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Johnny Sexton leads Leinster as one of four Ireland stars back in team for Toulon


Jonathan Sexton leaves the pitch with a bloody nose against Munster

Jonathan Sexton leaves the pitch with a bloody nose against Munster

Jonathan Sexton leaves the pitch with a bloody nose against Munster

Captain Johnny Sexton has been declared fit to start Leinster's Heineken Champions Cup last 16 clash against Toulon.

The out-half will lead his side at the RDS, six days after he was withdrawn for a head injury assessment and didn't return in Leinster's Guinness PRO14 final win over Munster.

On Monday, Stuart Lancaster said the 35-year-old was progressing well through the Return to Play protocols and he has been passed fit to take the field.

That means Ross Byrne drops to the bench, while James Lowe, Ryan Baird and Tadhg Furlong all come into the starting XV.

Lowe replaces Dave Kearney, Baird comes in for Scott Fardy and Furlong replaces Andrew Porter and all three are among the replacements.

Luke McGrath partners Sexton, with Ireland's Jamison Gibson-Park missing out due to a training ground 'knock'.

Toulon, meanwhile, will be without their highly rated out-half Louis Carbonel, meaning Australian utility back Duncan Paia'aua starts at No 10.

Ma'a Nonu is suspended, but their pack has plenty of experience in the form of France captain Charles Ollivon, Springbok World Cup winner Eben Etzebeth and Italy legend Serigio Parisse.

Heineken Champions Cup last 16: Leinster v Toulon, tomorrow 5.30

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LEINSTER - H Keenan; J Larmour, R O'Loughlin, R Henshaw, J Lowe; J Sexton (capt), L McGrath; C Healy, R Kelleher, T Furlong; D Toner, R BBaird; R Ruddock, J van der Flier, J Conan. Replacements: J Tracy, E Byrne, A Porter, R Molony, S Fardy, H O'Sullivan, R Byrne, D Kearney.

RC TOULON - G Cordin; M Dakuwaqa, R Wulf, J Heriteau, G Villière; D Paia'aua, B Serin (capt); JB Gros, C Tolofua, B Gigashvili; E Etzebeth, R Taofifenua; S Rebbadj, C Ollivon, S Parisse. Reps: B Soury, S Taofifenua, E Setiano, R Lakafia, J Ory, F du Plessis, A Meric, S Moretti

Ref: M Carley (England)

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