Tuesday 12 December 2017

Sexton fit to make Leinster return

Johnny Sexton is returning to Leinster after a two year spell at Racing Metro
Johnny Sexton is returning to Leinster after a two year spell at Racing Metro
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

Johnny Sexton will make his first start for Leinster since returning from a two-year spell in France with Racing Metro when the Blues take on Benetton Treviso tomorrow (3.0).

Sexton has fully recovered from a groin injury that ruled him out of Ireland's World Cup quarter-final defeat to Argentina and he is one of nine changes in what is a very strong starting XV.

Dave Kearney, Luke Fitzgerald, Eoin Reddan, Jack McGrath, Sean Cronin, Tadhg Furlong, Mike McCarthy, Rhys Ruddock and Jordi Murphy all come into the side having returned from international duty as Leo Cullen looks to build on last weekend's impressive win against Glasgow.

Cullen also confirmed that Isa Nacewa has replaced Jamie Heaslip as the club's captain and that Heaslip will instead take up a vice-captain role alongside Sexton.


The number eight took over the Irish captaincy when Paul O'Connell was prematurely ruled out of the World Cup through injury and he was expected to continue in the role at Leinster.

Treviso have lost their last 12 league games but they did hold Leinster to a draw in the same fixture last year.

They include Italian internationals Edoardo Gori and captain Alessandro Zanni in their side but Cullen has signalled his intentions by naming his strongest possible team.

They should have little trouble seeing off the league's bottom side.

Verdict: Leinster

Benetton Treviso - J Hayward; L Nitoglia, A Pratichetti, S Christie, S Ragusi; L McLean, E Gori; M Zanusso, D Giazzon, R Harden; M Fuser, T Paulo; F Minto, A Zanni (capt), A Steyn. Reps: L Bigi, A De Marchi, S Ferrari, J Montauriol, R Barbieri, C Smylie, J Ambrosini, T Iannone.

Leinster - I Nacewa (capt); F McFadden, B Te'o, L Fitzgerald, D Kearney; J Sexton, E Reddan; J McGrath, S Cronin, T Furlong; H Triggs, M McCarthy; R Ruddock, J Murphy, J Conan. Reps: R Strauss, C Healy, M Moore, D Toner, J van der Flier, L McGrath, C Marsh, N Reid.

Ref - A Brace (IRFU)

Treviso v Leinster, Live Sky Sports 3, 3.0 tomorrow

Irish Independent

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