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Dublin: 13 °C Thursday 15 November, 2018

Pienaar returns from injury as Montpellier name star-studded side for Leinster

Aaron Cruden, Frans Steyn and Nemani Nadolo all included in Vern Cotter’s explosive backline.

RUAN PIENAAR HAS recovered from injury to make his first European appearance since Montpellier’s defeat to Exeter Chiefs in round two of the Champions Cup when Leinster visit the south of France tomorrow afternoon [KO 1pm, Sky Sports].

Ruan Pienaar and Luke McGrath Pienaar started against Leinster in round one. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

The former Ulster scrum-half featured in the corresponding fixture between the sides at the RDS back in October before suffering a concussion in the home defeat to Exeter a week later.

But Pienaar has been named to start in a star-studded side selected by Montpellier coach Vern Cotter for Saturday’s final Pool 3 clash at the Altrad Stadium, with the Top 14 side still in with a slim chance of progression to the quarter-finals.

Pienaar forms a stellar half-back partnership with Aaron Cruden, who missed the round one game in Dublin through injury, while Montpellier’s giant Fijian Nemani Nadolo will look to cause more damage to Leinster having scored four tries in his last three games against the province.

The French side will be captained by Louis Picamoles once again and know they need a bonus-point win over Leinster to stand any chance of qualifying for the knockout stages.

Meanwhile, Castres have named their team for Sunday’s trip to face Munster at Thomond Park [KO 1pm, Sky Sports].

Geoffrey Palis, who was this week named in France’s Six Nations squad for the championship opener against Ireland, starts at fullback while Samoan winger David Smith and South African-born French international Rory Kockott are also included.

Castres travel to Limerick with an outside chance of topping the pool. A bonus-point win at Thomond Park and defeat for Racing 92 to Leicester would see them top the standings with just 17 points, as long as they deny Munster a losing bonus point.

Montpellier (v Leinster): 

15. Benjamin Fall
14. Timoci Nagusa
13. Frans Steyn
12. Jan Serfontein
11. Nemani Nadolo
10. Aaron Cruden
9. Ruan Pienaar

1. Mikheil Nariashvili
2. Bismarck Du Plessis
3. Antoine Guillamon
4. Nicholaas Van Rensburg
5. Konstantine Mikautadze
6. Kelian Galletier
7. Yacouba Camara
8. Louis Picamoles.


16. Romain Ruffenach
17. Yvan Watremez
18. Mohamed Haouas
19. Julien Delannoy
20. Fulgence Ouedraogo
21. Gela Aprasidze
22. Joe Tomane
23. Jesse Mogg.

Castres (v Munster):

15. Geoffrey Palis
14. Kylian Jaminet
13. Thomas Combezou
12. Robert Ebersohn
11. David Smith
10. Julien Dumora
9. Rory Kockott

1. Antoine Tichit
2. Jody Jenneker
3. Damien Tussac
4. Alexandre Bias
5. Thibault Lassalle
6. Yannick Caballero
7. Steve Mafi
8. Alex Tulou.


16. Kevin Firmin
17. Tudor Stroe
18. Daniel Kotze
19. Victor Moreaux
20. Baptiste Delaporte
21. Yohan Domenech
22. Yohan Le Bourhis
23. Afusipa Taumoepeau.

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Ryan Bailey

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