The Ireland skipper has only just returned from a long term ankle ligament injury and is not risked from the start for what is a must-win match for the defending European champions.
Shane Jennings returns to the openside with Sean O’Brien switching to six. Isaac Boss is preferred to Eoin Reddan at scrum-half, with Jonathan Sexton at outhalf. Richardt Strauss has not made the 23-man squad, with Aaron Dundon taking his bench spot.
Leinster: R Kearney; I Nacewa, F McFadden, G D’Arcy, L Fitzgerald; J Sexton, I Boss; C Healy, S Cronin, M Ross, L Cullen (capt), D Toner, S O’Brien, S Jennings, J Heaslip. Replacements: A Dundon, H van der Merwe, M Bent, T Denton, R Ruddock, E Reddan, I Madigan, B O'Driscoll.