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Dublin: 2°C Wednesday 14 April 2021
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Ross Byrne to make first European start as Cullen names team for Northampton

Sean O’Brien has been passed fit and is set to start at the Aviva Stadium.

Byrne came off the bench last week and has gained first-team experience this season.
Byrne came off the bench last week and has gained first-team experience this season.
Image: Craig Thomas/INPHO

LEO CULLEN HAS made two enforced changes to his Leinster side for Saturday’s Champions Cup return clash with Northampton Saints [KO 7.45pm, BT Sport] at the Aviva Stadium.

With injury ruling both Joey Carbery and Rob Kearney out, the Leinster head coach hands UCD’s Ross Byrne his first European start while Zane Kirchner comes in at full back.

Sean O’Brien has, however, been passed fit and takes his place in the back row alongside Josh van der Flier and Jamie Heaslip.

Otherwise, it’s as you were for the eastern province as they look to seal back-to-back victories over the Premiership side and cement their position at the top of Pool 4.

Isa Nacewa will once again captain the side from the wing on the occasion of his 160th appearances for the club and he could go past the 600 point mark for Leinster if he adds four to his tally tomorrow evening.

Noel Reid has shaken off a foot injury he sustained against the Dragons a couple of weekends ago and takes his place on a bench also featuring the likes of Cian Healy, Jack Conan and Rory O’Loughlin.

After last week’s win in Franklin’s Gardens, Leinster sit top of the pool with 11 points from three outings and can take a big step towards progression with victory in Dublin.

Leinster

15. Zane Kirchner
14. Adam Byrne
13. Garry Ringrose
12. Robbie Henshaw
11. Isa Nacewa
10. Ross Byrne
9. Luke McGrath
1. Jack McGrath
2. Sean Cronin
3. Tadhg Furlong
4. Devin Toner
5. Hayden Triggs
6. Sean O’Brien
7. Josh van der Flier
8. Jamie Heaslip
Replacements:
16. James Tracy
17. Cian Healy
18. Michael Bent
19. Rhys Ruddock
20. Jack Conan
21. Jamison Gibson-Park
22. Noel Reid
23. Rory O’Loughlin

Northampton Saints

15. Ahsee Tuala
14. Ken Pisi
13. George Pisi
12. JJ Hanrahan
11. Tom Collins
10. Steve Myler
9. Nic Groom
1. Ethan Waller
2. Charlie Clare
3. Kieran Brookes
4. Api Ratuniyarawa
5. James Craig
6. Jamie Gibson
7. Calum Clark
8. Teimana Harrison

Replacements:

16. James Fish
17. Alex Waller
18. Paul Hill
19. Michael Paterson
20. Ben Nutley
21. Tom Kessell
22. Rory Hutchinson
23. James Wilson

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Ryan Bailey

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