The Leinster team to face Munster in Saturday’s Heineken Cup semi-final at Croke Park (kick-off 5.30pm) has been named.
Leo Cullen is one of two changes from the side that started last weekend’s 36-13 victory over Glasgow and the Leinster skipper will partner his Ireland colleague Malcolm O’Kelly in the province’s second row.
Shane Horgan, a try scorer against Glasgow, will start on the right wing with Isa Nacewa moving to full-back in place of Girvan Dempsey who suffered a knock in training during the week which limited his training.
But Dempsey has recovered sufficiently to take his place on the bench. Simon Keogh has also recovered from injury and is named amongst the replacements.
Brian O’Driscoll lines up at centre alongside Gordon D’Arcy, while Australian international Rocky Elsom starts in the back row alongside Ireland duo Shane Jennings and Jamie Heaslip.
Looking forward to locking horns with Munster for the second time in the space of a month, Leinster coach Michael Cheika said: “I think that because of the prize that’s at stake, a berth in the Heineken Cup final that makes the game so big.
“As defending champions Munster probably see it as their place to be. And as I said before, we’ve had to fight really hard to make it here.
“They have been pretty untouchable so far this year, haven’t they? They have been quite commanding in the pool stages and have won the league now.
“And we understand that not many people expect us to beat them. But it’s all about us believing in ourselves I suppose, and our supporters, and making sure we do our best on the day.
“We’re still pushing in the league to get a top-three finish there, which is where we have finished for the last three years.
“But there’s no connection. This is about plotting the tournament out to win the semi-final and to get to the final.”
LEINSTER (v Munster): Isa Nacewa; Shane Horgan, Brian O’Driscoll, Gordon D’Arcy, Luke Fitzgerald; Felipe Contepomi, Chris Whitaker; Cian Healy, Bernard Jackman, Stan Wright, Leo Cullen (capt), Malcolm O’Kelly, Rocky Elsom, Shane Jennings, Jamie Heaslip.
Replacements: John Fogarty, Ronan McCormack, Devin Toner, Sean O’Brien, Simon Keogh, Jonathan Sexton, Girvan Dempsey.