Leinster have not played in the RaboDirect PRO12 since back in early January when they won away to provincial rivals Connacht.
As always, this Six Nations window has presented players with opportunities to stake a claim for a regular starting berth.
Leinster Academy players Sam Coghlan Murray and Tadhg Furlong will get a chance in Parma on the left wing and at tighthead prop respectively, while three other Leinster Academy players are named among the replacements.
O'Connor also welcomes back influential forwards Mike McCarthy and Jordi Murphy, who were released from the Ireland camp and are both named in the side.
With Zane Kirchner switched from the right wing to full-back, Darragh Fanning comes in for only his seventh Leinster cap after a number of impressive performances for the province's 'A' team, while the aforementioned Coghlan Murray takes his place on the opposite wing.
Brendan Macken gets a chance to impress in the number 13 jersey with Noel Reid beside him in the centre, while John Cooney and Jimmy Gopperth are selected at half-back, with the latter only two points short of 150 career points for Leinster.
In the pack only flanker Murphy is retained from the side that beat Connacht 16-8 at the Sportsground with Kevin McLaughlin and Shane Jennings also in the back row.
Michael Bent, Aaron Dundon and Furlong pack down in the front row with the experienced duo of captain Leo Cullen and McCarthy behind them.
Sunday's game will be televised live in Italy on Sport Mediaset. It will also be streamed live on www.rte.ie (island of Ireland only).
LEINSTER (v Zebre): Zane Kirchner; Darragh Fanning, Brendan Macken, Noel Reid, Sam Coghlan Murray; Jimmy Gopperth, John Cooney; Michael Bent, Aaron Dundon, Tadhg Furlong, Leo Cullen (capt), Mike McCarthy, Kevin McLaughlin, Shane Jennings, Jordi Murphy.
Replacements: James Tracy, Jack O'Connell, Edward Byrne, Tom Denton, Dominic Ryan, Luke McGrath, Ian Madigan, Darren Hudson.