The Leinster team for Sunday’s Champions Cup quarter-final against Saracens at the Aviva Stadium (kick-off 3.30pm) has been named by head coach Leo Cullen.
Over 49,000 tickets have now been sold with the remaining 2,000 tickets available from leinsterrugby.ie. Leinster have also confirmed that the recently-retired Jamie Heaslip will be introduced to the crowd at 3.20pm and a special presentation will be made to him by the Official Leinster Supporters Club (OLSC), on behalf of all Leinster supporters, on a stellar career in blue.
Everyone is encouraged to wear their blue on Sunday and to get to their seats early to give Heaslip the send off he deserves and to cheer the team onto the field shortly afterwards.
In team news, and as expected, Leo Cullen is able to recall a number of Ireland’s Grand Slam-winning players who missed last weekend’s GUINNESS PRO14 trip to the Ospreys. Rob Kearney returns at full-back with Fergus McFadden on the right wing and New Zealander James Lowe on the left.
Isa Nacewa is back to captain the side from inside centre, with Garry Ringrose, who is set for his first European run-out since December, outside him in the number 13 jersey.
Luke McGrath came through the Ospreys game last Saturday in Swansea with no issues on his return from a recent knee injury. He is joined at half-back by Jonathan Sexton, who scored three tries and 39 points in four pool games for Leinster this season.
In the pack, Cian Healy and Tadhg Furlong come in to join fellow Ireland international Sean Cronin in a strong front row combination, while Devin Toner and the 21-year-old James Ryan start together in the second row, as they did against Montpellier in round 6.
Jordi Murphy shifts from openside flanker to replace the injured Jack Conan at number 8, while Sean O’Brien also misses out through injury. Dan Leavy will win his 50th Leinster cap in the number 7 jersey and Scott Fardy, who has made the vast majority of his starts for the province at lock, switches to blindside flanker.
In a timely boost, Rhys Ruddock is back to full fitness and is set to be introduced from the bench for his first appearance since December’s away win over Exeter Chiefs. Max Deegan (21) is in line to make his Champions Cup debut if called upon.
LEINSTER (v Saracens): Rob Kearney; Fergus McFadden, Garry Ringrose, Isa Nacewa (capt), James Lowe; Jonathan Sexton, Luke McGrath; Cian Healy, Sean Cronin, Tadhg Furlong, Devin Toner, James Ryan, Scott Fardy, Dan Leavy, Jordi Murphy.
Replacements: James Tracy, Jack McGrath, Andrew Porter, Rhys Ruddock, Max Deegan, Nick McCarthy, Joey Carbery, Rory O’Loughlin.