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La Rochelle v Leinster: What time, what channel and what are the teams? Everything you need to know about the big game


Leinster's Leo Cullen and La Rochelle's Ronan O'Gara. Pictures: Roberto Bregani/Sportsfile and Romain Biard/Sportsfile

Leinster's Leo Cullen and La Rochelle's Ronan O'Gara. Pictures: Roberto Bregani/Sportsfile and Romain Biard/Sportsfile

Leinster's Leo Cullen and La Rochelle's Ronan O'Gara. Pictures: Roberto Bregani/Sportsfile and Romain Biard/Sportsfile

Leinster travel to La Rochelle on Sunday for a mouthwatering Champions Cup semi-final with the presence of Munster and Ireland legend Ronan O'Gara in the home dug-out adding to the intrigue.

Here is everything you need to know about the game:

What time is kick-off?

Kick-off in the Stade Rochelais is at 3.0pm Irish time.

Where can I watch it?

The game will be shown on BT Sports 2 with coverage starting at 2.30pm. We'll also be live-blogging all the action as it happens here on Independent.ie from 2.0pm.

What are the line-ups?

Leinster head coach Leo Cullen has bought back the big guns after last week's shadow side fell to defeat against Munster in the Rainbow Cup.with the 11 players rested last Saturday back in the XV.

But with Johnny Sexton ruled out after his recent head knock, Ross Byrne will make his 100th appearance for the province, as the 26-year-old looks to back up his impressive quarter-final display in the win over Exeter. Byrne is partnered at half-back by Luke McGrath, who also returns to the starting team and captains his side.

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Garry Ringrose and James Ryan hold onto their places after making comebacks in that Munster clash, partnering Robbie Henshaw, and Devin Toner respectively.

Hugo Keenan continues at full-back, with Jordan Larmour and James Lowe making up a settled back-three with Rhys Ruddock, Josh van der Flier and Jack Conan in the back-row behind Cian Healy, Rónan Kelleher and Tadhg Furlong.

Leinster: H Keenan; J Larmour, G Ringrose, R Henshaw, J Lowe; R Byrne, L McGrath; C Healy, R Kelleher, T Furlong; D Toner, J Ryan; R Ruddock, J van der Flier, J Conan. Reps: J Tracy, E Byrne, A Porter, S Fardy, R Baird, R Osborne, C Frawley, R O'Loughlin.

Replacements: James Tracy, Ed Byrne, Andrew Porter, Scott Fardy, Ryan Baird, Rowan Osborne, Ciarán Frawley, Rory O’Loughlin.

La Rochelle: Brice Dulin; Dillyn Leyds, Geoffrey Doumayrou, Levani Botia, Raymond Rhule; Ihaia West, Tawera Kerr Barlow; Reda Wardi, Pierre Bourgarit, Uini Atonio, Romain Sazy (capt), Will Skelton, Grégory Alldritt, Wiaan Liebenberg, Victor Vito.

Replacements: Facundo Bosch, Dany Priso, Arthur Joly, Thomas Lavault, Kevin Gourdon, Arthur Retiere, Jules Plisson, Pierre Aguillon.

What are the coaches saying?

Leo Cullen: "We had a number of guys come back from injuries (against Munster) that had been out for a couple of weeks so it just adds to the depth of the group.

"Some players (Garry Ringrose and James Ryan) came back who had been out for a long while and got game time, which is good.

"It's a huge challenge for the club at La Rochelle against a couple of coaches that know us reasonably well, with Jono Gibbes and Ronan as well.

"We know it’s going to be a great challenge. They’re in great form. You saw in their game against Sale how dangerous they are."

Ronan O'Gara (speaking to Off The Ball): “Obviously it's home advantage with a big asterisk, but it makes it easier. I mean the thought of going to the RDS is a lot more difficult than the thought of receiving, even without the public.

"When it was Leinster it was like "Ooh, okay." That’s where we are now, it's us or them going to a final, so how exciting is that?

"I don’t know them that well, obviously I knew them as a player but that’s so long ago, and everything has moved on. And that might be an error to presume I know them.

"You may get a few breakthroughs by studying them, but we know how consistently good Leinster are.

"The reality is you can spend an awful lot of time coming up with one powerplay to dissect them with, but also how do we get speed in our game or how do we get us passing with accuracy? That has to remain a fundamental of our performance."

What are the odds?

The bookies make Leinster clear favourites - Paddy Power have the Blues to win at 4/9, La Rochelle at 15/8 with the draw after 80 minutes 19/1.

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