BRIAN O’DRISCOLL WILL start Leinster’s Heineken Cup survival match against the Exeter Chiefs.
O’Driscoll sat out training earlier this week with a swollen ankle but took a full part in Thursday’s session and is in the starting XV for tomorrow’s trip to Sandy Park.
In total Leinster show five changes from the team which ran in five tries against Scarlets last weekend. With 15 points from their five pool games so far, the champions know that they will most likely need a bonus-point win to have any chance of qualifying for the quarter-finals as one of the two best runners-up.
Hooker Richardt Strauss has recovered from an ankle injury and starts in the front row while Kevin McLaughlin and Sean O’Brien are both passed fit to join Jamie Heaslip in the back row.
Eoin Reddan replaces Isaac Boss in the half-back line where he will partner Jonny Sexton, whose future in Ireland came under the spotlight this week when he was linked with a €750,000 per year move to Top 14 side Racing Metro.
Exeter, who lost 9-6 when the sides met in the RDS in matchday one, make three changes with Ulster native Ian Whitten, Sireli Naqelevuki and Dean Mumm all starting.
Exeter Chiefs: Luke Arscott; Ian Whitten, Sireli Naqelevuki, Jason Shoemark, Matt Jess; Gareth Steenson, Kevin Barrett; Ben Moon, Neil Clark, Hoani Tui; Tom Hayes (c), Dean Mumm; Tom Johnson, James Scaysbrook, Richard Baxter. Replacements: Jack Yeandle, Carl Rimmer, Craig Mitchell, James Hanks, Ben White, Will Chudley, Ignacio Mieres, Nic Sestaret.
Leinster: Rob Kearney; Isa Nacewa, Brian O’Driscoll, Gordon D’Arcy, Luke Fitzgerald; Jonathan Sexton, Eoin Reddan; Cian Healy, Richardt Strauss, Mike Ross; Leo Cullen (c), Devin Toner; Kevin McLaughlin, Sean O’Brien, Jamie Heaslip. Replacements: Sean Cronin, Heinke van der Merwe, Michael Bent, Rhys Ruddock, Shane Jennings, Isaac Boss, Ian Madigan, Fergus McFadden.