No O’Driscoll and no Madigan in Leinster side to face Ospreys
Brian O’Driscoll has failed to recover from injury in time for Leinster’s Heineken Cup opener with the Ospreys this weekend, while Ian Madigan has to be content with a place on the bench.
The great one has failed to recover from a calf injury picked up in training last week and misses out altogether while summer recruit Jimmy Gopperth has been preferred to Madigan at out-half.
Ryle Nugent impersonator extraordinaire Brendan Macken is included in the centre alongside Gordon D’Arcy, while the Kearney brothers form a back three with Fergus McFadden.
Jamie Heaslip captains the side and will play in the back-row alongside Kevin McLaughlin and Sean O’Brien with Cian Healy and Mike Ross flanking Sean Cronin in the front row.
In case you missed them, meanwhile, in the last 24 hours, all of the three other Irish provinces named their starting XVs for their respective Heineken Cup clashes this weekend, which you can see below.
Leinster team to play Ospreys: Rob Kearney; Fergus McFadden, Brendan Macken, Gordon D'Arcy, Dave Kearney; Jimmy Gopperth, Isaac Boss; Cian Healy, Sean Cronin, Mike Ross; Devin Toner, Mike McCarthy; Kevin McLaughlin, Sean O'Brien, Jamie Heaslip (Captain).
Replacements: Aaron Dundon, Jack McGrath, Martin Moore, Quinn Roux, Rhys Ruddock, Eoin Reddan, Ian Madigan, Luke Fitzgerald
Munster team to play Edinburgh: Felix Jones; Keith Earls, Casey Laulala, James Downey, Simon Zebo; Ian Keatley, Conor Murray; Dave Kilcoyne, Mike Sherry, Stephen Archer; Donncha Ryan, Paul O’Connell Capt.; Paddy Butler, Niall Ronan, James Coughlan.
Replacements: Damien Varley, James Cronin, BJ Botha, Donncha O’Callaghan, CJ Stander, Duncan Williams, JJ Hanrahan, Denis Hurley.
Ulster team to play Leicester: J Payne, A Trimble, D Cave, L Marshall, T Bowe, P Jackson, P Marshall; T Court, R Best, D Fitzpatrick; J Muller (Captain), D Tuohy; R Wilson, C Henry, N Williams.
Replacements: R Herring, C Black, R Lutton, I Henderson, R Diack, R Pienaar, S Olding, M Allen.
Connacht team to play Saracens: Gavin Duffy; Fionn Carr, Robbie Henshaw, James So’oialo, Danie Poolman; Dan Parks, Kieran Marmion; Brett Wilkinson, Sean Henry, Rodney Ah You; Michael Swift (Captain), Craig Clarke; John Muldoon, Jake Heenan, George Naoupu.
Replacements: Jason Harris-Wright, Peter Reilly, JP Cooney, Aly Muldowney, Andrew Browne, Paul O’Donohoe, Craig Ronaldson, Tiernan O’Halloran
Heineken Cup fixtures:
Ulster v Leicester, Friday, 8pm
Connacht v Saracens, Friday, 8pm
Edinburgh v Munster, Saturday, 1.35pm
Ospreys v Leicester, Saturday, 6pm
Don’t forget to get involved with the Heineken Star Predictor ‘Get in The Game’ where you can put your rugby knowledge to the test by predicting the outcome of this weekend’s games. The top prize is a pair of VIP tickets to the 2014 Heineken Cup Final in Cardiff and there are other prizes to be won throughout the season. Click here to start predicting.