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Larmour And Luke McGrath To Start For Leinster In Champions Cup Final

Larmour And Luke McGrath To Start For Leinster In Champions Cup Final

The Leinster team to play Racing 92 in Saturday’s Champions Cup final San Mamés Stadium in Bilbao (kick-off 5.45pm local time/4.45pm Irish time) has been named by head coach Leo Cullen.

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Isa Nacewa will lead the team in his final European appearance for Leinster before his retirement. There are two changes to the side that started last month’s impressive semi-final win over the Scarlets, as Luke McGrath returns from an ankle injury at scrum half and Jordan Larmour replaces the injured Fergus McFadden (hamstring) on the right wing.

It will be Larmour’s third start in six Champions Cup games this season, featuring in the back-three alongside the experienced Rob Kearney and skipper Nacewa, who has scored 18 tries in 60 European outings for Leinster. Westmeath man Robbie Henshaw is partnered by Garry Ringrose for the province’s first European Cup final since their last title success in 2012.

McGrath is fit to take his place in the half-backs where he links up again with the in-form Jonathan Sexton, who has scored four tries and 70 points in Leinster’s unbeaten run through to this weekend’s decider in the Spanish city of Bilbao.

Up front, Cian Healy and Tadhg Furlong are the props with Sean Cronin, winning his 50th European cap, selected at hooker. Devin Toner starts in the second row with James Ryan, Leinster’s Young Player of the Year award recipient, beside him.

Leinster will field the same back row trio that excelled against the Scarlets last time out in Europe, with Scott Fardy, Dan Leavy, who was crowned Players’ Player of the Year and Supporters’ Player of the Year at the Leinster Awards night, and Jordi Murphy completing the starting XV.

Rhys Ruddock has shaken off a hamstring injury to take his place in the matchday 23 for the first time since the Saracens quarter-final. He is part of a strong bench which includes Jamison Gibson-Park as reserve scrum half, the second of the non-Europeans (as per tournament rules) in the final squad with New Zealander James Lowe the unfortunate one to miss out.

LEINSTER (v Racing 92): Rob Kearney; Jordan Larmour, Garry Ringrose, Robbie Henshaw, Isa Nacewa (capt); 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, Jack Conan, Jamison Gibson-Park, Joey Carbery, Rory O’Loughlin.