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Lowe set to return for Leinster for Champions Cup final in Bilbao

Luke McGrath is likely to return to the starting XV for the clash with Racing 92.

LUKE MCGRATH IS set to recover from the ankle injury that kept him out of Leinster’s Champions Cup semi-final victory over the Scarlets, meaning James Lowe is likely to return on the left wing for the final against Racing 92 on Saturday in Bilbao.

The popular Kiwi wing missed out on the semi-final due to Leinster being able to pick only two of Lowe, Scott Fardy and Jamison Gibson-Park in their matchday squads because of EPCR’s rule around ‘non-European players’.

James Lowe celebrates his try James Lowe celebrates his try against Saracens in the quarter-final. Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

With McGrath out of action, Leinster needed Gibson-Park to start and Lowe was unlucky to be omitted.

With Lowe set to come back on the left wing for the clash with Racing, it looks likely that the experienced and versatile Isa Nacewa will move to the right, with Rob Kearney completing the back three.

Robbie Henshaw and Garry Ringrose are set to lineout in midfield again, while Johnny Sexton will wear the 10 shirt for Leinster.

Up front, Leo Cullen and Stuart Lancaster are likely to back the same starting pack that has overcome Saracens and the Scarlets so far in the knock-out stages.

That would mean Cian Healy, Sean Cronin and Tadhg Furlong in the front row and James Ryan and Devin Toner combining in the second row.

Fardy, Dan Leavy and Jordi Murphy are set to continue as the back row trio, while the return to fitness of Rhys Ruddock should see him included on the Leinster bench alongside Jack Conan.

Best known as a flanker, Ruddock would also provide second row cover from the bench, although the presence of Fardy in the back row also offers another option should one of the starting locks need to be replaced.

With Gibson-Park set to be the unlucky player to miss out on account of the limit to two ‘non-European players,’ Nick McCarthy is likely to be included on the bench too.

Possible Leinster team v Racing:

15. Rob Kearney
14. Isa Nacewa
13. Garry Ringrose
12. Robbie Henshaw
11. James Lowe
10. Johnny Sexton
9. Luke McGrath

1. Cian Healy
2. Seán Cronin
3. Tadhg Furlong
4. Devin Toner
5. James Ryan
6. Scott Fardy
7. Dan Leavy
8. Jordi Murphy

Replacements:

16. James Tracy
17. Jack McGrath
18. Andrew Porter
19. Rhys Ruddock
20. Jack Conan
21. Nick McCarthy
22. Joey Carbery
23. Jordan Larmour

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Murray Kinsella

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