Johnny Sexton to captain much-changed Leinster XV

Leo Cullen has made 11 changes to the team that defeated Bath for the trip to Coventry

Leinster head coach Leo Cullen and Jonathan Sexton ahead of Saturday’s trip to play against Wasps. Photograph: Gary Carr/Inpho

Leinster head coach Leo Cullen and Jonathan Sexton ahead of Saturday’s trip to play against Wasps. Photograph: Gary Carr/Inpho

 

Leinster head coach Leo Cullen has made 11 changes to his team for Saturday’s Champions Cup final pool game against Wasps in the Ricoh Arena.

From the team that beat Bath Rugby last time out, only Zane Kirchner, Dave Kearney, Rhys Ruddock and Jordi Murphy are retained in the starting XV for the trip to Coventry.

With Rob Kearney coming in to full back, Zane Kirchner moves to the right wing from the number 15 slot last week, with Dave Kearney continuing on the left wing.

Noel Reid and Luke Fitzgerald come into the centre with Eoin Reddan and Johnny Sexton selected in the half backs. Having been announced as one of Leinster’s vice-captains at the start of the season, Sexton will captain Leinster for the first time in what will be his 100th start for the province in 121 appearances.

Second Captains

The entire front row were named in the Irish squad on Wednesday, with Jack McGrath, Sean Cronin and Marty Moore getting the nod.

Devin Toner and Rhys Ruddock are in the second row as Ruddock starts for the eleventh time this season, playing the full 80 in each game so far.

In the back row, Dominic Ryan, Jordi Murphy and Jamie Heaslip complete the pack as Leinster look to finish their European campaign on a high.

The bench includes three players who were named in that Irish Six Nations squad including the 22 year old uncapped back rower Josh van der Flier, while Cathal Marsh is in line to make his European debut should he come on.

LEINSTER: Rob Kearney; Zane Kirchner, Luke Fitzgerald, Noel Reid, Dave Kearney, Johnny Sexton (captain), Eoin Reddan; Jack McGrath, Sean Cronin, Marty Moore; Devin Toner, Rhys Ruddock; Dominic Ryan, Jordi Murphy, Jamie Heaslip.

Replacements: Richardt Strauss, Peter Dooley, Michael Bent, Ross Molony, Josh van der Flier, Isaac Boss, Cathal Marsh, Ben Te’o.

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