Leinster reshuffle again for Ospreys clash

For the second game in succession, Leinster coach Matt O’Connor has opted to make seven changes to his starting line-up.

Leinster reshuffle again for Ospreys clash

His side aim to consolidate their position in the Guinness Pro12 top-four against Ospreys at the Liberty Stadium tonight (7.35pm).

The Swansea venue has proven a notoriously difficult stomping ground for Leinster. They secured an away victory over the Welsh outfit in last season’s Heineken Cup, but you have to go back to September 2009 for their most recent Pro12 triumph in south Wales.

The Blues held the edge over Steve Tandy’s charges when the sides met in the RDS back in November, but with two points separating the teams, an 11th win of the campaign would boost the play-off aspirations of the Ospreys.

With Eoin Reddan back in the international frame this weekend, Isaac Boss will captain the defending champions at scrum-half. Luke Fitzgerald has also been involved with the Ireland camp, and his place in the back-three goes to Dave Kearney. The centre partnership of Ben Te’o and Gordon D’Arcy remains intact, while Jimmy Gopperth holds on to the number 10 jersey, fresh from his 14-point contribution against the Italians. After adhering to the return-to-play protocols following concussion injuries against Newport Gwent Dragons, Richardt Strauss and Tom Denton are selected in a formidable Blues pack, where Rhys Ruddock starts at blindside for the first time in two months.

Although Leinster have to contend with the absence of several front-line players, Ospreys will be minus the services of an astonishing 26 squad members for round 16 of the league — through an evenly-spread combination of injury and international duty.

LEINSTER: Z Kirchner; F McFadden, B Te’o, G D’Arcy, D Kearney; J Gopperth, I Boss; M Bent, R Strauss, T Furlong; T Denton, K Douglas; R Ruddock, J Van Der Flier, J Conan.

Replacements: A Dundon, P Dooley, R Burke-Flynn, B Marshall, D Ryan, L McGrath, N Reid, D Fanning.

OSPREYS: D Evans; T Grabham, J Spratt, J Matavesi, H Dirksen; S Davies, M Roberts; R Bevington, S Otten, D Arhip; T Cavubati, T Ardron; J Bearman, J King, D Baker.

Replacements: M Dwyer, M Thomas, D Suter, R Hughes, O Cracknell, M Allen, T Habberfield, R Fussell.

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