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Leinster v Connacht - RaboDirect PRO12 match preview
Leinster will be hoping to gain ground on the leading pack in the RaboDirect PRO12 when lowly Connacht visit Dublin on Saturday.
Shane Jennings leads a young Leinster team against Connacht and the back-row forward is one of six Ireland internationals in the starting line-up.
Amongst them is Fergus McFadden, who starts on the right wing in a back three alongside Fionn Carr and full-back Andrew Conway.
Ian Madigan lies in third place in the league's accumulators list with 74 points in 11 PRO12 games so far and he will pair up with Isaac Boss at half back.
In the pack, Heinke van der Merwe is named in the front row alongside Aaron Dundon and Ireland prop Michael Bent, with Devin Toner partnering Ben Marshall at second row.
Head coach Eric Elwood has made four personnel changes to the starting XV as Connacht pursue a season double over the European champions after defeating them 34-6 at the Sportsground in September.
Winger Matt Healy earns his first start and cap for the province. The 23-year-old joined Connacht this season and has made a notable impression with the Connacht Eagles whilst competing in the British & Irish cup.
Danie Poolman moves to the right wing and makes way for Eoin Griffin who resumes his centre partnership with Dave McSharry.
In the pack, Denis Buckley is named in the front row alongside Jason Harris-Wright and Nathan White, who captains the side. Michael Swift, who returned from injury last week and came off the bench against Munster, will partner George Naoupu in the second row.
Leinster: 15: Andrew Conway, 14: Fergus McFadden, 13: Brendan Macken, 12: Andrew Goodman, 11: Fionn Carr, 10: Ian Madigan, 9: Isaac Boss, 1: Heinke van der Merwe, 2: Aaron Dundon, 3: Michael Bent, 4: Ben Marshall, 5: Devin Toner, 6: Rhys Ruddock, 7: Shane Jennings (c), 8: Jordi Murphy.
Replacements: 16: Sean Cronin, 17: Jack McGrath, 18: Mike Ross, 19: Leo Cullen, 20: Dominic Ryan, 21: John Cooney, 22: Noel Reid, 23: Adam Byrne.
Connacht: 15 Robbie Henshaw, 14 Danie Poolman, 13 Eoin Griffin, 12 Dave McSharry, 11 Matt Healy, 10 Dan Parks, 9 Kieran Marmion, 1 Denis Buckley, 2 Jason Harris-Wright, 3 Nathan White (c), 4 Michael Swift, 5 George Naoupu, 6 Andrew Browne, 7. Johnny O'Connor, 8 Eoin McKeon.
Replacements: 16 Ethienne Reynecke, 17 Brett Wilkinson, 18 Ronan Loughney, 19 Mick Kearney, 20 Eoghan Grace, 21 Paul O'Donohoe, 22 Matthew Jarvis, 23 Tiernan O'Halloran.
What they said...
Leinster back Andrew Conway
"Connacht have built on a good win against us earlier in the year and have pushed on with big results and we know that we have to really up our performance levels on Saturday, because they're a side who can hurt you," said Conway.
"Looking at their defeat to Munster last weekend, they probably felt that it was a game which they could have, maybe should have won. So they'll be looking to come to the RDS and aiming to do a job on us.
"From our perspective it has been a frustrating last few weeks. Our performance over in Stade Marcel Michelin was pretty good but over the last two games we haven't been clinical enough and we have been disappointed with aspects of our play."
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Guinness PRO12 Table
|Friday 6th March|
|19:35||Cardiff Blues vs Connacht|
|19:35||Glasgow Warriors vs Zebre|
|Saturday 7th March|
|14:40||Ospreys vs Munster|
|17:15||Scarlets vs Leinster|
|18:00||Treviso vs Edinburgh|
|Sunday 8th March|
|16:00||Dragons vs Ulster|
|Friday 27th March|
|19:35||Leinster vs Glasgow|
|19:35||Ulster vs Cardiff Blues|
|Saturday 28th March|
|TBC||Benetton Treviso vs Newport Gwent D'gons|
|TBC||Ospreys vs Zebre|
|14:40||Scarlets vs Edinburgh|
|17:15||Munster vs Connacht|
|Friday 10th April|
|19:35||Glasgow vs Cardiff Blues|
|19:35||Benetton Treviso vs Ospreys|
|Saturday 11th April|
|TBC||Edinburgh vs Munster|
|TBC||Zebre vs Scarlets|
|14:40||Connacht vs Ulster|
|Sunday 12th April|
|16:00||Newport Gwent D'gons vs Leinster|
|Friday 24th April|
|19:35||Edinburgh vs Zebre|
|19:35||Ulster vs Leinster|
|Saturday 25th April|
|TBC||Munster vs Benetton Treviso|
|TBC||Cardiff Blues vs Ospreys|
|TBC||Newport Gwent D'gons vs Scarlets|
|TBC||Connacht vs Glasgow|
|Saturday 9th May|
|15:00||Ulster vs Munster|
|Sunday 1st March|
|Connacht 53 - 5 Treviso|
|Zebre 23 - 17 Dragons|
|Cardiff Blues 21 - 15 Edinburgh|
|Saturday 28th February|
|Munster 22 - 10 Glasgow Warriors|
|Friday 27th February|
|Ospreys 9 - 9 Leinster|
|Ulster 25 - 20 Scarlets|
|Sunday 22nd February|
|Dragons 25 - 30 Connacht|
|Saturday 21st February|
|Glasgow 19 - 16 Ospreys|
|Scarlets 25 - 25 Munster|
|Friday 20th February|
|Edinburgh 17 - 20 Ulster|
|Leinster 29 - 8 Zebre|
|Benetton Treviso 40 - 24 Cardiff Blues|
|Sunday 15th February|
|Leinster 14 - 16 Newport Gwent D'gons|
|Zebre 10 - 54 Glasgow|
|Scarlets 32 - 14 Connacht|
|Saturday 14th February|
|Munster 33 - 16 Cardiff Blues|
|Friday 13th February|
|Edinburgh 24 - 16 Ospreys|
|Ulster 43 - 3 Benetton Treviso|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com