Saturday 22 July 2017

Sexton's back to face Munster

Hugh Farrelly

JONATHAN SEXTON is in line for a dramatic recall to the Leinster squad for tomorrow night's Magners League semi-final showdown with Munster at the RDS.

The out-half has not played since fracturing his jaw in the Heineken Cup quarter-final victory over Clermont Auvergne on April 9, but it is understood that he had a plate removed this week and has been cleared to take part in tomorrow night's clash.

Australian Shaun Berne has been playing well in Sexton's absence and remains a solid option at 10, but coach Michael Cheika may opt to start the Ireland international which would set up a fascinating tussle with Munster's Ronan O'Gara ahead of next week's squad announcement for the summer tour to New Zealand and Australia.

O'Gara, who steered Munster into the semi-finals with four penalties against the Cardiff Blues, which was enough to earn the necessary losing bonus point, looks certain to start at 10 for the champions, but the news on centre Keith Earls is less encouraging for Tony McGahan's men.

The Limerick youngster continues to struggle with the groin injury that has plagued him since the Six Nations, with Lifeimi Mafi available to resume his midfield partnership alongside Jean de Villiers. Doug Howlett could also return on the right wing with Denis Hurley and Paul Warwick completing Munster's back three.

LEINSTER (possible) -- R Kearney; S Horgan, B O'Driscoll, G D'Arcy, I Nacewa; J Sexton, E Reddan; C Healy, J Fogarty, S Wright; N Hines, M O'Kelly; K McLaughlin, S Jennings, J Heaslip.

MUNSTER (possible) -- P Warwick; D Howlett, L Mafi, J De Villiers, D Hurley; R O'Gara, T O'Leary; M Horan, J Flannery, J Hayes; D O'Callaghan, M O'Driscoll; A Quinlan, D Wallace, J Coughlan.

Irish Independent

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