Leinster coach Matt O’Connor has turned to Jack Conan and Jordi Murphy to solve his back row issues on either side of captain Jamie Heaslip in the Champions Cup against Castres tomorrow.
The injuries to Rhys Ruddock and Kevin McLaughlin at blindside and on the openside to Seán O’Brien and Dominic Ryan, a recent victim of concussion, left O’Connor with something of a quandary.
He has chosen to place Conan at six and the fast-improving Murphy at seven in what is a serious go-forward unit with Ryan on the bench as an indication of an all-out attack strategy.
There is the matter of retaining Jimmy Gopperth at out-half and preferring Ian Madigan to Gordon D’Arcy at twelve, the veteran international dropping down to the bench.
Then, there is the significant decision to fire Martin Moore in from the start to counter Castres’ inconsistent scrum.
The up-and-coming Tadhg Furlong edges out Mike Ross for his impact off the wood.
Scrum-half Eoin Reddan returns to oust another serious pretender Luke McGrath, who does have the consolation of making the 23-man squad.
LEINSTER: R Kearney; F McFadden, L Fitzgerald, I Madigan, D Kearney; J Gopperth, E Reddan; M Bent, S Cronin, M Moore, D Toner, M McCarthy, J Conan, J Murphy, J Heaslip (capt). Replacements: R Strauss, J Hagan, T Furlong, K Douglas, D Ryan; L McGrath, G D’Arcy, D Fanning.