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McFadden And Ruddock To Start For Leinster

McFadden And Ruddock To Start For Leinster

Leinster head coach Leo Cullen has named his team to face Clermont Auvergne in Sunday’s European Champions Cup semi-final at Lyon’s Stade de Gerland (kick-off 4pm local time/3pm Irish time).

There is one injury enforced absence with Sean O’Brien ruled out with a tight hamstring. However, Leo Cullen revealed that he will be assessed again next week ahead of the GUINNESS PRO12 clash with Glasgow Warriors. The 30-year-old back rower was named in the British & Irish Lions squad on Wednesday.

Otherwise, it is a very similar Leinster side to the one that accounted for Wasps at the quarter-final stage three weeks ago.

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Isa Nacewa captains the province from the left wing on the occasion of his 50th European cap, with Fergus McFadden coming in on the right wing for his 150th Leinster appearance, taking over from Adam Byrne who has not made the matchday squad. The Old Belvedere clubman scored the clinching try against Wasps after replacing Byrne. Joey Carbery continues at full-back.

2017 Lion Robbie Henshaw and Garry Ringrose renew their centre partnership with Luke McGrath and Jonathan Sexton at half-back. Sexton, who is set for his second Lions tour, reached the 1200-point mark for Leinster against Wasps with his 12 points from the boot.

The front row is again the all-Ireland international trio of Jack McGrath, Richardt Strauss and Tadhg Furlong (two of whom are going on the Lions tour), and they are supported by Devin Toner and Hayden Triggs in the second row.

Rhys Ruddock, who was a try-scoring captain in last week’s derby win over Connacht, comes in at blindside flanker, with Dan Leavy moving across to the openside and Jack Conan continuing at number 8.

On the bench there is a welcome return to European action for fit-again hooker Sean Cronin, while Peter Dooley, who steps in for the suspended Cian Healy, is in line to make his first European appearance of the season should he be introduced.

LEINSTER (v Clermont Auvergne): Joey Carbery; Fergus McFadden, Garry Ringrose, Robbie Henshaw, Isa Nacewa (capt); Jonathan Sexton, Luke McGrath; Jack McGrath, Richardt Strauss, Tadhg Furlong, Devin Toner, Hayden Triggs, Rhys Ruddock, Dan Leavy, Jack Conan.

Replacements: Sean Cronin, Peter Dooley, Michael Bent, Ross Molony, Josh van der Flier, Jamison Gibson Park, Ross Byrne, Zane Kirchner.