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Leinster Make Nine Changes For Wasps Showdown

Leinster Make Nine Changes For Wasps Showdown

After training in UCD this morning, Leinster head coach Leo Cullen announced his team for Sunday’s much-anticipated European Champions Cup opener against Wasps at the RDS (kick-off 1pm).

Leinster Rugby have also confirmed that ticket sales are over the 16,500 mark. Tickets are still on sale on leinsterrugby.ie, and will be available on match day from 11.30am at the ticket office inside the Anglesea Road gate.

In team news, Leo Cullen has made nine changes to his starting line-up from the Scarlets game as Leinster take their first steps in Pool 5 of the Champions Cup.

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Isa Nacewa is back to captain the province from full-back in what will be his first European appearance since the 2013 Challenge Cup final. Zane Kirchner continues on the right wing with Dave Kearney coming in on the left to complete the back-three.

With Ben Te’o and Luke Fitzgerald ruled out, Noel Reid and Fergus McFadden (pictured below) pair up in the centre. Reid has played in all of Leinster’s games so far this season and also started the corresponding fixture last season at inside centre, while McFadden also has experience of playing in the number 13 jersey against Wasps having featured there in the 2013 Challenge Cup quarter-final.

Eoin Reddan gets the nod to start at scrum half against his former club with whom he won a Heineken Cup in 2007 and an English Premiership title in 2008, while his half-back partner Jonathan Sexton is set for his first RDS start since returning from Racing 92.

Only Mike Ross is retained in the front row at tighthead prop having scored only his second ever try for Leinster in last weekend’s win over the Scarlets. Jack McGrath, winning his 80th Leinster cap, and Richardt Strauss complete the front row at loosehead and hooker.

Devin Toner and Mike McCarthy form an experienced second row combination with over 450 professional club appearances between them. McCarthy started out his professional career with Wasps and made six appearances in total before moving to Connacht.

In the back row Jordi Murphy and Sean O’Brien are selected at blindside and openside flanker respectively, while Jamie Heaslip will make his 75th Champions Cup appearance when he lines out at the base of the scrum.

On the bench, New Zealander Hayden Triggs is in line to make his European debut as is former World Rugby Junior Player of the Year nominee Garry Ringrose.

LEINSTER (v Wasps): Isa Nacewa (capt); Zane Kirchner, Fergus McFadden, Noel Reid, Dave Kearney; Jonathan Sexton, Eoin Reddan; Jack McGrath, Richardt Strauss, Mike Ross, Devin Toner, Mike McCarthy, Jordi Murphy, Sean O’Brien, Jamie Heaslip.

Replacements: Sean Cronin, Cian Healy, Tadhg Furlong, Hayden Triggs, Jack Conan, Luke McGrath, Ian Madigan, Garry Ringrose.