Ahead of the visit of Pro12 champions Glasgow Warriors to the RDS tonight, Leinster head coach Leo Cullen has made seven changes to the side that suffered a 25-14 reversal away to Scarlets last week.
Despite featuring briefly from the bench in Ireland’s World Cup defeat to Argentina, Rhys Ruddock makes his second start of the season, and he is joined by another late international call-up, Mike McCarthy, in the home team’s pack.
Ruddock is joined in the Leinster back-row by Josh van der Flier, who will make his third start of the term against Gregor Townsend’s charges.
The former Wesley College student is pleased with his form to date, although he does acknowledge there are areas of his game that can improve.
“Yes, happy with how I’m playing and the confidence that comes with it. I feel a lot more comfortable at the Pro12 level. It’s still very tough, but I’m finding my form,” van der Flier said this week.
“I’m trying to improve on how I work within the system, especially in defence, where we’ve changed up a few things and that’s probably the biggest area for me to improve on.
“Communication is important too, when it comes to talking to the rest of the players because seven is a position where you need a lot of conversation with other players.”
With an astonishing 41 players between them, Leinster and Glasgow were the two best represented club sides at the Rugby World Cup. Zane Kirchner of Leinster is still involved in the competition with South Africa, but both teams will now gradually ease their other international stars back into action.
In addition to McCarthy and Ruddock, Isaac Boss (who was called-up by Joe Schmidt as scrum-half cover) takes his place among the replacements, where he will be joined by international prop Tadhg Furlong.
Like their Irish counterparts, Glasgow have two wins from their opening four games in the Pro12, but are boosted by the inclusion of Sean Lamont, Richie Vernon, Duncan Weir, Tim Swinson, Simone Favaro and Ryan Wilson for their first post-World Cup starts.
I Nacewa; G Ringrose, B Te’o, N Reid, F McFadden; C Marsh, L McGrath; M Bent, A Dundon, M Moore; R Molony, M McCarthy; R Ruddock, J van der Flier, J Conan.
J Tracy, P Dooley, T Furlong, D Ryan, D Leavy, I Boss, R Byrne, C Kelleher.
S Lamont; T Naiyaravoro, R Vernon, F Lyle, R Hughes; D Weir, M Blair; A Allan, P MacArthur. Z Fagerson; T Swinson, S Cummings; R Harley, S Favaro, R Wilson.
K Bryce, J Yanuyanutawa, M Cusack, G Peterson, A Ashe, H Blake, G Hart, R Clegg.
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