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Strauss Starts For Leinster

Strauss Starts For Leinster

The Leinster team to face Clermont Auvergne in Saturday’s Heineken Cup round 4 duel at the Aviva Stadium (kick-off 3.40pm) has been named.

Springbok prop Heinke van der Merwe has recovered from injury, slotting back in as one of two changes to the front row alongside Ireland hooker Richardt Strauss.

They line up alongside Mike Ross, with skipper Leo Cullen continuing his second row partnership with Damian Browne.

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Shane Jennings, a second half replacement away to Clermont Auvergne last weekend, starts in the back row alongside fellow Ireland internationals Sean O’Brien and Jamie Heaslip.

Eoin Reddan partners Jonathan Sexton in the only change to the back-line which started last Sunday’s narrow 15-12 defeat at the Stade Marcel Michelin.

Andrew Goodman, who had an impressive Heineken Cup bow in the round 3 tie, will continue his centre partnership with the vastly-experienced Gordon D’Arcy.

David Kearney, meanwhile, has recovered from injury to take his place amongst a replacements bench which features several Ireland internationals.

Speaking ahead of the rematch with the Pool 5 leaders, flanker Sean O’Brien said: “(Last week’s game) could have swung in our favour at certain times but it wasn’t the case.

“As Joe (Schmidt) said earlier, we’ve to sharpen up this week and get back to doing what we do well, get our accuracy right and really go after them this week.

“If we get our performance right, we’ll be there or thereabouts and that’s what we’re going out to do this week.”

LEINSTER (v Clermont Auvergne): Ian Madigan; Fergus McFadden, Gordon D’Arcy, Andrew Goodman, Isa Nacewa; Jonathan Sexton, Eoin Reddan; Heinke van der Merwe, Richardt Strauss, Mike Ross, Leo Cullen (capt), Damian Browne, Sean O’Brien, Shane Jennings, Jamie Heaslip.

Replacements: Sean Cronin, Cian Healy, Michael Bent, Devin Toner, Kevin McLaughlin, Isaac Boss, Andrew Conway David Kearney.