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Sexton To Start For Leinster

Sexton To Start For Leinster

The Leinster team to face Racing Metro 92 in Saturday’s Heineken Cup Pool 2 opener at the RDS (kick-off 1.30pm) has been named.

Leinster coach Joe Schmidt has made five changes to the team that defeated Munster in last weekend’s historic league clash at the Aviva Stadium.

The fit-again Jonathan Sexton will make his first start of the season and will partner Eoin Reddan at half-back for the visit of Top 14 table toppers, Racing Metro 92.

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Reddan takes over from Isaac Boss at scrum half, with Sexton indirectly replacing the benched Shane Horgan.

Gordon D’Arcy will continue his centre partnership with Brian O’Driscoll in a back-line which includes six Ireland internationals as well as Isa Nacewa, who starts on the right wing in place of Horgan.

In the forwards, South African Heinke van der Merwe will make his Heineken Cup debut at loosehead prop, with Cian Healy making way.

The game has come too soon for Leinster’s regular captain Leo Cullen, who is working his way back from a dislocated shoulder.

But flanker Shane Jennings has been passed fit to return from injury. He forms an all-Ireland international back row unit with Sean O’Brien and stand-in skipper Jamie Heaslip.

There are four potential Heineken Cup debutants on the bench, in the form of Jason Harris-Wright, Simon Shawe, Mariano Galarza and Dominic Ryan.

Ticket sales are approaching the 17,000 mark for Saturday’s game. Tickets are still available (priced €;10 to €;60) online here, from Spar (Donnybrook) and the Leinster Rugby Store (Donnybrook).

Tickets will also be on sale at the gate on the day from the Ticketmaster box offices (located on Anglesea Road and Simmonscourt Road) from 9am.

*The match will be broadcast live on Sky Sports 1/HD1 and RTE Radio 1.

LEINSTER (v Racing Metro 92): Rob Kearney; Isa Nacewa, Brian O’Driscoll, Gordon D’Arcy, Luke Fitzgerald; Jonathan Sexton, Eoin Reddan; Heinke van der Merwe, Richardt Strauss, Mike Ross, Nathan Hines, Devin Toner, Sean O’Brien, Shane Jennings, Jamie Heaslip (capt).

Replacements: Jason Harris-Wright, Cian Healy, Simon Shawe, Mariano Galarza, Dominic Ryan, Isaac Boss, Fergus McFadden, Shane Horgan.