| 9.7°C Dublin

Kearney and Murphy back from long-term injury

Benetton Treviso v Leinster, Stadio Monigo, Sunday (KO 2.30 - Irish time)

Ireland wing Dave Kearney and will return to action from a serious knee injury for the first time in six months.

He is not the only one out to make a second impression on coach Matt O'Connor as Jordi Murphy comes back from a six-month spell in recovery and rehabilitation from a shoulder operation.

There is also the exciting prospect of seeing Luke Fitzgerald at outside centre where a period without injury could see him back in Ireland contention.

There could also be a sea-change at scrum-half where Luke McGrath is slowly making his way into what was a straight two-man shootout between Isaac Boss and Eoin Reddan.

The former Ireland U20 captain will partner Jimmy Gopperth at half-back, while left wing Darragh Fanning is beginning to look like a go-to man for O'Connor.

Ireland internationals Dominic Ryan and Richardt Strauss are released from international duty to play for the province. Kevin McLaughlin will captain from the blindside .

There is also an outing at number eight for Jack Conan, a real prospect to be the short-term filler and long-term challenger for Jamie Heaslip.

Of all the places to be at Leinster, the last one you would want is number eight, waiting on the indestructible Heaslip to lose form or fall to injury.

These things just don't happen.


Former Ireland U20 Conan is not exactly chopped liver when it comes to talent and the potential lurking therein. He has to show perseverance and patience.

"He seems to be gifted in not getting injured," grinned Conan, about Leinster's captain.

"I want to play because I'm the best player to play, not because there are injuries. When the time comes for me and Jamie to be picked, obviously, at this stage, it would be him. But, down the line, we will have to wait and see."

Leinster should be confident going away to Treviso, who will be without their fair share of Italian internationals.

Leinster: Z Kirchner; D Kearney, L Fitzgerald, N Reid, D Fanning; J Gopperth, L McGrath; M Bent, R Strauss, T Furlong, K Douglas, T Denton, K McLaughlin (capt), J Murphy, J Conan.

Verdict: Leinster