O’Brien – a Test Lion against both the Wallabies in 2013 and again against the All Blacks in 2017 – is joined by fellow tourists Robbie Henshaw, Jonathan Joseph and Iain Henderson in hitting fitness again this weekend.
O’Brien – who started all three Tests against the All Blacks in 2017 and scored a stunning score in the opener at Eden Park – has been out since November with a broken arm.
But the flanker – who this week was also named in the Ireland squad for this year’s Guinness Six Nations – returns on the bench for Leinster’s trip to Wasps.
Henshaw also makes his return from a hamstring problem in the same game and dons the No.12 jersey for the trip to the Ricoh Arena.
.@henshawrob returns from injury and will make his first appearance since October when we face @WaspsRugby on Sunday (KO 3.15pm).
Full team news: https://t.co/6BEkCO5mkX#WASvLEI #JoinTheRoar pic.twitter.com/o62yYceNwE
— Leinster Rugby (@leinsterrugby) January 18, 2019
Henshaw was partnered in the centres by Joseph twice on Tour in 2017 – first in a narrow defeat to the Highlanders and then in their dramatic draw with the Hurricanes.
But the Bath and England centre – who crossed for a try against the Highlanders – has been out for over nine months after ankle surgery.
But the No.13 comes into the starting XV for Bath this weekend as they take on Toulouse and the 27-year-old will be hoping to remind Eddie Jones of his talents in time to play a part in the 2019 Championship.
Elsewhere, Ireland and Lions lock Henderson was ruled out with a thumb injury before Christmas but has made a shock return to fitness seven weeks ahead of schedule and starts for Ulster’s trip to Welford Road to take on Leicester Tigers.