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McGrath captains Leinster as Ross Byrne starts at out-half against La Rochelle

Meanwhile, La Rochelle’s leading halfbacks are fit to start.

Luke McGrath captains Leinster.
Luke McGrath captains Leinster.

LEINSTER BOSS LEO Cullen has named Luke McGrath as captain for Sunday’s Heineken Champions Cup semi-final against La Rochelle at Stade Marcel-Deflandre [KO 3pm Irish time, BT Sport].

With Johnny Sexton missing due to a head injury, McGrath will lead the team as Ross Byrne starts at out-half in his place for what will be his 100th Leinster appearance.

Scrum-half Rowan Osborne could make his Champions Cup debut off the bench, which also includes Ciarán Frawley after his recovery from a hamstring strain.

Meanwhile, La Rochelle have been able to name Kiwi pair Tawera Kerr-Barlow and Ihaia West as their starting halfbacks after they overcame injury issues, while Jules Plisson is also back to provide out-half cover from the bench.

South African flanker Wiaan Liebenberg comes into the team in place of Kevin Gourdon.

Leinster:

15. Hugo Keenan
14. Jordan Larmour
13. Garry Ringrose
12. Robbie Henshaw
11. James Lowe
10. Ross Byrne
9. Luke McGrath (captain)

1. Cian Healy
2. Rónan Kelleher
3. Tadhg Furlong
4. Devin Toner
5. James Ryan
6. Rhys Ruddock
7. Josh van der Flier
8. Jack Conan

Replacements:

16. James Tracy
17. Ed Byrne
18. Andrew Porter
19. Scott Fardy
20. Ryan Baird
21. Rowan Osborne
22. Ciarán Frawley
23. Rory O’Loughlin

La Rochelle:

15. Brice Dulin
14. Dillin Leyds
13. Geoffrey Doumayrou
12. Levani Botia
11. Raymond Rhule
10. Ihaia West
9. Tawera Kerr-Barlow

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1. Reda Wardi
2. Pierre Bourgarit
3. Uini Atonio
4. Romain Sazy (captain)
5. Will Skelton
6. Gregory Alldritt
7. Wiaan Liebenberg
8. Victor Vito

Replacements:

16. Facundo Bosch
17. Dany Priso
18. Arthur Joly
19. Thomas Lavault
20. Kevin Gourdon
21. Arthur Retiere
22. Jules Plisson
23. Pierre Aguillon

Referee: Matthew Carley [RFU].

About the author:

Murray Kinsella

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