Leinster head coach Leo Cullen has named his team to face Cardiff Blues in the GUINNESS PRO12 at BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park on Saturday (kick-off 3pm).
There are eight changes to the side that accounted for Zebre last Friday with three in the backs and five in the pack, including a return for some Ireland internationals from Six Nations duty and a debut for one of last summer’s signings.
Zane Kirchner continues at full-back with Fergus McFadden coming into the starting line-up having played for Ireland against France last weekend. Isa Nacewa captains the province from the left wing, while Ben Te’o and Garry Ringrose continue their centre partnership.
There is a new half-back pairing with Eoin Reddan and Ian Madigan starting together. It will be Madigan’s 140th appearance for the province, with 788 points to his name to date.
Cian Healy is the only player retained in the front row with fellow internationals Sean Cronin and Tadhg Furlong starting alongside him this week.
There is one significant change to the second row with Clontarf native Mick Kearney making his debut for Leinster having signed last summer. Unfortunately, a toe injury kept him out of action until the start of the season but a relapse in his first game back with Clontarf resulted in a further lengthy spell on the sidelines. The lock, who has 68 Connacht caps to his name already, will be partnered by Hayden Triggs.
Rhys Ruddock slots in at blindside flanker, with Jordi Murphy moving from the number 8 shirt onto the openside. That means a welcome return from injury for Jack Conan who has been out with an ankle injury for over three months. He last played against Wasps in the Champions Cup in November.
LEINSTER (v Cardiff Blues): Zane Kirchner; Fergus McFadden, Garry Ringrose, Ben Te’o, Isa Nacewa (capt); Ian Madigan, Eoin Reddan; Cian Healy, Sean Cronin, Tadhg Furlong, Mick Kearney, Hayden Triggs, Rhys Ruddock, Jordi Murphy, Jack Conan.
Replacements: Richardt Strauss, Peter Dooley, Mike Ross, Tom Denton, Dan Leavy, Nick McCarthy, Noel Reid, Adam Byrne.