Thursday 19 September 2019

Sexton starts as Leinster look to ram home derby advantage

Rugby

Jonathan Sexton. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Jonathan Sexton. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Rúaidhrí O'Connor

Leo Cullen has named a close to full-strength starting XV for his Leinster team's visit to Thomond Park (5.15) as the European champions look to make it five wins in a row against their rivals Munster.

Johnny Sexton captains a team that includes heavy hitters like Garry Ringrose, Cian Healy, Tadhg Furlong and James Ryan as the Conference B leaders look to keep their winning run going.

Munster coach Johann van Graan is without his captain Peter O'Mahony for the clash, but otherwise has all of his Ireland front-liners available as Joey Carbery returns alongside Conor Murray and CJ Stander skippers the side. Young-gun Fineen Wycherley wears O'Mahony's No 6 shirt in the biggest start of his career to date.

Despite being moved from its regular St Stephen's Day slot, the match has long been sold-out and the home fans are keen to see their team bounce back after back-to-back away defeats to Castres and Ulster.

Van Graan's side need to keep pace with Conference A leaders Glasgow Warriors who face Edinburgh at 3pm, while they also need to inject momentum into their campaign ahead of a difficult January schedule that will define their season.

Leinster already have a healthy lead in Conference B and currently lead the way in terms of points scored and points conceded across all 14 sides.

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