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Heineken Cup: Contepomi, Wilson Earn Starts

Heineken Cup: Contepomi, Wilson Earn Starts

Felipe Contepomi replaces the injured Gordon D’Arcy for Leinster’s clash with Bourgoin today. Meanwhile Ulster have recalled number eight Roger Wilson for their visit to Stade Francais.

Seven days on from almost kicking Argentina to victory, Felipe Contepomi will return to Lansdowne Road today against Bourgoin (kick-off 5.15pm), in the Leinster number 12 shirt.

The 27-year-old – a substitute in Leinster’s opening two European wins over Benetton Treviso (25-9) and Bath (30-11) – will partner Ireland captain Brian O’Driscoll, with Gordon D’Arcy (groin) still absent.

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Indeed it will be Contepomi’s first European start for the province since signing a three-year contract in May 2003. Last season saw an administrative error rob Leinster of his services during the Pool stages.

Coach Declan Kidney has made two changes – the second being the swapping of Guy Easterby for Brian O’Meara at scrum-half – from the starting XV which ran out winners over Bath.

Easterby, 33, will also be making his first start for Leinster in the competition, behind an unchanged pack. 39-cap Irish international Victor Costello has shaken off a rib injury and packs down at number eight, beside Eric Miller and Shane Jennings.

Shane Horgan, the province’s most potent attacker – with two tries in two Pool games – continues on the right wing.

Coach Kidney, perhaps wary of a potential hangover from his international stars, commented: “Bourgoin are second in the French Championship, and you don’t get there by being a bad team.

“They slipped up against Treviso which was a little surprising, but that will make them doubly determined when facing us. They are very physical too, so we are prepared for a tough game.”

Kidney’s replacements – for Leinster’s first ever meeting with Laurent Seigne’s French side – are yet to be finalised.


(15) Girvan Dempsey
(14) Shane Horgan
(13) Brian O’Driscoll
(12) Felipe Contepomi
(11) Denis Hickie
(10) David Holwell
(9) Guy Easterby

(1) Reggie Corrigan (Capt)
(2) Shane Byrne
(3) Emmett Byrne
(4) Leo Cullen
(5) Malcolm O’Kelly
(6) Eric Miller
(7) Shane Jennings
(8) Victor Costello

Replacements from:

Ricky Nebbett, Gavin Hickie, David Blaney, Ben Gissing, Des Dillon, Ciaran Potts, Aidan McCullen, Brian O’Meara, Brian O’Riordan, Gary Brown, Kieran Lewis, David Quinlan

Fit-again Roger Wilson has returned to Mark McCall’s Ulster side, along with winger Scott Young and Ireland internationals David Humphreys and Kevin Maggs, for their daunting visit to Pool Six leaders Stade Francais (kick-off 1.00pm).

Despite missing Argentine scrum-half and captain Agustin Pichot, due to the Pumas’ Test against South Africa, and injured France props Sylvain Marconnet (shoulder) and Peter de Villiers (arm), Stade will provide formidable opposition.

McCall’s switches see Maggs – set for his seventh cap – and Humphreys replace Adam Larkin and Paul Steinmetz, with Andrew Maxwell losing out to Young – whose involvement sees recent Ireland cap Tommy Bowe file onto the left wing.

Recurring leg injuries, and an ankle strain in the run up to the US Eagles test, have seen 23-year-old Wilson inactive for a number of weeks, but his presence alone should boost an Ulster side who are still without a European win on French soil.

“We can’t go over there looking for an honourable loss,” said McCall, who has presided over five wins in 12 competitive outings this season.

“We have to go over there, and be positive – take the game to them, get the ball in hand and be really on top of our game.

“Stade have a very experienced pack and probably the best defensive lineout around so we will have to be clever in possession, and without it,” he added.

The closest Ulster have come to edging Stade was last January’s 13-10 loss – when Humphreys scored a first half try off a charge down of a Brian Liebenberg clearance kick.

However two Diego Dominguez penalties in the second half saw the Stade Jean Bouin residents to victory.


(15) Bryn Cunningham
(14) Scott Young
(13) Jonny Bell
(12) Kevin Maggs
(11) Tommy Bowe
(10) David Humphreys
(9) Kieran Campbell
(1) Ronan McCormack
(2) Paul Shields
(3) Rod Moore
(4) Rowan Frost
(5) Matt McCullough
(6) Campbell Feather (Capt)
(7) Neil Best
(8) Roger Wilson

(16) Nigel Brady
(17) Bryan Young
(18) Gary Longwell
(19) Tim Barker
(20) Neil Doak
(21) Adam Larkin
(22) Paul Steinmetz