Leinster v Wasps preview: Hosts make nine changes for European opener
Leinster takes on Wasps in Championship Cup opener at RDS Stadium on Sunday: 13:00 kick-off
The Irish sides head coach Leo Cullen makes nine changes to his starting XV
Matt Mullan will skipper the visitors as James Haskell misses out due to a knee injury
Leinster have made nine changes ahead of their European Champions Cup opener against Wasps with Eoin Reddan named at scrum-half against his old side.
Reddan, who has won 68 caps for Ireland, won the equivalent Heineken Cup with Wasps in 2007, which was part of a four-year period at the club where he’d make well over 100 appearances for the club.
This afternoon he partners Ireland team-mate Johnny Sexton at half-back while Captain Isa Nacewa, Zane Kirchner and Dave Kearney form a talented back three for the RDS contest.
Jack McGrath and Richardt Strauss come into the front row with another former Wasp, Mike McCarthy, selected at lock.
Wasps have won just one of their last five fixtures against the Irish provinces, and they are without Captain James Haskell due to a knee injury so Matt Mullan will skipper the side for the trip to Dublin.
Over two tight encounters last season with just five points separating the sides, Leinster narrowly prevailed to reach the quarter-finals at Wasps expense.
The visitors, in fact, have earned just one victory in their last five clashes against Irish clubs (D1, L3) though they had won eight of the ten matches before that.
Leinster have lost just two of their last 14 pool games in the Champions Cup and have started well in the Pro 12, winning five of their seven games so far. Wasps undoubtedly have the talent within their squad, however, as their league position shows (8th) they aren’t quite clicking yet. It will come over the next few weeks but not today. Leinster by 10
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Leinster: Jamies Heaslip
Ireland No 8 Jamie Heaslip played a key role in Leinster’s back-to-back Heineken Cup wins in 2011 and 2012. The uncompromising back-row is the driving force behind the hosts impressive scrum while his leadership qualities are well known.
Wasps: Joe Launchbury
Joe Launchbury is a versatile forward who is equally comfortable in the second-row and the back-row and following some impressive displays during the Rugby World Cup looks set to be an international mainstay for years to come. He may be only 24, but his importance to this Wasps side cannot be measured.
Leinster: 15 Isa Nacewa (c), 14 Zane Kirchner, 13 Fergus McFadden, 12 Noel Reid, 11 Dave Kearney, 10 Johnny Sexton, 9 Eoin Reddan, 8 Jamie Heaslip, 7 Sean O’Brien, 6 Jordi Murphy, 5 Mike McCarthy, 4 Devin Toner, 3 Mike Ross, 2 Richardt Strauss, 1 Jack McGrath.
Replacements: 16 Sean Cronin, 17 Cian Healy, 18 Tadhg Furlong 19 Hayden Triggs, 20 Jack Conan, 21 Luke McGrath, 22 Ian Madigan, 23 Garry Ringrose
Wasps: 15 Charles Piutau, 14 Christian Wade, 13 Elliot Daly, 12 Ben Jacobs, 11 Frank Halai, 10 Ruaridh Jackson, 9 Joe Simpson, 8 Nathan Hughes, 7 George Smith, 6 Sam Jones, 5 Bradley Davies, 4 Joe Launchbury, 3 Jake Cooper-Woolley, 2 Carlo Festuccia, 1 Matt Mullan (c).
Replacements: 16 Ashley Johnson, 17 Simon McIntyre, 18 Phil Swainston, 19 James Gaskell, 20 Guy Thompson, 21 Dan Robson, 22 Alex Lozowski, 23 Sailosi Tagicakibau
Date: Sunday, November 15
Venue: RDS Arena
Kick-off: 13:00 GMT
Referee: Mathieu Raynal (France)
Assistant Referees: Cyril Lafon (France), Thomas Déjean (France)
TMO: Philippe Bonhoure (France)