Lions fullback Rob Kearney will make his first start of the season tomorrow when Leinster lock horns with Benetton Treviso in Northern Italy.
It will be the first time the British & Irish Lion has worn Leinster colours since the Magners League Grand Final defeat last season.
Kearney played in all three tests against the Springboks after replacing injured Welshman Lee Byrne. He is joined by fellow Lions tourist Gordon D’Arcy and Irish internationals Eoin Reddan, Rhys Ruddock and Cian Healy who all start at Stadio Monigo.
Leinster will be hoping to continue their fine form after a 34-23 victory over the Cardiff Blues. But the Irish province will not be underestimating their Italian opponents and are preparing themselves for a full blooded encounter.
“Treviso are a very tough side,” said returning scrumhalf Reddan.
“We know that their main goal for the season was to be good at home and you have to respect that. It’s going to be very tough out there; we’re expecting a tough physical battle and we have to be ready for it.
“It wasn’t a great game of rugby against Cardiff but we managed to put a few more phases together. We’ve got to keep working on that, keep getting the shape that Joe (Schmidt) wants and put a good performance against Treviso this week.”