Saturday 17 March 2018

Rob Kearney returns for Leinster while Munster ring the changes for Leicester visit

Leinster's Rob Kearney
Leinster's Rob Kearney Newsdesk Newsdesk

Leinster head coach Leo Cullen has named Rob Kearney at full back for Sunday's Champions Cup clash with Toulon, while Munster make nine changes for the visit of Leicester Tigers.

With last weekend's game against the Glasgow Warriors falling victim to the elements and to Storm Desmond, Leinster's  starting XV has a number of changes to the team that played against Ulster in the RDS two weeks ago.

In the backs Fergus McFadden, Kearney and Isaac Boss come in while in the pack it's a completely new front row.

Luke Fitzgerald and Ben Te'o start in the centre with Isaac Boss partnering Johnny Sexton in the half backs.

Up front it's as you were in the back row with Rhys Ruddock, Josh van der Flier and Jamie Heaslip named to start. It will be van der Flier's first start for Leinster in the Champions Cup having impressed off the bench against Bath in Round 2, scoring a try in the process, and when starting against Ulster last time out in the PRO12.

The second row is also unchanged from the Ulster game with Devin Toner partnering Mike McCarthy who makes his 59th appearance for Leinster but 299th senior club appearance in total.

Finally the front row sees a new combination of Cian Healy, Richardt Strauss and Mike Ross line up against the reigning European champions.

Ten of the starting XV also started in last season's 25-20 semi-final extra time loss to Toulon in Marseille.

Leinster team v Toulon: Rob Kearney; Fergus McFadden, Ben Te'o, Luke Fitzgerald, Isa Nacewa CAPTAIN; Johnny Sexton; Isaac Boss; Cian Healy, Richardt Strauss, Mike Ross; Devin Toner, Mike McCarthy; Rhys Ruddock, Josh van der Flier, Jamie Heaslip.


Conor Murray, Donnacha Ryan, Francis Saili and Mike Sherry have all come through this week's preparations in time to be included in Munster's squad to take on Leicester Tigers on Saturday in Thomond Park, ko 7.45pm.

Head Coach Anthony Foley makes nine changes to the side that started against Newport Gwent Dragons last Sunday.

Conor Murray is fit for selection
Conor Murray is fit for selection

In the front row James Cronin and BJ Botha return to scrum down on either side of hooker Niall Scannell who makes his first European appearance this weekend.

The returning Donnacha Ryan joins Dave Foley in the second row while Robin Copeland and CJ Stander are named alongside Dave O'Callaghan in the back row.

Named at blindside, this will be Copeland's first Champions Cup start for the province, while Stander returns to captain the side from number 8.

A changed half-back pairing sees Conor Murray and Ian Keatley renew their partnership after Murray successfully rehabbed a bruised bone he sustained during the round one encounter against Treviso.

The further changes to the backline see Francis Saili, Keith Earls and Andrew Conway all named.  Francis Saili starts with Denis Hurley in midfield while Simon Zebo is joined by Keith Earls and Andrew Conway in the back three.

Mike Sherry is included in the replacements following on from a knee injury he sustained in the opening round against Treviso while Tyler Bleyendaal is in line to make his European debut if sprung from the bench.

Munster:  Andrew Conway; Keith Earls, Francis Saili, Denis Hurley, Simon Zebo; Ian Keatley, Conor Murray; James Cronin, Niall Scannell, BJ Botha; Dave Foley, Donnacha Ryan; Robin Copeland, Dave O'Callaghan, CJ Stander Capt.

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