Seán O’Brien returns to Leinster colours
Fergus McFadden has recovered from a knee injury and is one of eight changes for tomorrow’s game against Edinburgh at the RDS
Sean O’Brien in training during the week. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho
Sean O’Brien has proved he is a quick healer by returning to competitive action ahead of time for tomorrow night’s RaboDirect Pro12 game against Edinburgh at the RDS (6.30).
The Lions and Ireland flanker returns to Leinster colours for the first time since dislocating his shoulder against Ulster last December, an injury that was expected to keep his out for the rest of the season.
Coach Matt O’Connor has made eight changes to the team that beat Ulster in Ravenhill last time out. There is a whole new front row in Jack McGrath, Richardt Strauss and Mike Ross, Leo Cullen is named in the secondrow, while O’Brien and Jordi Murphy are introduced to the backrow.
Fergus McFadden has recovered from his knee injury and he returns on the right wing with Zane Kirchner moving to fullback and Rob Kearney dropping to the bench. Jimmy Gopperth gets a chance to start in the number 10 jersey with Ian Madigan included in the replacements.
Meanwhile Connacht coach Pat Lam has made four personnel changes to his side for the final game in his first season in charge at Connacht. The men in green will travel to Liberty Stadium on Saturday to face fifth placed Ospreys where a win over the Welsh outfit would ensure Connacht regain their best ever finish of eight in the league.
Up front, 23-year-old hooker Dave Heffernan will pick up his first start of the season in Connacht colours, replacing the injured Jason Harris-Wright. Mayo-born Heffernan has made 11 appearances from the bench in this Pro12 campaign including scoring a last minute try against Munster in Thomond Park.
Heffernan is joined in the front row by loosehead prop Denis Buckley whose introduction to the starting team sees Ronan Loughney switch to tighthead. Rodney Ah You, who has featured in every game this season, moves to the replacements bench.
Andrew Browne is named to start at blindside flanker while his fellow Galway-born teammate and captain John Muldoon shifts to Number 8. Conor Gilsenan will earn his second league start for Connacht after his starting debut last weekend as a late replacement for the injured Willie Faloon.
In the backs, there is a reshuffle in midfield as Dave McSharry returns to inside centre, with Eoin Griffin moving to outside centre.
Leinster: Z Kirchner; F McFadden, B O’Driscoll, G D’Arcy, D Kearney; J Gopperth, I Boss; J McGrath, R Strauss, M Ross; L Cullen, M McCarthy; S O’Brien, J Murphy, J Heaslip. Replacements: S Cronin, C Healy, M Moore, R Ruddock, D Ryan, L McGrath, I Madigan, R Kearney.
Edinburgh: C Bezuidenhout; S Beard, M Scott, A Strauss, T Visser; H Leonard, G Laidlaw (capt); A Dickinson, R Ford, W Nel; G Gilchrist, B Toolis; M Coman, T Leonardi, D Denton. Replacements: J Hilterbrand, W Blaauw, S Berghan, A Toolis, D Basilaia, G Hart, P Francis, B Atiga.
Connacht: D Leader; D Poolman, E Griffin, D McSharry, M Healy; M Nikora, K Marmion; D Buckley, D Heffernan, R Loughney; A Muldowney, M Kearney; A Browne, C Gilsenan, J Muldoon (capt). Replacements: J Dinneen, F Bealham, R Ah You, M Swift, E McKeon, C Blade, D Parks, R Henshaw.