The Leinster team to face Connacht in Friday’s GUINNESS PRO12 derby match in Galway has been announced – Fergus McFadden comes in to replace the injured Zane Kirchner and Rhys Ruddock will start his first game of the season.
Rhys Ruddock is set to wear the number six jersey, with Dominic Ryan making a positional switch to openside flanker.
Shane Jennings will start among the replacements and is just two games away from his 200th Leinster appearance. Last Saturday’s man-of-the-match, Jamie Heaslip, completes the back row and will captain Leinster.
The rest of the front eight are retained from the bonus point win over the Scarlets. Devin Toner and Mike McCarthy start in the second row behind the front row trio of Jack McGrath, hooker Sean Cronin and Mike Ross.
Rob Kearney and Darragh Fanning feature in the back-three for the second successive match, with McFadden coming in to replace Zane Kirchner who will be out for two to three weeks with a hamstring injury.
There are no changes in midfield or at half-back. Ian Madigan starts at inside centre with Brendan Macken alongside him, while Jimmy Gopperth and Isaac Boss are the province’s starting half-back pairing once again.
Meanwhile, Ireland centre Gordon D’Arcy is named in a Leinster matchday squad for the first time this season, starting from the bench.
LEINSTER (v Connacht): Rob Kearney; Fergus McFadden, Brendan Macken, Ian Madigan, Darragh Fanning; Jimmy Gopperth, Isaac Boss; Jack McGrath, Sean Cronin, Mike Ross, Devin Toner, Mike McCarthy, Rhys Ruddock, Dominic Ryan, Jamie Heaslip (capt).
Replacements: Bryan Byrne, Cian Healy, Tadhg Furlong, Tom Denton, Shane Jennings, Eoin Reddan, Gordon D’Arcy, Mick McGrath.