He wasn’t playing but new Leinster captain Johnny Sexton was paying close attention to his deputies’ performances  over the last two weeks.

Leo Cullen has named an incredibly strong XV to face Dragons in their first home game of the Guinness Pro14 season tomorrow [5.15pm].

In come Ireland internationals Rob Kearney, Garry Ringrose, James Ryan and Josh van der Flier, who makes his first appearance since suffering a knee injury against France in February.

And, of course, Sexton, makes his seasonal bow.

The Ireland fly-half has been working hard off the field but when asked about what the work-ons from last week’s defeat to Scarlets, he didn’t miss a beat.

"I thought last week some of the intent was good but it wasn’t the full 80 minutes," said the out-half.

"We put ourselves in a good position at half-time and for whatever reason we didn’t back it up in the second half.

"It’s something we spoke about this week and how we are going to get better now and going forward as well.

"[I’m] delighted to be back, obviously it’s frustrating to be watching [from the sidelines]."

Cullen welcomes back Van der Flier for the RDS tie and was delighted to have the 25-year-old fit and raring to go. 

"It’s unbelievable credit to him the way he’s got back into the shape that he’s in," said the head coach.

"Josh is one of the most diligent people you can come across, he’s worked incredibly hard.

"He’s an amazing professional and an incredible example to a lot of our players."

Bernard Jackman, the former Leinster and Ireland hooker, is in charge of the visitors, who lost their first game to Southern Kings but chalked up a win against Treviso last week.

Speaking to RTÉ 2fm’s Game On, Jackman alluded to the reality that they must focus their minds on smaller fish.

He said: "We’ve had a good week’s prep, we’re looking forward to getting stuck in and seeing where we’re at. We’re not expected to win and there’s no pressure on us.

"We’ve got a massive game against Zebre next week."

Underestimation, however, is the biggest weapon you can hand your opponent and Cullen says his team have their homework done.

"The Dragons are a lot more cohesive in terms of their selection," he said.

"They’ve only made a couple of changes from the team that has played the last couple of weeks.

"Bernard Jackman knows us very well and knows what makes us tick.

"That’s always very dangerous and we need to be aware of the threats that the Dragons pose. They are going to be very physical, strong in the contact area.

"They’ve a lot of pace and skilful players out wide as well. We’ve got to be very clear what that’s going to look like."

Leinster: Rob Kearney; Jordan Larmour, Garry Ringrose, Robbie Henshaw, Dave Kearney; Johnny Sexton (captain), Jamison Gibson-Park; Ed Byrne, Seán Cronin, Andrew Porter; Scott Fardy, James Ryan; Max Deegan, Josh van der Flier, Jack Conan.

Replacements: Bryan Byrne, Peter Dooley, Tadhg Furlong, Ross Molony, Caelan Doris, Hugh O’Sullivan, Noel Reid, Joe Tomane.