After a light Captain’s Run this morning led by Rob Kearney, Leinster Rugby head coach Matt O’Connor has announced his match day 23 to face Cardiff Blues tomorrow (Kick Off: 2.40pm – live on SKY Sports).

There are 11 changes in total as Matt O’Connor welcomes back from injury some high profile names and also those that have been rested during the last few games. 

Squad vice-captain Rob Kearney is back in harness at full back and leads the side with brother Dave on the left wing and Fergus McFadden selected on the right. Dave and Fergus are the only backs retained from last week’s starting XV. 

It’s an all new centre partnership with Noel Reid at 12 and Ben Te’o outside him for his third appearance of the season since joining from the South Sydney Rabbitohs and his first start since fracturing his forearm in the Round 7 defeat of Edinburgh in October.

Noel Reid is back for the first time since his Man of the Match performance against Connacht in December. He had been selected on the bench for the Munster game but illness ruled him out of that and the Ulster game. In the half backs Luke McGrath starts at scrum half with Jimmy Gopperth selected at 10. 

In the pack, it’s a completely new front five with a front row full of Irish internationals as Michael Bent, Sean Cronin and Marty Moore start. It is Marty Moore’s first involvement since the away trip in October against Zebre. A shoulder injury early in that game has kept him sidelined until now. The second row features Tom Denton and Kane Douglas.

Finally in the back row Dominic Ryan has passed his return to play protocols having been replaced early in the game against Munster on St. Stephen’s Day and starts at blindside while Jordi Murphy starts at openside. Finally, after his Guinness PRO12 Man of the Match performance last week against Ulster, Jack Conan starts at eight. 

Leinster Rugby can also confirm that just over 16,000 tickets have now been sold for the Champions Cup game against Castres on Saturday, 17th January at 5.30pm in the RDS. Tickets are still on sale at: 


15 Rob Kearney CAPTAIN
14 Fergus McFadden
13 Ben Te’o 
12 Noel Reid 
11 Dave Kearney 
10 Jimmy Gopperth 
9 Luke McGrath 
1 Michael Bent
2 Sean Cronin 
3 Marty Moore 
4 Tom Denton 
5 Kane Douglas
6 Dominic Ryan 
7 Jordi Murphy 
8 Jack Conan 
16 Richardt Strauss
17 Jamie Hagan
18 Tadhg Furlong 
19 Mike McCarthy 
20 Josh Van Der Flier 
21 Eoin Reddan 
22 Ian Madigan 
23 Darragh Fanning 

Referee: Neil Paterson (SRU, 66th competition game)
Assistant Referees: Nigel Owens, Rhys Thomas (both WRU)
Citing Commissioner: John Charles (WRU)
TMO: Tim Hayes (WRU)