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O'Brien ruled out as Henshaw and Sexton return for Leinster's semi

The Scarlets are missing captain Ken Owens and Jake Ball, but James Davies is back.

Updated Friday 12.57

SEAN O’BRIEN HAS been ruled out of Leinster’s Pro-12 semi-final clash with the Scarlets tonight due to injury [KO 7.45, TG4/Sky Sports].

Sean O’Brien Sean O'Brien. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

O’Brien was named on the bench yesterday as he was set to return from a hamstring injury, but Leo Cullen today confirmed that he is suffering from a ‘tightness in his calf’ and has decided to withdraw him from the match-day 23.

Subsequently, Ross Byrne takes up his place on the bench.

Cullen named his side yesterday, and recalled Ireland internationals Johnny Sexton and Robbie Henshaw to the XV to face the Scarlets at the RDS.

Ireland lock Devin Toner is also restricted to a replacement spot as he misses out on starting, with Ross Molony and Hayden Triggs chosen ahead of him.

Joey Carbery, Adam Byrne and Isa Nacewa make up the back three, with Garry Ringrose and Henshaw in midfield, and Sexton combining with Luke McGrath in the halfbacks.

James Tracy gets the nod at hooker, joining Jack McGrath and Tadhg Furlong in the front row, while Rhys Ruddock, Josh van der Flier and Jack Conan make up the starting back row.

Jonathan Sexton Sexton is back at 10. Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

Cullen has opted for two back rows on the bench in O’Brien and Dan Leavy, with Jamison Gibson-Park and Zane Kirchner the only two replacement backs as Leinster opt for a 6/2 split. Fergus McFadden and Rory O’Loughlin are among those to miss out on the matchday 23 altogether.

Meanwhile, the Scarlets have been dealt a blow with captain Ken Owens and Wales lock Jake Ball not fit to feature, although the return of turnover specialist James Davies in the back row is a positive for them.

Former Leinster lock Tadhg Beirne starts in the Welsh side’s second row, as John Barclay takes over the captaincy from the injured Owens.

Leinster:

15. Joey Carbery
14. Adam Byrne
13. Garry Ringrose
12. Robbie Henshaw
11. Isa Nacewa (captain)
10. Johnny Sexton
9. Luke McGrath

1. Jack McGrath
2. James Tracy
3. Tadhg Furlong
4. Ross Molony
5. Hayden Triggs
6. Rhys Ruddock
7. Josh van der Flier
8. Jack Conan

Replacements:

16. Richardt Strauss
17. Cian Healy
18. Michael Bent
19. Devin Toner
20. Dan Leavy
21. Jamison Gibson-Park
22. Ross Byrne
23. Zane Kirchner

Scarlets:

15. Johnny McNicholl
14. Liam Williams
13. Jonathan Davies
12. Scott Williams
11. Steff Evans
10. Rhys Patchell
9. Gareth Davies

1. Rob Evans
2. Ryan Elias
3. Samson Lee
4. Lewis Rawlins
5. Tadhg Beirne
6. Aaron Shingler
7. James Davies
8. John Barclay (captain)

Replacements:

16. Emyr Phillips
17. Wyn Jones
18. Werner Kruger
19. David Bulbring
20. Will Boyde
21. Jonathan Evans
22. Hadleigh Parkes
23. DTH Van Der Merwe

- The original article (first published on Thursday) was updated to give news on Sean O’Brien. Additional reporting by Emma Duffy.

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