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Henshaw, Kearney and Furlong among five changes for Leinster

Leo Cullen has welcomed back a number of internationals for Saturday’s trip to face Lyon.

Robbie Henshaw will make his first start of the season for Leinster.
Robbie Henshaw will make his first start of the season for Leinster.
Image: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

LEO CULLEN HAS made five changes to his Leinster team for Saturday’s Heineken Champions Cup trip to face Lyon [KO 3.15pm, BT Sport 3].

Ireland internationals Rob Kearney, Robbie Henshaw and Tadhg Furlong all come in to the starting team, while Scott Fardy and Max Deegan are also promoted from the bench following last weekend’s defeat of Benetton Treviso.

Kearney’s only involvement with the province since the Rugby World Cup has been 19 minutes off the bench in the Guinness Pro14 win at Connacht, while Henshaw, who missed the Connacht match through illness, was a late addition to the bench last week, playing the last 16 minutes of the game.

Kearney starts at full-back with Jordan Larmour pushed up onto the right wing, with James Lowe retaining his place on the opposite wing to complete the back three.

Henshaw partners last week’s hat-trick hero Garry Ringrose in midfield, while captain Johnny Sexton and Luke McGrath will pull the strings in the half-backs. 

In the pack, Rónan Kelleher keeps his place at hooker following an impressive European debut against Benetton, where he scored his seventh try in six games. Kelleher will scrum down alongside Ireland internationals Cian Healy and Furlong, who makes his first appearance of the season for Leinster.

Scott Fardy wins his 50th cap as he partners James Ryan in the second row, while the back row sees Rhys Ruddock and Josh van der Flier line up alongside Max Deegan, who earns his first European start at number eight.

On the bench, James Tracey could win his 100th Leinster cap, while Josh Murphy is in line for a European debut.

Leinster got off to a winning start in the Champions Cup last week with a 33-19 defeat of Benetton at the RDS, while Lyon were beaten 25-11 at Northampton. The French side are currently top of the Top14 having won eight of their nine league games this season.

The game will be the first ever meeting between the teams. 

Leinster:

15. Rob Kearney
14. Jordan Larmour
13. Garry Ringrose
12. Robbie Henshaw
11. James Lowe 
10. Johnny Sexton (captain) 
9. Luke McGrath 
1. Cian Healy 
2. Rónan Kelleher 
3. Tadhg Furlong 
4. Scott Fardy 
5. James Ryan 
6. Rhys Ruddock 
7. Josh van der Flier 
8. Max Deegan 

Replacements:
16. James Tracy
17. Ed Byrne
18. Andrew Porter
19. Devin Toner
20. Josh Murphy
21. Jamison Gibson-Park
22. Ross Byrne
23. Dave Kearney

Lyon:

15. Toby Arnold
14. Xavier Mignoy
13. Thibaut Regard
12. Charlie Ngatai
11. Noa Nakaitaci
10. Jonathan Wisniewski
9. Baptiste Couilloud (captain)
1. Xavier Chiocci
2. Mickael Ivaldi
3. Demba Bamba
4. Virgile Bruni
5. Hendrick Roodt
6. Julien Puricelli
7. Liam Gill
8. Carl Fearns

Replacements:
16. Jeremie Maurourard
17. Raphael Chaume
18. Francisco Gomez Kodela
19. Etienne Oosthuizen
20. Loann Goujon
21. Jonathan Pélissié
22. Jean-Marcellin Buttin
23. Rudi Wulf

 Referee: Luke Pearce (England)

Murray Kinsella and Bernard Jackman join Gavan Casey in studio to preview the second weekend of Champions Cup action


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