Heineken Cup Pool 1: Leinster v Ospreys preview
Last Updated: 17/01/14 2:14pm
Action from Round 1 of the Heineken Cup.
Hooker Richardt Strauss is a surprise inclusion on the bench for Leinster's Heineken Cup fixture against the Ospreys in Dublin on Friday evening.
The Ireland international hooker was diagnosed with a heart condition in October and it had initially been thought he would miss the remainder of the season.
But he has made quicker than expected progress and will take his place among the replacements for a match Leinster need only one point from to be sure of topping Pool 1.
The Irish side sit four points clear of Northampton after grinding out a 29-22 win against Castres in France last weekend.
Leinster head coach Matt O'Connor has named an unchanged back division but there are four alterations to the pack.
Cian Healy and Martin Moore come in as a new prop pairing in place of Jack McGrath and Mike Ross, who both drop to the bench. Ross will make his 100th appearance for the province if he comes on.
Fit-again duo Rhys Ruddock and Shane Jennings replace Kevin McLaughlin and Jordi Murphy - who scored a try against Castres - in the back row.
The Ospreys are already out of the tournament after four defeats from five matches but have named a strong team.
There are two changes in the pack from the side beaten at home by Northampton last weekend, Sam Davies coming in for Richard Fussell at full-back and Ben John replacing Tom Isaacs in the centre.
Wales and Lions international Adam Jones is preferred to Aaron Jarvis at tighthead prop, while Tyler Ardron and Ryan Jones replace Sam Lewis and Joe Bearman in the back row.
Ospreys coach Steve Tandy told the club's official website: "It's an important game for us. We still have everything to play for in the PRO12 and the end of season run-in starts here.
"We need to build momentum, on and off the field, regardless of the off the field distractions and European disappointment, starting on Friday night.
"We'll be looking to the senior players in the squad, those who go away with Wales after the weekend, to put in big performances before they go into camp for two months, setting the standard for the younger boys, while there is a fantastic opportunity for those players to stake a claim for a place in the starting line-up.
"We're a proud team, with a proud record in the PRO12, and out in Dublin, and the rest of the season starts here."
Leinster: 15 Rob Kearney, 14 Dave Kearney, 13 O'Driscoll, 12 D'Arcy, 11 Fitzgerald, 10 Gopperth, 9 Reddan; 1 Healy, 2 Cronin, 3 Moore, 4 Toner, 5 McCarthy, 6 Ruddock, 7 Jennings, 8 Heaslip
Replacements: 16 Strauss, 17 McGrath, 18 Ross, 19 Cullen, 20 Murphy, 21 Boss, 22 Madigan, 23 Kirchner
Ospreys: 15 Davies, 14 Hassler, 13 Spratt, 12 John, 11 Natoga, 10 Biggar, 9 Webb; 1 Bevington, 2 Hibbard, 3 Adam Jones, 4 Alun Wyn Jones, 5 Evans, 6 Ardron, 7 Tipuric, 8 Ryan Jones
Replacements: 16 Baldwin, 17 Thomas, 18 Suter, 19 Peers, 20 King, 21 Allen, 22 Habberfield, 23 Morgan
Leinster v OSpreys is live on Sky Sports 1 tonight from 7.30pm
Heineken Cup Week Six 2013/14
Stuart Barnes believes that the Irish provinces could all challenge Clermont for Heineken Cup glory.
Harlequins boss Conor O'Shea praised both teams after his side defeated Scarlets 22-20 in tough conditions on Sunday.
Scarlets head coach Simon Easterby suggests poor discipline cost his side a place in the Amlin Cup quarter-finals.
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