Saturday 10 December 2016

Healy earns late reprieve as Leinster target Toulon revenge

Published 19/12/2015 | 02:30

Cian Healy's earns him a bench slot after his suspension was lifted on appeal. Photo: Sportsfile
Cian Healy's earns him a bench slot after his suspension was lifted on appeal. Photo: Sportsfile

Leinster will try to sing a redemption song before a packed Aviva audience tonight even if, a bit like Panto season, any response to their Champions Cup hopes has to be, "Behind you!"

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A late reprieve for Cian Healy earns him a bench slot after his suspension was lifted late last night on appeal.

Instead, Leo Cullen's men must begin looking towards the future; their Pro12 campaign will form the basis by which they avoid another stinker of a pool and the emergence of new young talent is vital to that cause.

Scrum-half Nick McCarthy is one of those bright young things and the Ireland U-20 star is in line to make his debut from the bench in the absence of hamstring victim Isaac Boss.

Many will argue that Garry Ringrose, another of Cullen's most positive introductions during the World Cup, deserves to earn his chance in the sun ahead of some other more extravagantly rewarded and under-performing colleagues.

This match will mirror last weekend in terms of the influence either side can gain within the breakdown.

Sean O'Brien is not here today but it is less than a year since his outrage at Mr Barnes - "You can't talk to that man!" - infected many of his colleagues.

Rather than wait for interpretation, Leinster must be accurate enough to do their own interpreting for him; banging on walls or repeating dumb errors will not cut it.

The late loss of Fergus McFadden, who picked up a calf strain on Tuesday and failed to come through a final fitness test yesterday, is a blow but Ringrose doesn't get a call.

Dave Kearney, instead, comes into the right wing slot, while Reddan and Jack McGrath start too.

Toulon are as fully armed as ever and logic suggests they can't be as poor twice in a row; last week may have been Leinster's chance. Verdict: Toulon

Leinster - R Kearney; D Kearney, B Te'o, L Fitzgerald, I Nacewa (c); J Sexton, E Reddan; J McGrath, R Strauss, M Ross, D Toner, M McCarthy, R Ruddock, J van der Flier, J Heaslip. Replacements: S Cronin, C Healy, M Moore, T Denton, J Murphy, N McCarthy, I Madigan, Z Kirchner.

Toulon - D Armitage; B Habana, M Bastareaud, M Nonu, D Mitchell; M Giteau (c), E Escande; F Fresia, G Guirado, M Stevens, J Suta, R Taofifenua, J Smith, S Armitage, D Vermeulen. Replacements: A Etrillard, X Chiocci, L Chilachava, M Gorgodze, J Fernandez Lobbe, T Taylor, S Tillous-Borde, K Mikautadze.

Ref - W Barnes (England)

Leinster v Toulon,

Live, Sky Sports 3, 5.15

- David Kelly

Irish Independent

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