Bath vs Leinster: Johnny Sexton returns to starting lineup

Robbie Henshaw also recalled but no Tadhg Furlong or James Ryan due to muscle issues

Champions Cup: Bath vs Leinster, Saturday January 22nd, The Rec (kick-off 1pm, live on BT Sports).

Johnny Sexton returns to the Leinster XV for Saturday’s Champions Cup trip to Bath.

Having made his first appearance since November’s internationals off the bench last weekend against Montpellier, Sexton has been promoted to a starting berth in what will be the last fixture before the Ireland players go into their Six Nations camp.

Robbie Henshaw also returns to partner Garry Ringrose in the centres as Ciarán Frawley drops to the bench.


Luke McGrath and Jamison Gibson-Park swap roles from the Montpellier clash, with the former partnering Sexton in the starting halfback pairing having come off the bench last week.

Jordan Larmour has recovered from a dead leg to keep his place in an unchanged backthree.

The pack sees only one change as Michael Ala’alatoa replaces Tadhg Furlong, who limped off on Sunday with an apparent calf issue. James Ryan remains unavailable after being a late scratch from the team to face Montpellier with a muscle injury. Both absences will be a source of concern for Andy Farrell.

Ross Byrne provides outhalf cover on the bench, while Ryan Baird comes back into the 23 at the expense of Rhys Ruddock.

Bath have named a strong lineup as England international Sam Underhill returns at openside having missed out in last weekend’s defeat to La Rochelle.

New England call-up Orlando Bailey comes back into the side at outhalf, shifting Scottish international Cam Redpath back out to inside centre as he continues his return from injury. Ruaridh McConnochie holds onto the 15 shirt.

Up front, Arthur Cordwell is handed a first Champions Cup start at loosehead, one of five changes in total made to the starting pack.

Bath: Ruaridh McConnochie; Gabriel Hamer-Webb, Max Clark, Cam Redpath, Tom Prydie; Orlando Bailey, Ben Spencer; Arthur Cordwell, Jacques du Toit, Will Stuart; Will Spencer, Charlie Ewells (capt); Tom Ellis, Sam Underhill, Josh Bayliss.

Replacements: Tom Doughty, Will Vaughan, Johannes Jonker, Josh McNally, Mike Williams, Joe Simpson, Maxo Ojomoh, Will Butt.

Leinster: Hugo Keenan; Jordan Larmour, Garry Ringrose, Robbie Henshawy, Jimmy O'Brien; Johnny Sexton, Luke McGrath; Andrew Porter, Rónan Kelleher, Michael Ala'alatoa; Ross Molony, Josh Murphy; Caelan Doris, Josh van der Flier, Jack Conan.

Replacements: Dan Sheehan, Cian Healy, Vakh Abdaladze , Ryan Baird, Max Deegan, Jamison Gibson-Park, Ross Byrne, Ciarán Frawley.