Tuesday 6 December 2016

Leinster sweat on Sexton for Montpellier clash as White hails Carbery

Published 21/10/2016 | 02:30

'The Ireland out-half is the province’s major doubt for the crucial Champions Cup encounter at the Altrad Stadium.' Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
'The Ireland out-half is the province’s major doubt for the crucial Champions Cup encounter at the Altrad Stadium.' Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Johnny Sexton will be given a chance to prove his fitness at Leinster training this morning before Leo Cullen names his team to face Montpellier on Sunday.

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The Ireland out-half is the province's major doubt for the crucial Champions Cup encounter at the Altrad Stadium, with youngster Joey Carbery on stand-by to step in if required.

The 20-year-old impressed in the opening-day win over Castres last weekend, but facing an international-laden Top 14 outfit in the south of France is a very different challenge, particularly given the lack of experience around him: Cullen started with Luke McGrath (23), Carbery, Robbie Henshaw (23) and Garry Ringrose (21) at the RDS last weekend.

However, Montpellier coach Jake White was impressed by the performances of half-backs McGrath and Carbery and doesn't believe the duo will be a weak link for Leinster.

"You can say that, but I watched their game last week and they were outstanding," the 2007 World Cup winning coach said.

"Guys, when they come in like that. . . if anyone had told you that the No 10 was relatively inexperienced, you would have said 'you're kidding'.

"Johnny Sexton is a world-class player, one of the best players in the world, so to have him there I'm sure adds great confidence, but the confidence that the Nos 9 and 10 got out of last week's game against Castres, I'm sure they'll be able to carry it into the next fixture.

"It is a do or die game for us. That's no secret - we're not under any false illusions about how tough it's going to be."

Cullen could bring Sean O'Brien back into his side for the trip to Montpellier when he names his team at noon, while he is likely to be without tighthead prop Tadhg Furlong, which means Mike Ross will start and Michael Bent will be on the bench.

Munster director of rugby Rassie Erasmus will name his team at the later time of 3.0 after he and his squad attend the funeral of Anthony Foley in Killaloe.

Irish Independent

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