A whole sleuth of internationals will be on display for the first home game of the season. Sexton, Ringrose, Rob Kearney, Ryan, van der Flier all make their first start in the Pro 14 this evening.

The line-up has a certain familiarity to it. Here’s the team sheet:

  1. Ed Byrne
  2. Seán Cronin
  3. Andrew Porter
  4. Scott Fardy
  5. James Ryan
  6. Max Deegan
  7. Josh van der Flier
  8. Jack Conan
  9. Jamison Gibson-Park
  10. Johnny Sexton
  11. Dave Kearney
  12. Robbie Henshaw
  13. Garry Ringrose
  14. Jordan Larmour
  15. Rob Kearney

16. Bryan Byrne
17. Peter Dooley
18. Tadhg Furlong
19. Ross Molony
20. Caelan Doris
21. Hugh O’Sullivan
22. Noel Reid
23. Joe Tomane

The spread on Paddy Power is Leinster -34. I think we will beat this spread, but it’s not what I’d call a value bet. Once we are far enough in front, expect to see some of the replacements come on for a chance to prove their worth and this might cause a few tries to be leaked late in the game. A better bet might be the total match points. Over 58.5 at odds of 5/6.

The replacement backs look particularly interesting. Noel Reid looks to be covering for out-half. Given he has not had much time in this position there is a good probability that he will finish out the game, possibly coming on for the last twenty minutes.

The debutant scrum half, Hugh O’Sullivan, is also an interesting sub. Given how bare we have looked in this position, especially when Luke McGrath had an injury, it is of high importance to get academy players blooded. A home game against the Dragons seems like as good an opportunity as any.

Joe Tomane will start from the bench again today. We will have wait to see him link up with fellow Southern hemisphere import James Lowe at the RDS. While not renowned for their defensive skills, the attacking, off-loading, full-paced action they bring is amazing to behold. I can’t wait unti they get some time on field together. They are sure to be a fan favourite double act throughout the season.

So you can expect this game to be wrapped up early this evening. The bench will get plenty of game time, but I think the new faces may cause a few defensive lapses, giving the Dragons a chance to claw their way back into the game.