The Ireland-capped Malcolm O’Kelly, Luke Fitzgerald and Shane Horgan have been included in the Leinster panel for Friday’s Magners League trip to the Sportsground to face Connacht (kick-off 7.30pm).
The Magners League table-toppers have been boosted by the inclusion of O’Kelly, Fitzgerald and Horgan, with the latter having come on for the final minutes of Ireland’s Six Nations win over Scotland.
Experienced second row O’Kelly’s return in particular is timely given Leo Cullen’s shoulder injury which rules him out of contention for this week’s game.
Flanker Shane Jennings has returned to training and is in the running for selection as are the likes of Kevin McLaughlin and Cameron Jowitt, who both impressed in the province’s 24-17 victory over Cardiff Blues ten days ago.
There are also squad places for the trip west for the likes of Bank of Ireland Player of the Month Keith Gleeson and his fellow international Trevor Hogan who made his comeback from a four-month lay-off in the Cardiff win.
Academy backs Fionn Carr, Felix Jones and Eoin O’Malley are included in the provisional squad, while former Connacht players Chris Keane, Stephen Knoop and Ronan McCormack have also been given the nod by coach Michael Cheika.
Meanwhile, with Brian O’Driscoll and Cullen absent, former Australia scrum half Chris Whitaker looks set to captain Leinster in Galway.
LEINSTER Squad (v Connacht): Forwards (13) – Cian Healy, Ronan McCormack, Brian Blaney, Ollie Le Roux, Stephen Knoop, Stan Wright, Trevor Hogan, Malcolm O’Kelly, Cameron Jowitt, Stephen Keogh, Keith Gleeson, Shane Jennings, Kevin McLaughlin.
Backs (11) – Chris Keane, Chris Whitaker (capt), Felipe Contepomi, Gary Brown, Felix Jones, Christian Warner, Michael Berne, Eoin O’Malley, Fionn Carr, Shane Horgan, Luke Fitzgerald.