Hugo Keenan, the late try-scoring hero against Canada recently, is one of eight personnel changes for Leinster’s final pre-season match against Northampton Saints at Franklin’s Gardens on Thursday (kick-off 7.30pm).
Keenan joins Fergus McFadden and Cian Kelleher in a freshened-up back-three, with Jimmy O’Brien moving to the centre where he partners former Wallaby Joe Tomane. Ciaran Frawley and Hugh O’Sullivan continue as a youthful half-back pairing.
Ross Molony comes in to captain the province, as he did against Coventry last month, with Ryan Baird, who impressed for the Ireland Under-20s last season, his second row partner. Another U-20 starlet, flanker Scott Penny, returns to play his first game since a shoulder operation.
The selected back row is completed by Caelan Doris and Max Deegan, who bagged himself a hat-trick of tries in the 38-35 victory away to Canada, while Michael Bent is retained at tighthead prop and joined in the front row by Peter Dooley and Ronan Kelleher, younger brother of Cian.
Head coach Leo Cullen will work off an extended bench of 13 players, including returning scrum half Jamison Gibson-Park who is set to play for the first time since picking up a troublesome hamstring injury against Glasgow Warriors towards the end of last season.
LEINSTER (v Northampton Saints): Hugo Keenan; Fergus McFadden, Jimmy O’Brien, Joe Tomane, Cian Kelleher; Ciaran Frawley, Hugh O’Sullivan; Peter Dooley, Ronan Kelleher, Michael Bent, Ross Molony (capt), Ryan Baird, Max Deegan, Scott Penny, Caelan Doris.
Replacements: Bryan Byrne, James Tracy, Michael Milne, Roman Salanoa, Scott Fardy, Josh Murphy, Will Connors, Jamison Gibson-Park, Ross Byrne, Dave Kearney, Conor O’Brien, Rory O’Loughlin, Adam Byrne.