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Sexton And O’Brien To Start For Leinster

Sexton And O’Brien To Start For Leinster

The Leinster team to face the Scarlets in Friday night’s Magners League tussle at the RDS (kick-off 7.45pm) has been named, with Jonathan Sexton and Sean O’Brien coming in as the only two changes to the side that beat Munster in last weekend’s European semi-final.

The selected Leinster side shows two changes to the team that started last weekend’s memorable Heineken Cup semi-final victory over Munster.

Jonathan Sexton and Sean O’Brien start at out-half and blindside flanker respectively for the visit of the Scarlets for Leinster’s final home Magners League game of the season.

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Sexton partners Chris Whitaker at half-back, with O’Brien coming into a strong pack which includes Ireland internationals Bernard Jackman, Leo Cullen, Malcolm O’Kelly, Shane Jennings and Jamie Heaslip.

Over 12,500 tickets have now been sold for the game, with tickets currently available from Ticketmaster outlets nationwide, the Leinster Rugby Store and the Spar shop in Donnybrook.

Speaking ahead of the televised clash, Leinster coach Michael Cheika said: “We gave the players 48 hours off (after last weekend) as it was a pretty physical match for all of the players involved.

“And we have had a lighter week than we would normally have because of the shorter turnaround.

“In the last four years we have only lost four games at home and we still have very strong memories of the worst defeat of those four which was to the Scarlets last year.

“They have such an attacking threat that when they’re on their game, you’ve got to be very aware of that.

“It has focused the mind pretty well because we want to make sure we put in a good performance for two reasons.

“The first is because we want to finish as close to Munster as we can in the league. Secondly, because we want to put a good performance in for our supporters.

“We’re only two games away from the way we played in Edinburgh, which was poor. Even the first half against Glasgow, we’re only a game and a half away from that.

“We’re not kidding ourselves, we know that there will be some troughs in the next three week period, but there are things that we will keep working on internally to keep on improving.

“Sometimes you don’t always get it, but I think that the players’ maturity will get themselves better prepared mentally no matter what the situation is.”

LEINSTER (v Scarlets):
Isa Nacewa; Shane Horgan, Brian O’Driscoll, Gordon D’Arcy, Luke Fitzgerald; Jonathan Sexton, Chris Whitaker; Cian Healy, Bernard Jackman, Stan Wright, Leo Cullen (capt), Malcolm O’Kelly, Sean O’Brien, Shane Jennings, Jamie Heaslip.

Replacements: John Fogarty, Ronan McCormack, Devin Toner, Stephen Keogh, Simon Keogh, Fergus McFadden, Girvan Dempsey.