RaboDirect Pro12: Leinster v Connacht match preview

Last Updated: 26/10/13 3:18pm

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Leinster boss Matt O'Connor has shuffled his pack ahead of Connacht's visit in Saturday's PRO12 clash at the RDS Arena.

Luke Fitzgerald starts at outside centre in a new midfield partnership alongside Noel Reid for the all-Irish clash. Fitzgerald will make his 113th appearance for the province and is joined in the backline by fellow Ireland internationals Ian Madigan and Eoin Reddan who form a new-look half-back partnership.

Michael Bent makes his first start this season in the front row which includes Sean Cronin and Jack McGrath - the latter having been called up to the Ireland squad for the November series earlier this week.

McGrath is one of two uncapped players in the pack alongside Quinn Roux and the team will again be led by Jamie Heaslip, who continues in the back-row alongside Kevin McLaughlin and the in-form Sean O'Brien.

Three changes

Meanwhile, there are three changes to the Connacht team that defeated Zebre 33-6 in last week's Heineken Cup encounter.

Danie Poolman - who was forced to withdraw late this week due to a tight hamstring - is replaced on the right wing by Tiernan O'Halloran, while Gavin Duffy returns to full-back, replacing the injured James So'oialo.

Up front, Andrew Browne moves to the bench and makes way for last week's try scorer Mata Fifita at blindside flanker.

On the bench, hooker Dave Heffernan is in line to make his first senior appearance in the number two jersey and utility back Daragh Leader is another addition to the match day squad. The 20-year-old from Galway made his first senior appearance away to Ospreys this time last year.

Leinster: 15 Rob Kearney, 14 Fergus McFadden, 13 Luke Fitzgerald, 12 Noel Reid, 11 Dave Kearney, 10 Ian Madigan, 9 Eoin Reddan, 8 Jamie Heaslip (capt), 7 Sean O'Brien, 6 Kevin McLaughlin, 5 Quinn Roux, 4 Devin Toner, 3 Michael Bent, 2 Sean Cronin, 1 Jack McGrath
Replacements: 16 Aaron Dundon, 17 Jack O'Connell, 18 Martin Moore, 19 Mike McCarthy, 20 Shane Jennings, 21 Isaac Boss, 22 Jimmy Gopperth, 23 Zane Kirchner

Connacht:15 Gavin Duffy, 14 Tiernan O'Halloran, 13 Robbie Henshaw, 12 Craig Ronaldson, 11 Matt Healy, 10 Dan Parks, 9 Kieran Marmion, 8 George Naoupu, 7 Jake Heenan, 6 Mata Fifita, 5 Craig Clarke, 4 Michael Swift (capt), 3 Rodney Ah You, 2 Sean Henry, 1 Brett Wilkinson
Replacements: 16 Dave Heffernan, 17 JP Cooney, 18 Ronan Loughney, 19 Aly Muldowney, 20 Andrew Browne, 21 Paul O'Donohoe, 22 Darragh Leader, 23 Fionn Carr

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