The Leinster team to face Ulster in the first of two upcoming RaboDirect PRO12 derby matches has been announced.
With all tickets sold out and a fantastic atmosphere expected, head coach Matt O’Connor has retained nine of last weekend’s starting line-up for the visit of Ulster to the RDS on Saturday (kick-off 6.45pm).
Back in from their pre-Christmas training camp with the Ireland squad come Dave Kearney, Mike McCarthy and Sean O’Brien, while Jimmy Gopperth replaces Ian Madigan at out-half.
Brendan Macken is promoted from the bench to take his place in the centre beside Noel Reid who retains his place at number 12, while Rhys Ruddock replaces Kevin McLaughlin.
Zane Kirchner continues at full back, with Luke Fitzgerald and Isaac Boss also retained on the left wing and at scrum half respectively.
There are no changes in the front row with Michael Bent, Aaron Dundon and Martin Moore once again selected. Leo Cullen captains the side from the second row with McCarthy partnering him.
Finally, Jordi Murphy is again named at number 8 with Ruddock and O’Brien completing the back row.
Tullow man O’Brien makes a welcome return from injury and comes in for only his second RaboDirect PRO12 appearance of the season.
LEINSTER (v Ulster): Zane Kirchner; Dave Kearney, Brendan Macken, Noel Reid, Luke Fitzgerald; Jimmy Gopperth, Isaac Boss; Michael Bent, Aaron Dundon, Martin Moore, Leo Cullen (capt), Mike McCarthy, Rhys Ruddock, Sean O’Brien, Jordi Murphy.
Replacements: James Tracy, Mike Ross, Jack O’Connell, Tom Denton, Dominic Ryan, Luke McGrath, Ian Madigan, Darragh Fanning.