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Heaslip To Lead Leinster In Challenge Cup Final

Heaslip To Lead Leinster In Challenge Cup Final

Jamie Heaslip will lead an experienced Leinster team in Friday’s Amlin Challenge Cup final against Stade Francais at the RDS (kick-off 8pm).

On the day he announced a new one-year deal to remain with Ireland and Leinster, Brian O’Driscoll has been ruled out of the final as he has failed to recover from the back injury he picked up last weekend.

Sean Cronin starts at hooker in a pack which includes seven Irish-qualified forwards. Jack McGrath and Mike Ross complete the front row.

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Quinn Roux partners Devin Toner in the second row, with Rhys Ruddock coming into the back row alongside the fit-again Sean O’Brien and number 8 and captain Jamie Heaslip.

Fergus McFadden forms the centre partnership with Bank of Ireland Players’ Player of the Year Ian Madigan who will make his 80th Leinster appearance and his ninth in Europe this season.

Isaac Boss is paired with Jonathan Sexton at half-back, while Andrew Conway joins Isa Nacewa and full-back Rob Kearney in the back-three.

Regular skipper Leo Cullen is named among an experienced replacements bench which includes the likes of fellow international forwards Cian Healy, Shane Jennings and Richardt Strauss.

LEINSTER (v Stade Francais): Rob Kearney; Andrew Conway, Fergus McFadden, Ian Madigan, Isa Nacewa; Jonathan Sexton, Isaac Boss; Jack McGrath, Sean Cronin, Mike Ross, Quinn Roux, Devin Toner, Rhys Ruddock, Sean O’Brien, Jamie Heaslip (capt).

Replacements: Richardt Strauss, Cian Healy, Jamie Hagan, Leo Cullen, Shane Jennings, John Cooney, Andrew Goodman, David Kearney.