Big guns back for Leinster

by Michelle Fortune , 19 April 2012

Joe Schmidt has once again rung the changes ahead of Leinster's RaboDirect PRO12 clash with Ulster at Ravenhill.


Schmidt rested a number of players for last week's win over Edinburgh but he has recalled the majority of them for the trip north, while he has given others the week off with the Heineken Cup semi-final looming.

Rob Kearney returns at full-back and he is named in the back three alongside his brother David and Luke Fitzgerald, while Brian O'Driscoll returns in the centre after sitting out last week's win.

Gordon D'Arcy took a knock in the Edinburgh match and he has been given the week off to recover with Fergus McFadden taking his place alongside the Ireland captain.

Jonathan Sexton makes his return at fly-half and he will have Eoin Reddan for company with the Ireland international earning his 60th cap for the province.

Jamie Heaslip will have to wait to go head-to-head with Stephen Ferris as he has been omitted from the matchday 23 ahead of the trip to France to face Clermont.

His place at number eight will be taken by Sean O'Brien, while Kevin McLaughlin and Dominic Ryan complete the back row. Brad Thorn and Leo Cullen return in the second row as Cian Healy, Richardt Strauss and Mike Ross combine up front.

Eoin O'Malley was a late withdrawal after a recurrence of his calf strain, while Isaac Boss is one of four Ireland internationals on the bench.

Leinster (XV v Ulster): R Kearney; D Kearney, B O'Driscoll, F McFadden, L Fitzgerald; J Sexton, E Reddan; C Healy, R Strauss, M Ross, L Cullen, B Thorn, K McLaughlin, D Ryan, S O'Brien.

Replacements: S Cronin, H vd Merwe, N White, D Toner, S Jennings, I Boss, I Madigan, F Carr.

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