Leinster’s first match in the new European Champions Cup takes place this Sunday at the RDS (kick-off 5.15pm) against Wasps, and head Matt O’Connor has named his 23-man squad for the game.
There are five changes to the pack that started against Zebre in the GUINNESS PRO12 last weekend. Captain Jamie Heaslip starts in the back row and will be flanked by Rhys Ruddock and Dominic Ryan.
Openside flanker Ryan returns after being rested against Zebre and will make his sixth start of the season – and his first in Europe since the 2010/11 campaign.
Devin Toner comes in to start in the second row alongside Mike McCarthy, taking over from Kane Douglas who is listed among the replacements.
Sean Cronin starts in the front row in place of Richardt Strauss, while Michael Bent comes in for the injured Martin Moore (shoulder) to make his first European start. Jack McGrath will line out at loosehead prop.
Mike Ross is unavailable for selection after picking up a minor groin injury during the week. With front row resources stretched, the Leinster management felt it prudent not to risk him for this weekend.
At full-back Ian Madigan starts in place of Rob Kearney, who picked up a knock in the first half of the recent win over Cardiff Blues and has had issues since, including back spasms in the warm-up before the Munster match.
Despite coming through the 80 minutes last weekend against Zebre, the issue flared up again during the week and the experienced full-back is unavailable for selection.
Zane Kirchner and Darragh Fanning are retained in the back-three from the Zebre game, with the latter making his European debut.
Leinster’s midfield partnership remains the same, with European newcomer Noel Reid and Gordon D’Arcy starting at inside and outside centre respectively. Eoin Reddan and Jimmy Gopperth make up the province’s half-back pairing.
On the bench there is a notable return for Luke Fitzgerald, who could feature for Leinster for the first time since playing the full 80 minutes in last March’s win over Munster at the Aviva Stadium.
Tickets are still available for Leinster v Wasps. Click here to purchase your tickets from Ticketmaster.
Tickets can also be purchased from the RDS box office from 1pm on Sunday afternoon.
LEINSTER (v Wasps): Ian Madigan; Zane Kirchner, Gordon D’Arcy, Noel Reid, Darragh Fanning; Jimmy Gopperth, Eoin Reddan; Jack McGrath, Sean Cronin, Michael Bent, Devin Toner, Mike McCarthy, Rhys Ruddock, Dominic Ryan, Jamie Heaslip (capt).
Replacements: Richardt Strauss, Ed Byrne, Tadhg Furlong, Kane Douglas, Jack Conan, Isaac Boss, Mick McGrath, Luke Fitzgerald.