Carlow man Ed Byrne has been named on the bench for Leinster for their Heineken Champions Cup game against La Rochelle on Sunday.
Johnny Sexton is the most noticeable absentee after he was ruled out earlier in the week due to an ongoing concussion issue. Outhalf is a concern for Leinster this weekend as Ross Byrne starts however his brother Harry picked up an injury against Munster and isn’t available this week.
Ciarán Frawley will be the backup. Scrum-half is another position where Leinster is lacking depth this weekend, Jamison Gibson Park is injured so Luke McGrath starts as captain with Rowan Osborne on the bench, Rowan is only back from injury.
Similar to the win away to Exeter in the last round, Hugo Keenan, Jordan Larmour, and James Lowe are the back three selected by Cullen. They scored three tries between them in the win in Sandy Park.
Robbie Henshaw and Garry Ringrose are the centres, with Ross Byrne winning cap 100 in the number ten jersey.
Byrne made his Leinster Rugby debut off the bench away to Edinburgh in Leo Cullen’s first game in charge in September 2015. He would make his first start a month later at outhalf against the Scarlets.
He would have to wait for the following campaign for his European debut, coming off the bench in December 2016, away to Northampton early in the first half and delivering a commanding 64 minute performance.
To date, he has scored five tries and a total of 612 points as well as winning 13 caps for his country. The 26-year-old former St. Michael’s College man will make his third start from four European games this season when he lines up at ten on Sunday.
In the pack Cian Healy, Rónan Kelleher and Tadhg Furlong start in the front row for Cullen, with Devin Toner and James Ryan behind them in the second row.
In the back row Rhys Ruddock, Josh van der Flier and Jack Conan all start this week having missed the game against Munster last weekend.
On the bench both Rowan Osborne (hand) and Ciarán Frawley (hamstring) have recovered from injury to take their place in the match day 23, while Andrew Porter is in line to win his 75th cap for Leinster.
15. Hugo Keenan (26)
14. Jordan Larmour (57)
13. Garry Ringrose (81)
12. Robbie Henshaw (55)
11. James Lowe (51)
10. Ross Byrne (99)
9. Luke McGrath (146) CAPTAIN
1. Cian Healy (228)
2. Rónan Kelleher (21)
3. Tadhg Furlong (111)
4. Devin Toner (263)
5. James Ryan (46)
6. Rhys Ruddock (187)
7. Josh van der Flier (93)
8. Jack Conan (102)
16. James Tracy (126)
17. Ed Byrne (67)
18. Andrew Porter (74)
19. Scott Fardy (77)
20. Ryan Baird (22)
21. Rowan Osborne (10)
22. Ciarán Frawley (34)
23. Rory O’Loughlin (82)
Listen to this week’s episode of The Knock On Podcast, scoreline.ie’s rugby podcast.