Ireland number eight Jamie Heaslip has been named in the Leinster starting line-up for their crucial European Champions Cup clash with Castres on Saturday.
Heaslip shakes off the shoulder injury that kept him out of last weekend’s PRO12 game against Cardiff Blues, while Marty Moore and Fergus McFadden start having missed all four previous rounds with shoulder and ankle injuries respectively.
The front-row consists of Michael Bent, Sean Cronin and Marty Moore. Moore came through his 54 minutes against the Blues and reported no issues with his shoulder during the week and will make only his fourth appearance of the season.
Mike McCarthy and Devin Toner start in the second-row, while in the back-row Jack Conan will start his first Champions Cup game for Leinster having appeared off the bench in three of the previous four rounds. Having only played once last season for Leinster due to injury this will be the Wicklow man’s 14th game of the season.
Jordi Murphy is selected at openside flanker while Jamie Heaslip captains the side from the base of the scrum in his 196th appearance for Leinster.
In the backs Rob Kearney is selected at full-back while Fergus McFadden and Dave Kearney will take up positions on the right and left wings.
Ian Madigan and Luke Fitzgerald is the centre partnership, while Eoin Reddan and Jimmy Gopperth are selected in the half-back positions. Interestingly Luke McGrath is selected as the replacement scrum half and is in line to make his European debut for Leinster should he come on.
Up against them will be a struggling Castres side that has picked up just one bonus point from their opening four matches in the pool.
They are not throwing in the towel though for this Dublin clash as the likes of Rory Kockott, Johnnie Beattie, Jannie Bornman, Ibrahim Diarra, Richie Gray and Ramiro Herrera as they look to end a terrible run in this European competition.
Form: Leinster have won four of their five games against Castres including three wins in a row over the last two seasons. The French side have never won in Ireland in eight attempts in Europe’s elite tournament. Leinster’s only home defeat to French opposition in their last 19 games came against Clermont in 2012. Castres have lost seven straight matches in the competition.
Leinster: 15 Rob Kearney, 14 Fergus McFadden, 13 Luke Fitzgerald, 12 Ian Madigan, 11 Dave Kearney, 10 Jimmy Gopperth, 9 Eoin Reddan, 8 Jamie Heaslip (c), 7 Jordi Murphy, 6 Jack Conan, 5 Mike McCarthy, 4 Devin Toner, 3 Martin Moore, 2 Sean Cronin, 1 Michael Bent.
Replacements: 16 Richardt Strauss, 17 Jamie Hagan, 18 Tadhg Furlong, 19 Kane Douglas, 20 Dominic Ryan, 21 Luke McGrath, 22 Gordon D’Arcy, 23 Darragh Fanning.
Castres: 15 Julien Dumora, 14 Romain Martial, 13 Thomas Combezou, 12 Romain Cabannes (c), 11 Marcel Garvey, 10 Daniel Kirkpatrick, 9 Rory Kockott, 8 Johnnie Beattie, 7 Jannie Bornman, 6 Ibrahim Diarra, 5 Christophe Samson, 4 Richie Gray, 3 Ramiro Herrera, 2 Marc-Antoine Rallier, 1 Saimone Taumoepeau.
Replacements: 16 Mathieu Bonello, 17 Paea Faanunu, 18 Benjamin Desroche, 19 Yohan Montes, 20 Piula Faasalele, 21 Remi Tales, 22 Remi Grosso, 23 Antoine Dupont.
Date: Saturday, 17 January
Venue: RDS Arena
Kick-off: 17:30 GMT
Referee: Marius Mitrea (Italy)
Assistant referees: Matteo Liperini (Italy); Stefano Penne (Italy)