Thursday 18 January 2018

Rob Kearney and Mike Ross ruled out of Champions Cup opener with Wasps

Leinster full-back Rob Kearney has been ruled out of the Champions Cup opener against Wasps
Leinster full-back Rob Kearney has been ruled out of the Champions Cup opener against Wasps

Ireland and Lions full-back Rob Kearney has failed to recover in time for Sunday’s Champions Cup clash at the RDS.

Ian Madigan will wear the number 15 shirt with Jimmy Gopperth partnering Eoin Reddan at half-back. Rob Kearney has been suffering from back spasms and has failed to recover.

There are five changes to the front eight that started in last weekend's win over Zebre in the Guinness PRO12. Leinster captain Jamie Heaslip starts in the back row and will be flanked by Rhys Ruddock and Dominic Ryan. Ryan returns after being rested against Zebre and will make his sixth start of the season.

Devin Toner comes in to start in the second row alongside Mike McCarthy in place of Kane Douglas who takes a spot among the replacements.

Sean Cronin starts in the front row in place of Richardt Strauss and Michael Bent replaces the injured Marty Moore.

Zane Kirchner and Darragh Fanning are retained in the back three from the Zebre game.

Leinster's midfield partnership also remains the same, with Noel Reid and Gordon D'Arcy starting at 12 and 13 respectively.

On the bench there is a return for Luke Fitzgerald who could feature for Leinster for the first time since playing the full 80 minutes in last season's win against Munster in the Aviva.

Leinster team to play Wasps: (15-9) Ian Madigan, Z Kirchner, G D’Arcy, N Reid, D Fanning, J Gopperth, E Reddan; (1-8) J McGrath, S Cronin, M Bent, D Toner, M McCarthy, R Ruddock, D Ryan, J Heaslip (c).

Replacements: (16-23) R Strauss, E Byrne, T Furlong, K Douglas, J Conan, I Boss, M McGrath, L Fitzgerald.

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