The Leinster team to face Aironi in Thursday night’s Magners League clash at the RDS (kick-off 7.05pm) has been named.
The Six Nations provides the Leinster management with an opportunity to freshen things up for the visit of the Italians.
Ireland flanker Rhys Ruddock leads the team for the first time in a back row which includes Dominic Ryan and Stephen Keogh.
Ruddock captained the Ireland Under-20s to the Grand Slam last season and made his Ireland senior debut against Australia last summer.
The 20-year-old, who is on a Development contract with Leinster, was named in Ireland’s RBS 6 Nations squad last month.
Ian Madigan will make his 11th appearance for Leinster this season, partnering Paul O’Donohoe at half-back, with Eoin O’Malley, fresh from winning his first two caps with the O2 Ireland Wolfhounds, lining up alongside debutant Brendan Macken at centre.
The 19-year-old Macken was sprung from the bench last Friday to help the Ireland Under-20s see off Italy in their U-20 Six Nations opener.
In the selected Leinster pack, Heinke van der Merwe and Richardt Strauss have been named in the front row, with Kevin McLaughlin lining up at second row alongside fellow Ireland international Devin Toner.
A decision on the final make-up of the replacements bench will be made closer to kick-off on Thursday.
Ticket sales for Thursday’s game have passed the 14,000 mark and are on sale now online from www.leinsterrugby.ie. They are also available from Spar (Donnybrook), the Leinster Rugby Store (Donnybrook) and Ticketmaster outlets nationwide, and can be purchased on the gate on Thursday.
LEINSTER (v Aironi Rugby): Isa Nacewa; Andrew Conway, Brendan Macken, Eoin O’Malley, David Kearney; Ian Madigan, Paul O’Donohoe; Heinke van der Merwe, Richardt Strauss, Clint Newland, Kevin McLaughlin, Devin Toner, Rhys Ruddock (capt), Dominic Ryan, Stephen Keogh.
Replacements: Jason Harris-Wright, Jack McGrath, Simon Shawe, Ed O’Donoghue, Paul Ryan/Shane Jennings, Isaac Boss, Ian McKinley, Niall Morris.