Monday 21 May 2018

Leo Cullen names Leinster team to face Racing 92 in Champions Cup final

Jonathan Sexton ahead of captain's run at the San Mames Stadium
Jonathan Sexton ahead of captain's run at the San Mames Stadium

Leinster boss Leo Cullen has named his starting team to face Racing 92 in tomorrow's Champions Cup final.

As expected, Luke McGrath starts alongside Johnny Sexton but with the former carrying an ankle injury, Jamison Gibson-Park in on the bench which means James Lowe does not make the match-day 23.

Under tournament rules regarding 'non-European' players, Cullen can only pick two from Scott Fardy and his two Kiwi signings and Jordan Larmour profits with the biggest start of his career to date with Fergus McFadden out for the season.

There is no place for Dan Carter in the Racing team despite the absence of Maxime Machenaud. Instead, it's Teddy Iribaren who takes the number nine jersey while there is no place in the squad for in-form winger Juan Imoff.

Leinster (v Racing 92): R Kearney; J Larmour, G Ringrose, R Henshaw, I Nacewa; J Sexton, L McGrath; C Healy, S Cronin, T Furlong; D Toner, J Ryan; S Fardy, D Leavy, J Murphy.

Replacements: James Tracy, Jack McGrath, Andrew Porter, Rhys Ruddock, Jack Conan, Jamison Gibson-Park, Joey Carbery, Rory O’Loughlin

Racing 92: Louis Dupichot;  Teddy Thomas, Virimi Vakatawa, Henry Chavancy, Marc Andreu; Pat Lambie, Teddy Iribaren; Eddy Ben Arous, Camille Chat, Cedate Gomes Sa, Donnacha Ryan, Leone Nakarawa, Wenceslas Lauret, Bernard Le Roux, Yannick Nyanga

Replacements: Ole Avei, Vasil Kakovin, Census Johnston, Boris Palu, Baptiste Chouzenoux, Antoine Gibert, Dan Carter, Joe Rokocoko

Everything you need to know about Leinster v Racing 92

Where is it on?

The final this year takes place in the San Mamés Stadium in Bilbao, Northern Spain.

What's the weather forecast?

There had been fears Leinster could suffer a similar fate to Munster in the semi-final, where the Irish side struggled under the blistering heat in Bordeaux. However, the weather forecast for Bilbao on Saturday is a cool 14 degrees, overcast with the chance of showers. In other words, conditions Leinster will encounter on any other week of the year, and the weather should not be a significant factor this weekend.

When is it on?

Kick-off in Bilbao is on Saturday at 16:45 Irish time.

Where can I watch it?

On TV you can watch the final on BT Sport 2 and Sky Sports Action, and online you can follow the game on our live blog on independent.ie.

What's at stake?

Leinster are in their first European final since the 2011-12 season, where they won their third title. Only Toulouse have won four European cups, and Leinster would be joining that elite group with victory in Bilbao.

Racing are yet to win Europe's premier club competition, reaching the final for the first time two seasons ago but they fell short against English side Saracens.

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