Jonathan Sexton, Mike Phillips and Jonathan Davies celebrate in Australia. INPHO/Dan Sheridan
the replacements

Sexton and Phillips named on Racing Métro bench for Harlequins clash

The duo last featured together in the Lions’ Third Test victory over Australia this summer.

JONNY SEXTON AND Mike Phillips were reunited at Racing Métro earlier this week but the duo must wait to make their first starts together in the French side’s backline.

The Irish out-half and Welsh scrum-half, who started alongside each other in the Lions’ third Test victory over Australia in July, have been named on the Racing replacements bench for Saturday’s Heineken Cup clash with Harlequins.

Phillips was signed up by the Top 14 side after a month on the free agency shelf. He was sacked by Bayonne earlier in the season after he showed up for a video review session, before training, inebriated.

Sexton has not started for Racing since returning from international duty with Ireland. He suffered a hamstring injury but Ronan O’Gara, who is part of the Racing coaching staff, revealed that the injury was below a Grade One tear. Sexton played 74 minutes of Ireland’s 24-22 loss to New Zealand at Lansdowne Road.

Conor O’Shea’s Harlequins lost their first two Heineken Cup outings this season and will need a string of bonus point wins to have any hope of qualifying for the knock-out stages.

Racing Métro: Juan Martin Hernandez; Benjamin Fall, Fabrice Estebanez, Alexandre Dumoulin, Marc Andreu; Benjamin Dambielle, Maxime Machenaud; Eddy Ben Arous, Dimitri Szarzewski (c), Luc Ducalcon, Francois van der Merwe, Juandre Kruger, Wenceslas Lauret, Bernard Le Roux, Jone Qovu Nailiko.

Replacements: Virgile Lacombe, Davit Khinchagishvili, Brian Mujati, Karim Ghezal, Camille Gerondeau, Mike Phillips, Jonny Sexton, Juan Imhoff.

Exeter Chiefs, meanwhile, have named former Ulster out-half Gareth Steenson to start against Toulon tomorrow. Irish winger Ian Whitten is on the Chiefs’ replacements bench for the home match with the European champions. Back-row Robin Copeland is in the Cardiff team to face Glasgow Warriors this evening.

Former Ulster lock Ryan Caldwell makes a welcome appearance in the Bath line-up for their Challenge Cup clash with Rugby Mogliano on Saturday.

Grenoble have included Shane O’Leary and James Hart on their subs’ bench for their match against Wasps and London Irish have handed a start to Fergus Mulchrone. The Exiles, who face Stade Francais [with Peter Lydon on the bench], have named Jamie Hagan, Eamonn Sheridan and Tomás O’Leary on their bench.

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