Sexton returns to captain Leinster as Cullen names team for Pro14 final

The out-half comes back into the starting XV as one of three changes from last week’s win over Munster.

JOHNNY SEXTON HAS been restored to Leinster’s starting team for tomorrow’s Guinness Pro14 final against Glasgow Warriors, as one of three changes made by Leo Cullen.

Sexton came off the bench to help Leinster see off Munster in last weekend’s semi-final, but returns to captain the defending champions for Saturday’s Celtic Park showdown [KO 6.30pm, eir Sport/Premier Sports/TG4]. 

Johnny Sexton arrives arrives Sexton comes back into the starting team. Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

Rob Kearney has also recovered from a head injury to start at fullback in what could be his final game for Leinster as negotiations over his future continue, while Scott Fardy comes in for the injured Devin Toner.

Seán O’Brien, who had been struggling with a hip injury, has not recovered in time for one final run out in blue, as Cullen’s side bid to win back-to-back Pro14 titles after the disappointment of Newcastle.

Kearney’s return sees Jordan Larmour shift to the wing and Dave Kearney drop out of the matchday 23 altogether, while Ross Byrne must settle for a place on the bench at the expense of the World Player of the Year.

Second row Toner was ruled out earlier in the week due to the knee injury he sustained against Munster, meaning Fardy — having started the Champions Cup semi-final and final at six — resumes his partnership with James Ryan.

The back row remains unchanged as Josh van der Flier starts at openside, Rhys Ruddock at blindside and Jack Conan at the back of the scrum.

On the bench, Bryan Byrne is preferred to James Tracy as the replacement hooker, the fit-again Andrew Porter gets the nod ahead of Michael Bent and there will be no Leinster farewell for Jack McGrath, who misses out for Ed Byrne.

Ross Molony has shaken off a troubling back injury to be included in the Leinster 23, with Max Deegan, Nick McCarthy and Rory O’Loughlin the other players involved. 

Dave Rennie’s Glasgow, meanwhile, are unchanged from their semi-final rout of Ulster.


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. Sean Cronin
3. Tadhg Furlong
4. Scott Fardy
5. James Ryan
6. Rhys Ruddock
7. Josh van der Flier
8. Jack Conan. 

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16. Bryan Byrne
17. Ed Byrne
18. Andrew Porter 
19. Ross Molony 
20. Max Deegan
21. Nick McCarthy
22. Ross Byrne 
23. Rory O’Loughlin.

Referee: Nigel Owens [WRU].

Gavan Casey is joined by Ryan Bailey and Andy Dunne to look ahead to Saturday’s Pro14 final, look at whether Joey Carbery’s move has paid off and Jack Conan talks about how his body is holding up.:

Source: The42 Rugby Weekly/SoundCloud

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