The Leinster team to face London Irish in Saturday’s Heineken Cup Pool 6 clash at Twickenham (kick-off 6pm) has been named.
Leo Cullen leads the Leinster team for the concluding Pool 6 encounter and the Newtownmountkennedy man will make his 50th Leinster appearance in the Heineken Cup on Saturday.
In all there are two changes to the side that defeated Brive 27-10 last weekend, with hooker Bernard Jackman coming into the front row along with South African prop CJ van der Linde. Cian Healy completes the front row unit.
Eoin Reddan will again partner Jonathan Sexton at half-back, with Gordon D’Arcy lining up alongside Brian O’Driscoll at centre. Sean O’Brien is one of four Ireland internationals on the replacements bench.
Meanwhile, in excess of 7,500 Leinster supporters are set to descend on London this weekend.
Speaking ahead of the crucial clash with Irish, Leinster consultant coach Alan Gaffney said: “This weekend we’re going out to be positive, irrespective of what (London) Irish do.
“We can’t sit back on our heels and think, ‘we’ve gotta deny Irish scoring four tries’, or ‘we need to get the losing bonus point’, and then proceed on our merry way into the quarter-finals. That’s not the way we look at it.
“We’ll go out to play rugby. I think Irish will probably do the same, but which way are Irish going to look at it?
“Will they be trying to win the game and hopefully go through as the best second-placed team, or go out to try and get the five points and win the pool?
“I suppose that both things will be on their minds, but they will see how the first part goes. I don’t think anyone can put the cart before the horse.
“If you look back at in days gone past where similar things happened in games in terms of qualification, to my way of thinking, you can’t look at the four tries. You look at the performance, go out and play and as things develop, they develop.
“We’re looking at what we do, rather than what they do to be honest.
“They’re a side who have got great counter-attacking abilities. If you give their back-three a lot of space and time, you’re going to create problems for yourself.
“Obviously they’re a great side who have an innate ability to take intercepts and run huge distances and score tries.
“You can’t become loose and try to play sevens rugby against them. It doesn’t mean you can’t attack them, but we will play a controlled game, which will be very positive.
“Both sides want to win and we definitely want to win for obvious reasons. Not intending to be said in a nasty way, but we owe them one.
“The boys were disappointed about what happened at the RDS, and we’re not taking anything away from Irish who deserved to win that night (in October). To be truthful, the boys would like to turn that around.”
LEINSTER (v London Irish): Rob Kearney; Shane Horgan, Brian O’Driscoll, Gordon D’Arcy, Isa Nacewa; Jonathan Sexton, Eoin Reddan; Cian Healy, Bernard Jackman, CJ van der Linde, Leo Cullen (capt), Nathan Hines, Kevin McLaughlin, Shane Jennings, Jamie Heaslip.
Replacements: John Fogarty, Mike Ross, Stan Wright, Malcolm O’Kelly, Sean O’Brien, Paul O’Donohoe, Shaun Berne, Girvan Dempsey.