The Leinster squad trained at UCD on Monday afternoon ahead of the visit of the Newport Gwent Dragons for Friday’s Magners League clash at the RDS (kick-off 7.05pm).
Shaun Berne, a second half replacement in Leinster’s 19-18 victory over Edinburgh a fortnight ago, successfully stepped up his rehabilitation with an outing in Old Belvedere’s All-Ireland League Division 1A triumph over Shannon at the weekend.
The former Australia ‘A’ back is available for selection along with Isaac Boss, following his involvement in Ireland’s win over Samoa last Saturday.
Although there are 14 Leinster players away on international duty this week (12 with Ireland, Scotland’s Nathan Hines and Argentina’s Mariano Galarza), the province’s head coach Joe Schmidt can still call on the services this week of experienced Ireland internationals Leo Cullen, Shane Horgan and Shane Jennings.
Lock Ed O’Donoghue is also in the frame after recovering from a knee injury, while Isa Nacewa, Richardt Strauss and Heinke van der Merwe join recent signing Clint Newland in the panel alongside Rhys Ruddock and Andrew Conway, who was a try scorer in the win over Edinburgh.
The Leinster team and replacements will be announced on Thursday afternoon.
With Leinster ‘A’ also in action against Ulster Ravens at Donnybrook on Saturday (kick-off 1pm), there will be opportunities for the extended squad to impress in both games this week.
Over 14,500 tickets have now been sold for Friday’s match against the Dragons and tickets are still available to purchase online and from Spar (Donnybrook), the Leinster Rugby Store (Donnybrook) and Ticketmaster outlets nationwide.
Meanwhile, over 31,000 tickets have now been sold for ‘Fever in the Aviva’, Leinster’s Heineken Cup clash with Clermont Auvergne at the Aviva Stadium on Sunday, December 18. Tickets are on sale here.