After today’s Captain’s Run, Leinster head coach Matt O’Connor has named his team to face Ulster in Friday’s GUINNESS PRO12 showdown at Kingspan Stadium (kick-off 7.35pm).
The game marks a milestone in the career of Jamie Heaslip as he makes his 200th appearance for the province, having made his debut against the Ospreys back in March 2005.
The Dublin University number 8 becomes only the fifth player to have reached the double century of caps with Gordon D’Arcy out in front on 259 caps. Since his debut, Heaslip has incredibly started 191 of those games, scoring 35 tries. His provincial form has seen him capped 72 times for Ireland, winning the Grand Slam in 2009 and RBS 6 Nations titles in both 2014 and 2015.
In total, there are four changes to the Leinster team that played against Toulon in last Sunday afternoon’s European Champions Cup semi-final in Marseille.
Fergus McFadden has been ruled out for the rest of the season with a thumb injury and had a successful operation yesterday morning. As a result, his place on the right wing is taken by Zane Kirchner who also replaced him last Sunday.
The rest of the back-three is unchanged with Luke Fitzgerald on the left wing and Rob Kearney at full-back. D’Arcy and Ben Te’o form the centre pairing once again with Isaac Boss and Jimmy Gopperth combining at half-back.
In the pack Richardt Strauss comes in at hooker, with Cian Healy selected at loosehead prop and Mike Ross at tighthead. The second row partnership of Devin Toner and Mike McCarthy is retained. Dominic Ryan comes into the side at blindside flanker with Sean O’Brien at openside and Heaslip leading the side from the base of the scrum.
Head coach Matt O’Connor unfortunately revealed this morning that a shoulder scan for Martin Moore has confirmed that the Ireland prop will need surgery. A keyhole procedure will take place next Monday morning for a labral repair to Moore’s left shoulder which will keep him sidelined for 12 weeks.
O’Connor added that Dave Kearney has a hip flexor strain and is ruled out of selection this weekend. However, the winger should be back in the mix for the visit of Benetton Treviso to the RDS on May 8.
LEINSTER (v Ulster): Rob Kearney; Zane Kirchner, Ben Te’o, Gordon D’Arcy, Luke Fitzgerald; Jimmy Gopperth, Isaac Boss; Cian Healy, Richardt Strauss, Mike Ross, Devin Toner, Mike McCarthy, Dominic Ryan, Sean O’Brien, Jamie Heaslip (capt).
Replacements: Sean Cronin, Jack McGrath, Tadhg Furlong, Ben Marshall, Jordi Murphy, Eoin Reddan, Ian Madigan, Darragh Fanning.