LEINSTER COACH MATT O’Connor has included Eoin Reddan on the bench for Sunday afternoon’s trip to Treviso in the RaboDirect, with the 33-year-old not involved in Ireland’s clash against the All Blacks on the same day.
Less than a week ago, Reddan was starting against Australia but Joe Schmidt now looks set to re-install Conor Murray as first-choice Ireland scrum-half, with Isaac Boss providing the back-up on the Ireland bench.
Meanwhile, Shane Jennings captains Leinster this weekend. The 32-year-old is another who would prefer to be on Ireland duty, but will instead need to focus on a difficult trip to the Stadio di Monigo as Leinster look to improve on their current league position of fourth.
Jimmy Gopperth lines up at out-half outside John Cooney, who will be making his 25th appearance for the province. Noel Reid and Brendan Macken make up a midfield partnership full of attacking potential, hoping to feed a back three of Lote Tuqiri, Darragh Fanning and Darren Hudson.
Up front, Michael Bent starts at loosehead prop in a front row that also includes Aaron Dunden and Martin Moore. Behind that trio, the likes of Quinn Roux, Leo Auva’a and Rhys Ruddock provide the ball carrying grunt. Leinster’s bench includes seven academy products.
Munster have made five changes to their starting team to face Cardiff at Arms Park on Saturday evening (6.30pm). Felix Jones has been released from Ireland camp to take his place at fullback, while Donncha O’Callaghan and James Coughlan return to the match-day squad.
Felix Jones returns to the Munster team from Ireland camp. ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan.
Dave Kilcoyne drops to the bench, with James Cronin instead selected in a front row that also includes BJ Botha and Damian Varley. The hooker is once again named as captain.
Billy Holland starts in the second row alongside Dave Foley, while CJ Stander continues at No. 8. In the back-line, Cathal Sheridan comes in at scrum-half in place of Duncan Williams, while JJ Hanrahan is chosen at 10 with Ian Keatley out injured.
Andrew Conway gets the nod on the right wing, with academy out-half Johnny Holland set for his competitive Munster debut off the bench.
Elsewhere, Connacht will hand a first cap to 20-year-old No. 8 Eoghan Masterson against the Scarlets in Galway on Saturday (5pm). The Portlaoise native has played for both Ireland U20 and Scotland U20 in the last year, as well as standing out for the province’s ‘A’ team recently.
Eoin Griffin returns to Pat Lam’s side in the centre, meaning Darragh Leader moves to the wing. Former Lansdowne RFC out-half Craig Ronaldson will wear the number 10 shirt, while lock Michael Swift is set for his 250th Connacht appearance.
Leinster (v Treviso): Darren Hudson; Lote Tuqiri, Brendan Macken, Noel Reid, Darragh Fanning; Jimmy Gopperth, John Cooney; Michael Bent, Aaron Dundon, Martin Moore; Tom Denton, Quinn Roux; Rhys Ruddock, Shane Jennings (C), Leo Auva’a.
Replacements: James Tracy, Jack O’Connell, Tadhg Furlong, Ben Marshall, Dominic Ryan, Eoin Reddan, Cathal Marsh, Collie O’Shea.
Munster (v Cardiff): Felix Jones; Andrew Conway, Casey Laulala, Ivan Dineen, Johne Murphy; JJ Hanrahan, Cathal Sheridan; James Cronin, Damien Varley (C), BJ Botha; Dave Foley, Billy Holland; Dave O’Callaghan, Sean Dougall, CJ Stander.
Replacements: Mike Sherry, Dave Kilcoyne, Stephen Archer, Donncha O’Callaghan, James Coughlan, Duncan Williams, Johnny Holland, Denis Hurley.
Connacht (v Scarlets): Gavin Duffy; Darragh Leader, Eoin Griffin, Dave McSharry, Matt Healy; Craig Ronaldson, Kieran Marmion; Brett Wilkinson, Sean Henry, Nathan White; Michael Swift, Craig Clarke (C); Aly Muldowney, Jake Heenan, Eoghan Masterson.
Replacements: Jason Harris-Wright, Ronan Loughney, Rodney Ah You, Mick Kearney, George Naoupu, Frank Murphy, Dan Parks, Fionn Carr.