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Dublin: 5 °C Tuesday 20 November, 2018
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Johnny Sexton succeeds retired Isa Nacewa as Leinster's captain

Rhys Ruddock is the province’s new vice-captain.

LEO CULLEN HAS named Johnny Sexton as Leinster’s new captain ahead of the 2018/19 season.

The Ireland out-half takes over from Isa Nacewa, who retired this summer after leading Leinster to the Champions Cup and Pro14 double last season.

Jonathan Sexton celebrates with fans after the game Sexton takes over from Nacewa. Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

27-year-old back row Rhys Ruddock has been confirmed as Leinster’s new vice-captain, having played for the province 142 times since his debut in 2009.

Cullen featured alongside both men during his own playing days and has relied upon them as important leaders in the Leinster squad since taking over as head coach in 2015.

“Johnny is a player and person who is always striving to improve and get better and he has driven incredibly high standards during his time at Leinster, where he has become one of the most decorated players in the game,” said Cullen.

“He has already carried out the role of captain of the team on a number of occasions and we are very fortunate to be able to announce Johnny as club captain for the 2018/19 season as he is a player that greatly deserves this honour.

“He is hugely excited by the challenge of leading his teammates over the course of the season as we look to maximise the team’s potential.

“Likewise Rhys, we have seen him grow into an outstanding leader at Leinster and indeed he has captained Ireland on tour to Japan and again last season against Fiji and I think that this appointment today is further evidence of that growth.

“You couldn’t get two players that better represent the values and behaviours that we want to be judged on than Johnny and Rhys and I look forward to working even closer with them over the coming months.”

Sexton made his Leinster debut in 2006 and has gone on to play for the province close to 150 times since.

The 33-year-old playmaker has featured in all four of the province’s Champions Cup successes, as well as winning three Pro14 titles and a Challenge Cup.

While Sexton will not feature for Leinster in the earliest stages of the upcoming campaign due to the IRFU’s player management system, Cullen’s men get their pre-season underway with a trip to French side Montauban on Friday night.

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Murray Kinsella

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