Strauss back in Leinster XV for Exeter assignment

Leinster's Heineken Cup survival for this season my ultimately depend on events elsewhere over the weekend

Richardt Strauss returns to the Leinster line-up for Saturday’s crucial Heineken Cup clash away to Exeter Chiefs.

Strauss has recovered from an ankle injury the Ireland hooker is one of three changes to the pack which started last weekend’s victory over Scarlets.

Sean O’Brien has recovered from illness to join fellow returnee Kevin McLaughlin and Ireland captain Jamie Heaslip in the back row. Strauss, meanwhile, is named in the front row alongside Cian Healy and Mike Ross, who is set to make his 80th appearance for the province.

Leo Cullen leads the experienced line up which also sees Brian O’Driscoll resume his centre partnership with Gordon D’Arcy.

O’Driscoll – who is in line to make his 82nd Heineken Cup appearance after featuring off the bench in last weekend’s bonus point victory over the Scarlets – is one of two further changes to the backline with Eoin Reddan selected to partner Jonathan Sexton at half back.

Rob Kearney continues in the back three alongside Luke Fitzgerald and Isa Nacewa. 

There will be full live coverage of Exeter v Leinster on Saturday Sport on RTÉ Radio 1 on Saturday 19 January from 2pm.

Leinster XV v Exter Chiefs: Rob Kearney, Isa Nacewa, Brian O’Driscoll, Gordon D’Arcy, Luke Fitzgerald, Jonathan Sexton, Eoin Reddan, Cian Healy, Richardt Strauss, Mike Ross, Leo Cullen (capt), Devin Toner, Kevin McLaughlin, Sean O'Brien, Jamie Heaslip 

Replacements: Sean Cronin, Heinke van der Merwe, Michael Bent, Rhys Ruddock, Shane Jennings, Isaac Boss, Ian Madigan, Fergus McFadden

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