Leinster bolstered by return of Rónan Kelleher and Andrew Porter for crunch Connacht showdown
Leinster have bolstered their front-row for tomorrow's second-leg, round-of-16 clash against Connacht at the Aviva Stadium.
Head coach Leo Cullen has recalled the fit-again Rónan Kelleher and Andrew Porter in two of three changes to his starting team.
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.
Kelleher will pack down either side of Tadhg Furlong, with Ross Molony and Josh Murphy continuing in the second-row.
As per the front-row, the back-row is an all Ireland international selection with Caelan Doris, Josh van der Flier and Jack Conan making up a familiar looking trio.
Johnny Sexton will captain Leinster from out-half, with Jamison Gibson-Park getting the nod ahead of Luke McGrath this week.
Otherwise, the back-line is unchanged, as Robbie Henshaw and Garry Ringrose link up in midfield, while James Lowe, Jimmy O'Brien and Hugo Keenan in the back-three.
Ed Byrne , Dan Sheehan, Michael Ala'alatoa, Devin Toner and Rhys Ruddock provide forward cover, with McGrath, Ross Byrne and Ciaran Frawley also included on the bench.
Cian Healy, Dan Sheehan, Michael Ala'alatoa, Devin Toner and Rhys Ruddock provide forward cover, with McGrath, Ross Byrne and Ciaran Frawley also included on the bench.
Meanwhile, Connacht head coach Andy Friend has made just one change to his starting team, as Caolin Blade replaces Kieran Marmion at scrum-half.
Tiernan O'Halloran, John Porch and Mack Hansen make up the back-three, with Tom Farrell and Bundee Aki again in midfield, while Blade will partner captain Jack Carty at half-back.
An unchanged pack sees Matthew Burke, Dave Heffernan and Finlay Bealham in the front-row, Gavin Thornbury and Leva Fifita will provide support in the engine room, with Cian Prendergast, Conor Oliver and Jarrad Butler making up the back-row.
Denis Buckley and Jony Murphy come into the bench to join Jack Aungier, Oisin Dowling, Abraham Papali'i, Marmion, Sammy Arnold and Conor Fitzgerald among the replacements.
"While our performance last week was good overall, there was a very real sense of disappointment that we didn’t get the win,” Friend said.
“Having said that, I know this group can bring their performance on another level, which is essential if we’re to reach the last eight.
“We’ve a good record in the Aviva over the last two years or so and it’s a pitch that suits our style of rugby. Coupled with a strong travelling support behind us it’s set to be another great occasion."
Leinster – H Keenan; J O’Brien, G Ringrose, R Henshaw, J Lowe; J Sexton (capt), J Gibson-Park; A Porter, R Kelleher, T Furlong; R Molony, J Murphy; C Doris, J van der Flier, J Conan. Reps: D Sheehan, E BYRNE, M Ala'alatoa, D Toner, R Ruddock, L McGrath, R Byrne, C Frawley.
Connacht – T O'Halloran; J Porch, T Farrell, B Aki, M Hansen; J Carty, C Blade; M Burke, D Heffernan, F Bealham; G Thornbury, L Fifita; C Prendergast, C Oliver, J Butler. Reps: J Murphy, D Buckley, J Aungier, O Dowling, A Papali'i, K Marmion, S Arnold, C Fitzgerald,
REF: L Pearce (England)
Leinster v Connacht, Aviva Stadium, 5.30, Live on BT Sport