Leinster and Munster name starting XVs
Munster welcome back O’Connell, Murray and O’Mahony
Captain Peter O’Mahony joins several other international players making their return, among them Tommy O’Donnell, Conor Murray and Paul O’Connell, whose shoulder niggle has cleared up.
Leinster have also rolled out their strongest team, although injury and caution has shaped coach Matt O’Connor’s selection. The front row is missing loosehead prop Cian Healy as well as Jack McGrath, Marty Moore and Tadgh Furlong.
Michael Bent plays at loosehead prop with Richardt Strauss hooking and Mike Ross at tighthead.
Irish winger Dave Kearney, who took a knock in training, and back row Rhys Ruddock, who is nursing a calf injury, are not being risked with the Heineken Cup quarter-final match next week against Toulon taking priority.
Jamie Heaslip is back captaining the side along with Kevin McLaughlin and Shane Jennings in the back row, Jordi Murphy starting on the bench.
The Leinster backs, however have a familiar look with Luke Fitzgerald and Fergus McFadden on the wings, Gordon D’Arcy and Brian O’Driscoll in the centre and Rob Kearney forcing Springbok Zane Kirchner to the bench.
Ian Madigan is also the preferred starting outhalf to Jimmy Gopperth with Eoin Reddan at scrumhalf.
Munster’s Ian Keatley, who was man of the match when his team beat Leinster 19-15 at Thomond Park in October takes up the outhalf position alongside Conor Murray. With 497 points in 67 appearances, Keatley is hoping to break the 500 point mark.
Casey Laulala and Denis Hurley form the centre partnership with Rob Penney selecting a pacey back three of Keith Earls, who scored a try last week, Zebo and fullback Felix Jones.
Donncha Ryan misses the match and is now wearing a protective boot after a specialist identified a strain under his right foot. An uncommon injury, Ryan will need to be monitored and could miss Munster’s Heineken Cup quarterfinal against Toulouse next week.
Leinster v Munster , Aviva Stadium, Saturday 7pm
Leinster: R Kearney; F McFadden, B O’Driscoll, G D’Arcy, L Fitzgerald; I Madigan, E Reddan; M Bent, R Strauss, M Ross; D Toner, M McCarthy; K McLaughlin, S Jennings, J Heaslip. Replacements: S Cronin, J O’Connell, E Byrne, L Cullen, J Murphy, I Boss, J Gopperth, Z Kirchner
Munster: F Jones; K Earls, C Laulala, D Hurley, S Zebo; I Keatley, C Murray; D Kilcoyne, D Varley, BJ Botha; D Foley, P O’ Connell; P O’Mahony), T O’Donnell, J Coughlan. Replacements: D Casey, J Cronin, A Cotter, D O’Callaghan, CJ Stander, D Williams, JJ Hanrahan, G van den Heever.