Kearney: Leinster better now
Ireland full-back Rob Kearney thinks Leinster are ready to return to the top table of European rugby after coming out of a slump in form.
Leinster have won the PRO12 three times, the first ever in 2001 and then, most recently, back-to-back with a thumping 34-12 win over Glasgow in Dublin in May ensuring another, second, silverware-winning season.
The have also triumphed in the European Cup three times, the last in 2012, and also won the second-tier European Challenge Cup in 2013.
However winning only the PRO12 last term was deemed insufficient by the British and Irish Lion's own standards but the 28-year-old envisaged further improvement this time around.
He told Sky Sports: "We'll have pretty much the same side as last year, guys have got a lot more experience, (but) younger players, academy guys are coming through so we're definitely back on the rise.
"I do think last year was a little bit of a dip for us and we're on the way back out of it."
Toulon knocked the Irish giants out of the last-ever Heineken Cup in the quarter-finals last season and the County Louth enforcer predicted another tough challenge in Europe but as well as in defence of their PRO12 title from the other 11 teams.
"You've got some quality teams there," he revealed ahead of Saturday's opener against Glasgow. "I wouldn't say we were away and above the rest of them but the final last year was without doubt our most satisfying performance.
"It didn't reflect the league, Glasgow were the form team last year but we really switched on on the final day which is a sign of a good team too."
Glasgow: 15 Peter Murchie, 14 Tommy Seymour, 13 Mark Bennett, 12 Alex Dunbar, 11 Lee Jones, 10 Peter Horne, 9 Henry Pyrgos; 1 Alex Allan, 2 Fraser Brown, 3 Euan Murray, 4 Leone Nakarawa, 5 Jonny Gray, 6 Rob Harley, 7 Chris Fusaro, 8 Josh Strauss (c).
Replacements: 16 Pat MacArthur, 17 Gordon Reid, 18 Rossouw de Klerk, 19 Tim Swinson, 20 Adam Ashe, 21 Niko Matawalu, 22 Stuart Hogg, 23 Sean Lamont.
Leinster: 15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Fergus McFadden, 13 Brendan Macken, 12 Noel Reid, 11 Darragh Fanning, 10 Jimmy Gopperth, 9 Isaac Boss; 1 Cian Healy, 2 Sean Cronin, 3 Mike Ross, 4 Ben Marshall, 5 Mike McCarthy, 6 Dominic Ryan, 7 Shane Jennings, 8 Sean O'Brien (capt).
Replacements: 16 Bryan Byrne, 17 Jack McGrath, 18 Tadhg Furlong, 19 Tom Denton, 20 Kevin McLaughlin, 21 Luke McGrath, 22 Ian Madigan, 23 Mick McGrath.
Watch Scarlets v Ulster and Glasgow v Leinster on Sky Sports 1HD from 2pm on Saturday