Leinster have seemingly written off the challenge of the in-form Sharks and Stormers and left the bulk of their Ireland internationals at home for their two-match tour of South Africa.
Rhys Ruddock will captain a young 31-man touring side as the Vodacom United Rugby Championship leaders – 10 points clear at the top with three games left – bid to secure a home playoff spot.
Only front-row forwards Ronan Kelleher and Andrew Porter, who were both injured during the Six Nations, featured against Connacht on Saturday as Leo Cullen’s men booked a place in the quarter-finals of the Champions Cup.
Ahead of clashes with the Sharks and Stormers, who are sixth and fifth in the URC, respectively, Cullen said: “Some guys will need a bit of game time over there and the big thing is the work that has gone into this, it’s a much wider group.
“As we know, if you want to stay alive in the two competitions you need a good chunk of guys, and Caelan [Doris] and some of the guys were taking it easy in camp during the Six Nations.
“We had some guys with their shoulders to the wheel back in base camp trying to push us up the mountain and carrying the load for all these guys.
“Huge credit goes into that group because they’ve done a fantastic job to get us into the situation that we have that bit of a lead, so it’s important to reward some of those guys with some more games as well. Those guys are itching to play now.”
Full Leinster squad:
Forwards: Ed Byrne, Peter Dooley, Michael Milne, Andrew Porter, Ronan Kelleher, John McKee, James Tracy, Vakh Abdaladze, Michael Ala’alatoa, Thomas Clarkson, Brian Deeny, Jack Dunne, Josh Murphy, Martin Moloney, Rhys Ruddock, Sean O’Brien, Scott Penny, Max Deegan, Alex Soroka. Backs: Cormac Foley, Nick McCarthy, Harry Byrne, David Hawkshaw, Tommy O’Brien, Rob Russell, Ciaran Frawley, Rory O’Loughlin, Jamie Osborne, Adam Byrne, Chris Cosgrave, Max O’Reilly.