The Leinster team to face Connacht in Saturday’s Magners League derby clash at the Sportsground (kick-off 4pm) has been named.
Ireland trio Girvan Dempsey, Trevor Hogan and Mike Ross come into the Leinster team for the trip to Galway in a side that includes nine Ireland internationals in all in the starting line-up.
Dempsey starts at full-back and Shane Horgan and Isa Nacewa continue on the wings, while Ireland ‘A’ international Fergus McFadden will partner fellow former Clongowes man Gordon D’Arcy in the centre.
Eoin Reddan will continue his half-back partnership with Shaun Berne. In the pack, Nathan Hines has recovered from injury to take his place in the back row alongside Sean O’Brien and Stephen Keogh.
The replacements bench will be confirmed by the Leinster management closer to kick-off.
Speaking ahead of Saturday’s game at the Sportsground, Fergus McFadden said that the squad are determined to maintain their recent good run of form.
“We know what to expect against Connacht because they are formidable opponents at the Sportsground and they have been in impressive form at home and away over the last few weeks,” he said.
“Obviously I would know a few of their players like Fionn (Carr), Jamie (Hagan) and Keats (Ian Keatley) who were involved in the Leinster Academy before, but we’re expecting a really tough game up front first and foremost and we will have to gain dominance there to lay the platform.
“You never get an easy game in interpro derbies and we’re under no illusions as to what kind of a challenge awaits us.
“From our perspective it is vital that we work on the areas that we were poor at last weekend in the win over Ulster.
“There were a few 50-50 passes that were poorly executed from our end, while there were defensive errors that will be punished if we repeat them this week.
“But training has gone well and the focus and intent from the squad has been encouraging. It’s not as if we need major reconstruction, but we do need to tighten up some of our areas and to be more clinical in possession.”
LEINSTER (v Connacht): Girvan Dempsey; Shane Horgan, Fergus McFadden, Gordon D’Arcy, Isa Nacewa; Shaun Berne, Eoin Reddan; Stan Wright, Bernard Jackman, Mike Ross, Leo Cullen (capt), Trevor Hogan, Nathan Hines, Sean O’Brien, Stephen Keogh.
Replacements (from): Richardt Strauss, Ronan McCormack, Devin Toner, Kevin McLaughlin, Paul Ryan, Paul O’Donohoe, Simon Keogh, David Kearney.