Kieran Marmion has been named in the Connacht squad for the first time since aggravating an ankle injury in Ireland's win over New Zealand in November.
Marmion subsequently underwent surgery but is now back in the replacements for his province and will be hopeful of playing a part in Ireland's Six Nations campaign.
International squad members Ultan Dillane, Caolin Blade, Jack Carty and Tom Farrell have all been named in the XV for tomorrow’s Conference A clash with the Toyota Cheetahs at The Sportsground on (5.30pm).
Captain Jarrad Butler is again named at number 8 in a back row that includes flankers Eoin McKeon and Colby Fainga’a. Dillane, who impressed off the bench against Scotland in the Six Nations last week, is partnered in the second row by James Cannon. Denis Buckley, Tom McCartney and Finlay Bealham complete the pack in the front row.
In the backs, Blade and Carty renew their half-back partnership while Tom Daly starts alongside Farrell in midfield. In the back three, there’s a first start for loan signing Stephen Fitzgerald on the wing, with Cian Kelleher on the opposite wing and Darragh Leader at full-back.
Having beaten the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein before Christmas, head coach Andy Friend is under no illusions as to the challenge his side face to complete a double over their Conference rivals.
"Since we played them earlier in the season they have been improving steadily and have the results to show for it", Friend reflected. "They are real contenders in the conference now, so we know the important of this game in the context of the overall season".
"They are a really hard team to play against and even trying to review them can be difficult. They seem to play so off the cuff that it can be difficult to predict what they are going to do next. We know the threat they pose in attack so we will face a huge challenge".
Connacht: Darragh Leader; Cian Kelleher, Tom Farrell, Tom Daly, Stephen Fitzgerald; Jack Carty, Caolin Blade; Denis Buckley, Tom McCartney, Finlay Bealham; Ultan Dillane, James Cannon; Eoin McKeon, Colby Fainga’a, Jarrad Butler (Capt)
Replacements: Dave Heffernan, Peter McCabe, Dominic Robertson-McCoy, Cillian Gallagher, Paul Boyle, Kieran Marmion, Conor Fitzgerald, Kyle Godwin.
Former Wallaby Scott Fardy will captain Leinster against Zebre at the Stadio Zaffanella, Viadana (2.30pm).
Leinster haven't had a PRO14 game in a number of weeks since taking on Scarlets in the RDS Arena on the 25th January in a narrow 22-17 win against their Conference B rivals.
Zebre for their part haven't played since a 61-28 away loss against the Cheetahs on the same weekend.
Dave Kearney lines out at full back with Adam Byrne on the right wing and Barry Daly on the left.
Conor O'Brien and Rory O'Loughlin are the centre combination with Jamison Gibson-Park and Ross Byrne the halfbacks.
In the pack it's an all-Irish international front row with Jack McGrath, James Tracy and Andrew Porter named.
Ross Molony and Fardy will start in the second row with Josh Murphy at blindside, together with Max Deegan and Caelan Doris who complete the back row.
Having been an unused replacement in the win against Scarlets, Academy forward Jack Dunne is again named in a match day 23 and will hope to make his debut in Viadana tomorrow.
Leinster: Dave Kearney; Adam Byrne, Rory O’Loughlin, Conor O’Brien, Barry Daly; Ross Byrne, Jamison Gibson-Park; Jack McGrath, James Tracy, Andrew Porter; Ross Molony, Scott Fardy (capt), Josh Murphy, Max Deegan, Caelan Doris.
Replacements: Bryan Byrne, Peter Dooley, Michael Bent, Mick Kearney, Jack Dunne, Hugh O’Sullivan, Noel Reid, Jimmy O’Brien.