Leinster head coach Leo Cullen has announced his first Champions Cup team of the season as the province welcome Montpellier to the RDS for Saturday’s Pool 3 opener (kick-off 1pm).
With 15,000 tickets sold, there is still availability for the game with tickets on sale at leinsterrugby.ie or on match day from the Ticketmaster office inside the Anglesea Road gate.
In welcome news, Leo Cullen is able to welcome back captain Isa Nacewa, who has recovered from a calf injury to take his place in the centre. He will combine with Robbie Henshaw who made his seasonal debut against Munster last week.
Otherwise, it is the same back-three that took to the pitch against Munster with Joey Carbery lining out at full-back for the fifth time in seven games this season, while Adam Byrne is also set for fifth start this term on the right wing and Barry Daly is selected on the left for his European debut.
Luke McGrath will have Ross Byrne for company at half-back, the latter replacing the injured Jonathan Sexton at out-half. The 22-year-old Byrne, who played four times in last season’s Champions Cup, will make his second start at this level. Sexton has a dead leg but is expected to be fit for next week’s round 2 trip to Glasgow Warriors.
Up front, it is as you were with Jack McGrath, James Tracy and Tadhg Furlong in the front row and Devin Toner and Champions Cup debutant Scott Fardy behind them in the second row. Rhys Ruddock, Josh van der Flier and Jack Conan complete the starting XV.
Noel Reid has recovered from injury to take his place on an otherwise unchanged bench from the Munster match. Ross Molony is in line to make his 50th appearance for Leinster at the age of just 23.
LEINSTER (v Montpellier): Joey Carbery; Adam Byrne, Robbie Henshaw, Isa Nacewa (capt), Barry Daly; Ross Byrne, Luke McGrath; Jack McGrath, James Tracy, Tadhg Furlong, Devin Toner, Scott Fardy, Rhys Ruddock, Josh van der Flier, Jack Conan.
Replacements: Sean Cronin, Cian Healy, Michael Bent, Ross Molony, Jordi Murphy, Jamison Gibson-Park, Noel Reid, Fergus McFadden.