Ireland prospect Ryan Baird is set for his first start for Leinster since recovering from injury, as he is named in Leo Cullen’s side to take on Cardiff Blues. Baird came off the bench against Edinburgh but now starts for the first time since recovering from an adductor injury.

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Baird is joined by Ross Molony in the engine room.

Former Ireland standout Dan Leavy is also hoping to play his way back into Ireland contention. Leavy was Ireland’s starting back row in the 2019 Guinness Six Nations before a brutal knee injury ruled him out of the game for 18 months.

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Leavy suffered the injury during Leinster’s 21-18 Champions Cup quarter-final victory over Ulster in March, 2019 after coming off the bench in the second half, and it ruled him out of Ireland Rugby World Cup in Japan.

Leavy moves across to openside to accommodate Josh Murphy, who comes in at blindside flanker. Rhys Ruddock again captains the side from number eight.

Cullen has selected four players from the Leinster Rugby Academy in his match day 23 and in his XV, has selected the same back line that accounted for Edinburgh on Monday evening. As a result it’s a back three of Jimmy O’Brien, Cian Kelleher and Dave Kearney with Ciarán Frawley and Academy back Liam Turner in the centre.

Luke McGrath and Harry Byrne are the half backs.

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In the pack there are a number of changes in the second row and the back row but the front row of Peter Dooley, James Tracy and Michael Bent start once again.

LEINSTER RUGBY
15. Jimmy O’Brien (23)
14. Cian Kelleher (18)
13. Liam Turner (3)
12. Ciarán Frawley (29)
11. Dave Kearney (153)
10. Harry Byrne (15)
9. Luke McGrath (133)
1. Peter Dooley (80)
2. James Tracy (115)
3. Michael Bent (146)
4. Ross Molony (101)
5. Ryan Baird (13)
6. Josh Murphy (37)
7. Dan Leavy (67)
8. Rhys Ruddock (179) CAPTAIN

16. Dan Sheehan (4)
17. Michael Milne (13)
18. Tom Clarkson (3)
19. Devin Toner (253)
20. Jack Dunne (9)
21. Rowan Osborne (5)
22. Michael Silvester (1)
23. Scott Penny (18)

Referee: Mike Adamson (SRU)

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