The Leinster team to face Benetton Treviso in Sunday afternoon’s RaboDirect PRO12 match at the Stadio di Monigo (kick-off 3pm local time/2pm Irish time) has been named.
Jimmy Gopperth will line up alongside John Cooney at half-back with Emerging Ireland scrum half Cooney set to make his 25th appearance in Leinster colours.
Noel Reid partners Brendan Macken in the centre, with the experience of Australian international Lote Tuqiri joining St. Mary’s College duo Darragh Fanning and Darren Hudson in the back-three.
Up front, Ireland prop Michael Bent starts in a front row which includes Aaron Dundon – a try scorer in the province’s 23-19 victory away to the Dragons last time out – and Martin Moore who makes his 15th appearance for Leinster.
Tom Denton partners Quinn Roux in the second row with Rhys Ruddock, who captains the side in Shane Jennings’ absence, joining Dominic Ryan and number 8 Leo Auva’a in the back row. Jennings is the 24th man for Ireland’s clash with New Zealand.
Ireland scrum half Eoin Reddan is named on a young replacements bench which includes seven products of the province’s Academy.
Speaking ahead of the trip to Italy, Cooney said: “We only won (over in Treviso) last year with a drop goal on the last play from Johnny (Sexton). Munster lost away there. It’s a pretty tough fixture. They’re always good at home. I think it will be a difficult game this week.
“I was happy to get the 80 minutes against the Dragons recently. Some things just through match practice I can pick up on and improve.
“There were just a few things towards the end where I could have been a bit smarter. But through game-time and matches you’re going to pick up on that, you’re going to learn these small things. It’s good to get a look-in.
“With Isaac (Boss) and Eoin, they’re both obviously very well qualified – they’ve been playing for so many years. In kicking and passing practice with them they’d always be giving me pointers.
“Even just watching them in training, the pace they put on the ball and some of the physicality they bring as well, these are all things I love to watch and try and pick up and bring into my game as well.”
LEINSTER (v Benetton Treviso): Darren Hudson; Lote Tuqiri, Brendan Macken, Noel Reid, Darragh Fanning; Jimmy Gopperth, John Cooney; Michael Bent, Aaron Dundon, Martin Moore, Tom Denton, Quinn Roux, Rhys Ruddock (capt), Dominic Ryan, Leo Auva’a.
Replacements: James Tracy, Jack O’Connell, Tadhg Furlong, Ben Marshall, Jordi Murphy, Eoin Reddan, Cathal Marsh, Collie O’Shea.