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Sexton sits out Thomond Park trip as Carbery returns for Munster

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Joey Carbery and Craig Casey during Munster rugby squad training

Joey Carbery and Craig Casey during Munster rugby squad training

Joey Carbery and Craig Casey during Munster rugby squad training

JOHNNY SEXTON has been given another weekend off after his Six Nations exploits as Leinster travel to Thomond Park without their captain.

The veteran out-half is being wrapped in cotton wool ahead of the Heineken Champions Cup last 16 clashes against Connacht, with Ross Byrne named to start for the league leaders who have recalled a string of Ireland internationals.

Munster have also restored a number of Andy Farrell's men to a strong side that will be led by Peter O'Mahony.

Joey Carbery and Conor Murray are at half-back, with Leinster-bound second-row Jason Jenkins named to start for the first time after an injury-hit campaign.

Leinster have Hugo Keenan, Garry RIngrose, Robbie Henshaw, James Lowe and Jamison Gibson-Park on deck behind the scrum, while their back-row is the Ireland trio of Caelan Doris, Josh van der Flier and Jack Conan.

Leo Cullen keeps Dan Sheehan, Cian Healy and Tadhg Furlong on a bench that features six forwards and two backs, while Munster go for a traditional 5/3 blend with Keith Earls back from injury and in the No 23 shirt.

It's a big test for a back three of Matt Gallagher, Calvin Nash and Shane Daly, while Chris Farrell partners Damian de Allende in midfield.

Up front, Jeremy Loughman, Niall Scannell and Stephen Archer will lock horns with Ed Byrne, James Tracy and Michael Ala'alatoa, while Fineen Wycherley partners Jenkins as Leinster go for Devin Toner and Jack Dunne in the second-row.

MUNSTER - M Gallagher; C Nash, C Farrell, D de Allende, S Daly; J Carbery, C Murray; J Loughman, N Scannell, S Archer; J Jenkins, F Wycherley; P O'Mahony (capt), C Cloete, G Coombes. Reps: D Barron, J Wycherley, J Ryan, T Ahern, A Kendellen, C Casey, B Healy, K Earls.

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LEINSTER - H Keenan; J O'Brien, G Ringrose (capt), R Henshaw, J Lowe; R Byrne, J Gibson-Park; E Byrne, J Tracy, M Ala'alatoa; D Toner, J Dunne; C Doris, J van der Flier, J Conan. Reps: D Sheehan, C Healy, T Furlong, R Molony, J Murphy, L McGrath, C Frawley, M Deegan.


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