Leinster head coach Leo Cullen has announced his team to take on Ulster in Saturday’s GUINNESS PRO14 derby match at Kingspan Stadium (kick-off 6.30pm).
The Leinster management are able to recall a number of players back from injury, including British & Irish Lions Rob Kearney and Sean O’Brien, for the much-anticipated round 7 clash which is sold out.
The fit-again Kearney slots back in at full-back with Adam Byrne, one of four uncapped players named in Ireland’s GUINNESS Series squad, on the right wing and Dave Kearney on the left.
There is also a return from injury for Rory O’Loughlin who joins fellow St. Michael’s College past pupil Noel Reid in the centre. Jamison Gibson-Park and Ross Byrne start as the half-back pairing for the trip to the Kingspan.
Up front, Jack McGrath and Tadhg Furlong start at loosehead and tighthead prop respectively, while fellow international James Tracy wins his 50th Leinster cap at hooker. Devin Toner is joined in the second row by recent Champions Cup debutant James Ryan.
In the back row, Dan Leavy starts his first game back from injury after impressing off the bench last week in Glasgow, while Jordi Murphy also comes back into the starting XV at openside flanker. O’Brien, who has shaken off a calf injury, will captain Leinster from the base of the scrum.
On the bench, having played 40 minutes two weeks ago with the Leinster ‘A’ team, Richardt Strauss gets his first senior involvement of the season having recovered from a knee injury.
Leo Cullen also gave an injury update on some players who are not involved this weekend. Both Barry Daly and Josh van der Flier had procedures this week after both suffered syndesmosis injuries against Glasgow Warriors in the Champions Cup.
Robbie Henshaw and Jonathan Sexton, who played big roles in Leinster’s strong start to their European campaign, were both not considered for selection due to knocks taken in training during the week. However, neither player is a long-term injury concern.
LEINSTER (v Ulster): Rob Kearney; Adam Byrne, Rory O’Loughlin, Noel Reid, Dave Kearney; Ross Byrne, Jamison Gibson-Park; Jack McGrath, James Tracy, Tadhg Furlong, Devin Toner, James Ryan, Dan Leavy, Jordi Murphy, Sean O’Brien (capt).
Replacements: Richardt Strauss, Cian Healy, Andrew Porter, Ross Molony, Jack Conan, Luke McGrath, Cathal Marsh, Jordan Larmour.