Cullen has used the opportunity to present a Leinster debut to two players at different ends of the age and experience spectrum.

Scott Fardy, the 33-year-old Australian international, will start in the second row for his debut while 20-year-old former St. Andrew’s student Jordan Larmour makes his debut on the left wing.

There is also the potential for a third Leinster debut in the form of lock James Ryan who is named amongst the replacements. Ryan made his senior Ireland debut on the recent summer tour to USA and Japan.

In other team news Rob Kearney makes his competitive return and plays for Leinster for the first time in nearly eight months with his last competitive outing in blue coming in January against Castres in the Champions Cup.

Adam Byrne, who scored ten tries in all competitions last season, starts on the right wing with Larmour on the left.

Isa Nacewa will captain the side from the centre with newly capped Irish international Rory O’Loughlin beside him in the number 13 jersey.

Jamison Gibson-Park and Ross Byrne pick up where they left off in Donnybrook last week at nine and ten.

In the pack Cian Healy makes his first appearance of the season having not featured in any of the pre-season matches. Beside him Seán Cronin is back at hooker after hamstring and neck injuries hampered the second half of last season with Michael Bent completing the front row at tight head prop.

Devin Toner makes his 199th appearance for Leinster in the second row. The Meath man is joined by the 39 times capped Australian Scott Fardy.

Dan Leavy starts at blindside flanker with Josh van der Flier selected for the openside.

Finally Max Deegan completes the pack and lines out in the number eight jersey for his first senior start for Leinster on the occasion of his fourth cap.

Tickets for Leinster Rugby’s first home game of the season against Cardiff Blues at the RDS Arena on Friday, 8th September (KO 7.35pm), are on sale now. Get tickets from €20.

Leinster v Cardiff Blues

Leinster Rugby (Leinster caps in brackets):

15. Rob Kearney (185)
14. Adam Byrne (24)
13. Rory O’Loughlin (21)
12. Isa Nacewa (170) CAPTAIN
11. Jordan Larmour (0)
10. Ross Byrne (23)
9. Jamison Gibson-Park (29)
1. Cian Healy (172)
2. Seán Cronin (128)
3. Michael Bent (87)
4. Devin Toner (198)
5. Scott Fardy (0)
6. Dan Leavy (39)
7. Josh van der Flier (46)
8. Max Deegan (3)


16. James Tracy (42)
17. Ed Byrne (7)
18. Andrew Porter (8)
19. James Ryan (0)
20. Jack Conan (51)
21. Nick McCarthy (7)
22. Cathal Marsh (18)
23. Barry Daly (10)

Referee: Mike Adamson (SRU)