of four tickets for the price of three