Leinster head coach Leo Cullen has made seven personnel changes and two positional switches to his team to play Zebre at Stadio Luigi Zaffanella in Viadana on Saturday afternoon (kick-off 3.30pm local time/2.30pm Irish time).
The defending champions have not played since overcoming the Scarlets 22-17 at the RDS three weeks ago. Zebre were last in action on the same weekend when they lost 61-28 away to the Toyota Cheetahs. The first two of Leinster’s changes are in the back-three where Dave Kearney slots in at full-back and Adam Byrne resumes on the right wing.
Barry Daly, who produced a try-scoring performance against the Scarlets, switches to the left wing, with the selected back-line also containing centres Rory O’Loughlin and Conor O’Brien, and Ciaran Frawley and Hugh O’Sullivan make way for Ross Byrne and Jamison Gibson-Park respectively at half-back.
In the forwards it is an all-international front row with Jack McGrath, hooker James Tracy and Andrew Porter joining forces. Tighthead Porter came on for Ireland in the final quarter against both England and Scotland, while loosehead McGrath missed out on selection for the opening two rounds of the Guinness Six Nations.
Australian international Scott Fardy captains the province from the second row alongside Ross Molony, and Josh Murphy gets the nod at blindside flanker with Max Deegan moving to fill the openside berth vacated by current Ireland Under-20 international Scott Penny. Caelan Doris wins his 10th Leinster cap at number 8.
Having been an unused replacement in the hard-fought home win over the Scarlets, Academy forward Jack Dunne, who plays his club rugby with Dublin University, is again named in the matchday 23 and is poised to make his Leinster senior debut in Lombardy.
LEINSTER (v Zebre): Dave Kearney; Adam Byrne, Rory O’Loughlin, Conor O’Brien, Barry Daly; Ross Byrne, Jamison Gibson-Park; Jack McGrath, James Tracy, Andrew Porter, Ross Molony, Scott Fardy (capt), Josh Murphy, Max Deegan, Caelan Doris.
Replacements: Bryan Byrne, Peter Dooley, Michael Bent, Mick Kearney, Jack Dunne, Hugh O’Sullivan, Noel Reid, Jimmy O’Brien.