12 Dec, 14:42
Prop Cian Healy is expected to miss the start of the 2014 RBS 6 Nations after undergoing surgery on his injured ankle on Wednesday.
For their part Newport Rugby will be seeking back-to-back away wins in the Heineken Cup, and only their third triumph in 15 competitive outings away from home in Europe, when they travel to Donnybrook, for Friday's game.
In their debut season in the Heineken Cup last winter Newport lost 26-18 against Munster in Limerick, 43-21 in Castres and 38-10 in Bath, before breaking their duck in Newcastle last month. In four seasons in the European Shield, Newport managed only one away victory in 11 games, against Montpellier in 1998, 28-14.
The game against Leinster will be the first of three against the Irishmen in the space of five weeks. After the back-to-back Heineken Cup ties - tickets for the return game at Rodney Parade on Friday, 2 November (Kick-off 7.05 pm) are available from the Newport Ticket Office on 01633 670690 - the two teams are set to meet again in the Celtic League quarter-finals. Leinster provided eight players to the Irish side that beat England at Lansdowne Road last weekend, including six of the starting line-up.
Newport coach Ian McIntosh has named a squad of 25 players for the trip to Dublin. "We have a few injury worries to sort out and that is why we have delayed naming our side," explained Newport Rugby team manager Jim McCreedy.
"Paul Young has a slight neck injury from the game against Swansea and Jason Forster picked up a groin injury in the same game. Joe Powell is still recovering from an injury sustained before the Swansea game, although we are hopeful that all will be available to us.
"We know that Leinster are unbeaten this season and have a fine record in the Heineken Cup at Donnybrook. We have won five games in a row and we will be travelling to Dublin with the same determination in mind, and concentration on our own plans, as we did to Newcastle in the first round of the Heineken Cup."
Leinster's formidable home record is there for all to see. The last team to beat them at Donnybrook in the Heineken Cup was Llanelli, 34-27, in 1999, while since then they have been unbeaten in eight games. Their overall record at home in the Heineken Cup reads: P18 W12 D1 L5; at Donnybrook the record is: P16 W11 D1 L4. Two of their games in the inaugural season were played at Lansdowne Road, including their semi-final defeat to Cardiff.
To date this season, Leinster have won all nine games - seven in the Celtic League and 2 in the Heineken Cup - and they are averaging five tries per game in the Celtic League and four per game in the Heineken Cup. They will also be defending a record of 15 games without defeat in all competitions at Donnybrook.
Newport Rugby Squad: Matt Pini, Emyr Lewis, Matt Mostyn, Matthew Watkins, Ben Breeze, Nathan Brew, Andy Marinos, Jon Pritchard, Shane Howarth, Jason Strange, Ofisa Tonu'u, Dale Burn. Ceri Jones, Rod Snow, Chris Anthony, Adrian Garvey, James Richards, Paul Young, Simon Raiwalui, Ian Gough, Mike Voyle, Peter Buxton, Jason Forster, Gareth Gravell, Andrew Powell, Joe Powell.
Leinster. Girvan Dmpsey; Denis Hickie, Brian O'Driscoll, Shane Horgan, Gordon D'Arcy; Nathan Spooner, Brian O'Meara; Reg Corrigan (Capt), Shane Byrne, Emmett Byrne; Leo Cullen, Malcolm O'Kelly; Eric Miller, Keith Gleeson, Victor Costello.
Replacements. Peter Coyle, Gavin Hickie, Bob Casey, Trevor Brennan, Ben Willis, Andy Dunne, Adam Magro.