by Brendan Cole
Leinster have named a strong team for their Magners League final Grand Final clash with Munster, but they will be without two important players at fortress Thomond Park.
As expected, Gordon D’Arcy has failed to make the squad due to an ankle injury picked up during last Saturday’s epic Heineken Cup final win over Northampton Saints.
It has also been confirmed that scrum-half Isaac Boss misses out due to a hamstring injury. The New Zealand-born Ireland international might well have started this match had he been fit.
Watch live coverage of Munster v Leinster in the Magners League final on RTÉ Two and RTÉ.ie from 4.30pm. Live radio coverage on Saturday Sport, beginning at 2.00pm.
D'Arcy's absence means Brian O’Driscoll will be partnered by Fergus McFadden in the centre, with Luke Fitzgerald, Shane Horgan and Isa Nacewa making up the back three.
Heineken Cup final man-of-the-match Jonathan Sexton starts at out-half with Eoin Reddan retained at scrum-half. With Boss out, Paul O’Donohoe will provide scrum-half cover.
Up front, Heinke Van Der Merwe is rewarded for an excellent series of performances from the bench with the starting loosehead jersey, which means Cian Healy starts on the bench, along with Stan Wright.
The rest of the tight five is unchanged from Cardiff, with Richardt Strauss and Mike Ross completing the front row, and captain Leo Cullen and Nathan Hines in the second row.
In a strong back-row, Shane Jennings, who played the second 40 minutes against Northampton, starts at seven this time, with European Player of the Year Sean O’Brien at six and Jamie Heaslip at number eight.
Kevin McLaughlin drops to the bench, with Aaron Dundon - in for Jason Harris-Wright - and Devin Toner the other forwards subs.
Along with O’Donohoe, Ian Madigan and Eoin O’Malley provide cover for the backs.
Strauss expects a difficult outing at a packed Thomond Park where Munster red is expected to outnumber Leinster blue.
He said; 'We know that it is going to be a tough battle against Munster. We know them pretty well and they are a physical side. We have to try and stop their momentum, and if we can do that it will be a close game.
'We are a proud squad and are ready to take them on this weekend. We are hungry to win more trophies. We have been well managed all season and the coaching staff have looked after us in the run-in to the end of the season, so we are all ready to go.'
LEINSTER team to play Munster in the Magners League Grand Final at Thomond Park on Saturday, 28 May at 5.05pm:
15: Isa Nacewa
14: Shane Horgan
13: Brian O’Driscoll
12: Fergus McFadden
11: Luke Fitzgerald
10: Jonathan Sexton
9: Eoin Reddan
1: Heinke van der Merwe
2: Richardt Strauss
3: Mike Ross
4: Leo Cullen CAPTAIN
5: Nathan Hines
6: Sean O’Brien
7: Shane Jennings
8: Jamie Heaslip
16: Aaron Dundon
17: Cian Healy
18: Stan Wright
19: Devin Toner
20: Kevin McLaughlin
21: Paul O’Donohoe
22: Ian Madigan
23: Eoin O'Malley