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Leinster Include Sexton, McCarthy And O’Brien

Leinster Include Sexton, McCarthy And O’Brien

Leinster head coach Leo Cullen has announced his team for the European Champions Cup round 2 match against Montpellier at the Altrad Stadium on Sunday (kick-off 2pm local time/1pm Irish time).

There are six changes to the side that accounted for Castres at the RDS last weekend, with some new additions also to the bench. 

In the back-line it is largely as you were with only one change. The back-three again includes Rob Kearney at full-back, Zane Kirchner on the right wing and Isa Nacewa as captain on the left.

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Robbie Henshaw and Garry Ringrose will continue their midfield partnership for the third game in a row. Luke McGrath starts at scrum half with the fit-again Jonathan Sexton selected at number 10 for his 130th Leinster cap. Sexton missed out on selection in round 1 owing to a tight hamstring. 

It is a completely new front row with a mixture of youth and experience in the starting trio of Cian Healy, James Tracy and Mike Ross. Healy and Ross have over 300 Leinster caps between them, but it will only be hooker Tracy’s second ever European start in what will be his 23rd game for Leinster. 

Devin Toner continues in the second row but is partnered this weekend by Mike McCarthy who has recovered from a foot injury to take his place in the pack. 

After playing for Leinster ‘A’ last Saturday in the British & Irish Cup, Sean O’Brien makes his long-awaited senior return having last played for Leinster over nine months ago – in the Champions Cup against Bath. The Tullow native will win his 103rd cap on Sunday. 

Josh van der Flier, the province’s man-of-the-match against Castres, continues at openside flanker while Jamie Heaslip is again selected at number 8 having become the most-capped Leinster forward of all-time last weekend (222 caps). 

Leo Cullen has selected six forwards and two backs on his bench, with Mick Kearney in line to make his European debut for Leinster. All of his previous 12 caps for the province have been won in the PRO12.

LEINSTER (v Montpellier): Rob Kearney; Zane Kirchner, Garry Ringrose, Robbie Henshaw, Isa Nacewa (capt); Jonathan Sexton, Luke McGrath; Cian Healy, James Tracy, Mike Ross, Devin Toner, Mike McCarthy, Sean O’Brien, Josh van der Flier, Jamie Heaslip.

Replacements: Sean Cronin, Jack McGrath, Michael Bent, Mick Kearney, Jordi Murphy, Dan Leavy, Jamison Gibson Park, Joey Carbery.