No changes in Leinster side to face Saints

Sean O’Brien included in starting line-up for tomorrow’s match against Northampton

 Sean O’Brien in action against Northampton last Saturday. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Sean O’Brien in action against Northampton last Saturday. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Fri, Dec 13, 2013, 13:28

Leinster flanker Sean O’Brien has been passed fit to face Northampton in tomorrow evening’s return match (6pm) at the Aviva Stadium.

O’Brien limped off at Franklin’s Gardens with a leg injury last weekend but has been named in the starting line-up announced this afternoon by head coach Matt O’Connor.

In the continued absence of Cian Healy, who had surgery on an ankle operation earlier this week, Jack McGrath keeps his place in the front row while Dave Kearney is again preferred to Zane Kirchner on the wing.

And Ian Madigan has kept hold of the number 10 jersey, with Jimmy Gopperth once again having to settle for a place on the replacements bench.

Leinster: Rob Kearney; Dave Kearney, Brian O’Driscoll, Gordon D’Arcy, Luke Fitzgerald; Ian Madigan, Eoin Reddan; Jack McGrath, Sean Cronin, Mike Ross; Devin Toner, Mike McCarthy; Rhys Ruddock, Sean O’Brien, Jamie Heaslip. Replacements: Aaron Dundon, Michael Bent, Martin Moore, Leo Cullen, Shane Jennings, John Cooney, Jimmy Gopperth, Zane Kirchner.

Did you Know?

• Leinster have conceded a competition-low 23 points in the opening three rounds of this season’s Heineken Cup.

• Northampton’s 40-7 reversal in Round 3 was their joint heaviest defeat in the Heineken Cup, equalling their losing margin of 33 points against Montferrand (now Clermont) in 2001.

• Leinster have won 15 of their last 16 home games in the Heineken Cup, losing only to Clermont at the Aviva Stadium last season during this run.

• Leinster have the best tackle success rate (92%) of any club in this season’s competition.

• Dylan Hartley has delivered more successful lineout throws (34/40 – 85%) than any other player to date this season. Tom Wood has won the second most lineouts (17) while Courtney Lawes has come up with the most steals (5).

• Sean O’Brien has won seven turnovers - a joint-high this season.

• Jimmy Gopperth and Ian Madigan have a goalkicking success rate of 83% this season with Stephen Myler) on 82%.

• Despite their crushing defeat last weekend, Saints carried for over 200 metres (506) more than Leinster (309) at Franklin’s Gardens.

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