Following this morning’s training session in UCD, Leinster head coach Matt O’Connor has announced the team for Sunday’s Guinness PRO12 game against the Newport Gwent Dragons at Rodney Parade (kick-off 4.15pm).
Fergus McFadden has not passed the return-to-play protocols and will not be involved this weekend. His place on the right wing is taken by Dave Kearney.
Kearney, a try scorer against the Dragons earlier in the season, and Zane Kirchner, who replaces Kearney’s older brother Rob at full-back, form the back-three along with Darragh Fanning.
In the centre Gordon D’Arcy will make his 258th appearance for the province alongside Ben Te’o, while Eoin Reddan starts at scrum half alongside Jimmy Gopperth.
Jack McGrath, hooker Richardt Strauss and Martin Moore start in the front row having come off the bench against Bath last weekend. Ben Marshall (pictured above) comes in for his second start of the campaign with Kane Douglas once again missing out through injury. Mike McCarthy is Marshall’s second row partner.
In the back row, Shane Jennings will captain the side from openside flanker, with Dominic Ryan selected at blindside and Jack Conan at number 8. Should he come on at Rodney Parade, prop Michael Bent will win his 50th cap for Leinster.
LEINSTER (v Newport Gwent Dragons): Zane Kirchner; Dave Kearney, Ben Te’o, Gordon D’Arcy, Darragh Fanning; Jimmy Gopperth, Eoin Reddan; Jack McGrath, Richardt Strauss, Martin Moore, Ben Marshall, Mike McCarthy, Dominic Ryan, Shane Jennings (capt), Jack Conan.
Replacements: Aaron Dundon, Michael Bent, Tadhg Furlong, Ross Molony, Jordi Murphy, Luke McGrath, Noel Reid, Luke Fitzgerald.