Conway on board for Leinster's Cardiff trip
Leinster make their first visit to the new Cardiff City Stadium this afternoon looking to take root in the top four where already they have a game in hand over all around them. That the same game is away to Connacht on a date as yet undetermined -- seems they're having difficulty sorting that one out -- is a different story.
For now Leinster, like their opponents, will have to cope without the international crew. And with a record in this competition where they haven't won away from home since last September. That said, they are unbeaten in their last six matches since losing with an Academy-based side in Newport. And they haven't lost to Cardiff in their last five meetings.
The most interesting selection on the Leinster side is right wing Andrew Conway who makes his first League start having come off the bench against Scarlets in the last round. And for Cardiff the return to action of Andy Powell is bound to raise a cheer when, and if, he comes off the bench.
By a distance the elder statesman of the Leinster backline today is Girvan Dempsey who will be playing his 198th game for the province.
"The younger players who are coming into the set-up are stepping up to the mark and as a senior player it reinvigorates you because in training sessions as well as in the British & Irish Cup there's an onus on all players to impress," he says.
"If you look at the corresponding games last year, they were crucial for us in terms of how we finished the campaign. The fact that it's a slightly longer week with the match being on a Sunday doesn't really affect things."
An away win so.
Cardiff: B Blair; T James, C Laulala, T Shanklin, C Czekaj; C Sweeney, G Cooper; T Filise, R Thomas, G Powell, S Morgan, P Tito (capt), M Molotika, X Rush, S Warburton. Replacements: H Dowden, S Andrews, A Pretorius, A Powell; L Williams, S Norton-Knight, D Hewitt.
Leinster: G Dempsey; A Conway, E O'Malley, F McFadden, I Nacewa; S Berne, E Reddan; S Wright, B Jackman, CJ van der Linde, D Toner, M O'Kelly, K McLaughlin, S Keogh, S Jennings. Replacements: R Strauss, M Ross, T Hogan, R Ruddock, P O'Donohoe, I Madigan, S Keogh
Referee: A McPherson (Scotland)
Cardiff Blues v Leinster,