JAMIE HEASLIP WILL wear the metaphorical captain’s armband in the absence of Leo Cullen at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday when Leinster host Munster.
Leinster coach Joe Schmidt, fresh from signing a contract extension with the province, has named a strong side but big names such as Gordon D’Arcy, Cullen, Cian Healy and Rob Kearney miss out through injury.
Isa Nacewa will line-up on the left wing, with Andrew Conway on the right and Fergus McFadden partnering Brian O’Driscoll in the centre. Ian Madigan shifts from out-half, where he started against Connacht last week, to full-back.
Eoin reddan has recovered from his leg injury and will join Jonathan Sexton in the half back pairing.
A bicep strain has ruled out Healy so Heinke van der Merwe will pack down in the front row alongside Mike Ross and Richardt Strauss, who holds off the hooking challenge of Sean Cronin.
Damian Browne and Devin Toner are given the chance to impress in the second row. With Quinn Roux and Cullen missing, Tom Denton is named as replacement lock.
Kevin McLaughlin, who spoke to TheScore.ie this week, is joined in the back row by Shane Jennings and captain Heaslip.
The Leinster bench has a green look to it as it features Jack McGrath, Jordi Murphy, John Cooney and Noel Reid.
Leinster: Ian Madigan; Andrew Conway, Brian O’Driscoll, Fergus McFadden, Isa Nacewa; Jonathan Sexton, Eoin Reddan; Heinke van der Merwe, Richardt Strauss, Mike Ross; Damian Browne, Devin Toner; Kevin McLaughlin, Shane Jennings, Jamie Heaslip (c).
Replacements: Sean Cronin, Jack McGrath, Jamie Hagan, Tom Denton, Jordi Murphy, John Cooney, Noel Reid, Fionn Carr.
Leinster v Munster will take place at the Aviva Stadium at 6.30pm on Saturday and TG4′s coverage starts at 6pm.