Leinster head coach Joe Schmidt admitted he faced a selection headache when his injured stars return after his young side secured a 17-0 RaboDirect PRO12 shutout against Connacht on Saturday at the RDS.
Tries from Ian Madigan and replacement Jack McGrath inspired Leinster to their first win in three as they put their defeat to Ulster and two Heineken Cup losses to Clermont Auvergne behind them.
Brian O’Driscoll, Rob Kearney and Luke Fitzgerald have all had long spells on the sidelines this season but have been training ahead of the RaboDirect PRO12 clash with Edinburgh on January 4.
But Schmidt insists they will not all walk automatically back into the side after the impressive display from his side against Connacht.
“The win gives us a bit of confidence and also challenges the players who are coming back from injury and who didn’t play,” said Schmidt.
“It challenges them because some of the young guys delivered and I think that’s the strength of our squad in recent years.
“The young guys have really pushed the older guys on and we’ve mixed and matched the teams.
“It makes for a positive headache as opposed to some pretty tough headaches that we’ve had where we’ve gone to the sub academy to find players that are fit to play for us.
“They (Connacht) always make us work really hard.
“There’s a bit of respect between the two teams but there’s also a bit of animosity.
“There’s a lot of guys in the Connacht side who are from Leinster so there’s a close connection.
“There was little bit of added fierceness around the contact area and disappointingly there was a little bit of gamesmanship off the ball that we’ll have a look at.”