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Dublin: 7 °C Thursday 21 November, 2019
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Leinster without Sexton, Henshaw, Toner and Kearney for Toulouse showdown

Leo Cullen has named his team for Saturday’s Pool 1 clash at the RDS.

LEINSTER HAVE BEEN dealt another major injury blow ahead of Saturday’s pivotal Heineken Champions Cup clash against Toulouse, with confirmation that Rob Kearney misses the game through injury.

Johnny Sexton and Devin Toner have also failed to shake off calf and ankle problems for the Pool 1 showdown at the RDS [KO 1pm, Virgin Media/Channel 4/BT Sport], while Robbie Henshaw remains unavailable with a hamstring injury.

Jonathan Sexton and Rob Kearney Sidelined: Sexton and Kearney are both out of Toulouse. Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

Kearney, who made his injury comeback against Ulster last week, was expected to start at fullback for the defending European champions, but is another notable absentee from Leo Cullen’s starting XV.

It means there are starts on the wing for Dave Kearney and Adam Byrne, while Jordan Larmour reverts back to the number 15 jersey as Leinster are forced into a backline reshuffle for the visit of pool leaders Toulouse. James Lowe is also suspended. 

Rhys Ruddock captains the province in the absence of Sexton for what is effectively a pool decider, as Scott Fardy comes in to replace Toner in the second row alongside James Ryan.

Ross Byrne is handed the out-half reins and will be tasked with running the show for Leinster as he lines up outside scrum-half Luke McGrath for the sold-out lunchtime kick-off in Dublin.

Garry Ringrose returns to the Leinster midfield and partners Rory O’Loughlin, while Conor O’Brien — added to the province’s Champions Cup squad during the week — is in line for a European debut off the bench.

In the pack, the front row sees Cian Healy, Seán Cronin and Tadhg Furlong scrum down with Fardy and Ryan behind in the engine room.

The back row features captain Ruddock, Josh van der Flier and Jack Conan at number eight, with Dan Leavy another absentee from the matchday 23. 

Josh van der Flier JVDF starts in the back row. Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

Leinster’s bench has a callow look to it with James Tracy, Ed Byrne, Andrew Porter and Ross Molony providing the tight five reinforcements. Max Deegan, Jamison Gibson-Park, Noel Reid and O’Brien are the other options available to Cullen. 

Jack McGrath, having only just returned from hip surgery, isn’t involved.

After defeat to Toulouse in round two, Leinster head into Saturday’s game two points behind the French outfit in Pool 1, but know victory would leave qualification for the quarter-finals very much in their hands heading into the final round of action.

Leinster:

15. Jordan Larmour
14. Adam Byrne
13. Garry Ringrose
12. Rory O’Loughlin
11. Dave Kearney
10. Ross Byrne 
9. Luke McGrath

1. Cian Healy
2. Sean Cronin 
3. Tadhg Furlong 
4. Scott Fardy 
5. James Ryan
6. Rhys Ruddock (captain)
7. Josh van der Flier
8. Jack Conan 

Replacements:

16. James Tracy
17. Ed Byrne
18. Andrew Porter
19. Ross Molony
20. Max Deegan 
21. Jamison Gibson-Park 
22. Noel Reid
23. Conor O’Brien.

Toulouse:

15. Maxime Médard
14. Cheslin Kolbe
13. Sofiane Guitoune
12. Romain Ntamack
11. Yoann Huget
10. Thomas Ramos
9. Antoine Dupont

1. Clément Castets
2. Julien Marchand (captain)
3. Charlie Faumuina
4. Richie Arnold
5. Joe Tekori
6. Francois Cros
7. Rynhardt Elstadt
8. Jerome Kaino.

Replacements:

16. Peato Mauvaka
17. Cyril Baille
18. Dorian Aldegheri
19. Piula Faasalele
20. Louis Madaule
21. Alban Placines
22. Sébastien Bézy
23. Zack Holmes.

Ahead of a huge weekend of Heineken Champions Cup action, Murray Kinsella, Andy Dunne and Gavan Casey assess the provinces’ chances of putting a foot in the last eight:


Source: Heineken Rugby Weekly on The42/SoundCloud

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Ryan Bailey

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