Leinster are set to recall their fit-again Ireland front-row duo, Rónan Kelleher and Andrew Porter, for tomorrow’s second-leg, round-of-16 clash against Connacht at the Aviva Stadium.
Kelleher and Porter are expected to go straight back into the starting team, in what would be a major boost for Leinster.
Neither player has featured since the Six Nations, with Kelleher sidelined due to the shoulder injury he sustained in the defeat to France, while Porter suffered an ankle issue in the win over Italy.
Leo Cullen is likely to be able to name his first-choice international front-row, with Kelleher and Porter set to start alongside Tadhg Furlong.
Cullen will also be able to call upon Jamison Gibson-Park, as the scrum-half had his citing complaint dismissed for an alleged dangerous tackle in Leinster’s five-point first-leg win.
However, Gibson-Park is again likely to have to make do with a place on the bench along with Cian Healy, Dan Sheehan and Jordan Larmour, who has recovered from a hip problem.
Connacht will have Denis Buckley and Tiernan O’Halloran available, with head coach Andy Friend weighing up whether to stick or twist in terms of his team selection.
Finlay Bealham will come up against his returning Irish front-row team-mates, and the Connacht prop is relishing the challenge.
“I can’t wait, it’s going to be good craic,” Bealham said. “Obviously, they had us under the pump a bit last week in the set-piece and we’ve worked on those, but they have some boys coming back and it’ll be a tasty encounter.
“We need to be another level better, and that’s in all areas of our game – defensively, set-piece and in attack. We have to bring it to another level. We have to meet fire with fire.”