Johnny Sexton set for first appearance since November

The fly-half will captain Leinster in their Pro12 meeting with Zebre on Friday night

Johnny Sexton will captain Leinster in their Pro12 clash with Zebre on Friday. Photo: Inpho

Johnny Sexton will captain Leinster in their Pro12 clash with Zebre on Friday. Photo: Inpho

 

Johnny Sexton will captain Leinster in their Pro12 clash with Zebre on Friday (RDS, 7.35pm, live on TG4), his first appearance since sustaining an injury to his hamstring in the Autumn International fixture against New Zealand in November.

After returning to full training this week Sexton will now get some game time under his belt before next Friday’s Champions Cup meeting with Montpellier.

Sexton is one of seven changes made by Leo Cullen as his side look to close the gap on Munster at the top of the table with Rassie Erasmus’ side in European action this weekend.

In the backs, Zane Kirchner takes up his place at full back, as Adam Byrne and Rory O’Loughlin continue on the wings.

The second change sees Robbie Henshaw come in to the number 13 jersey to partner Garry Ringrose in the centre.

In the pack, Cian Healy and James Tracy start alongside Michael Bent who will win his 75th cap for the province.

Devin Toner and Hayden Triggs are again selected as the second row combination but there are two final additions in the back row.

Dan Leavy starts at blindside flanker, with Jack Conan coming in at the base of the scrum in the number eight jersey. Sean O’Brien starts again this week but with Leavy starting at six, O’Brien swaps across and fills the number seven jersey.

On the bench Sean Cronin is in line to win his 125th cap for the province should he be introduced at some stage.

Tickets are still available for the game at leinsterrugby.ie/tickets and with other events also on in and around the RDS Arena on Friday evening, supporters are advised that parking will be at a premium and that public transport should be used where possible.

Leinster team & replacements to play Zebre, Guinness Pro12, Friday 6th January, RDS (7.35pm kick-off):

Zane Kirchner, Adam Byrne, Garry Ringrose, Robbie Henshaw, Rory O’Loughlin, Johnny Sexton (c), Luke McGrath; Cian Healy, James Tracy, Michael Bent, Devin Toner, Hayden Triggs, Dan Leavy, Sean O’Brien, Jack Conan Replacements: Sean Cronin, Jack McGrath, Tadhg Furlong, Rhys Ruddock, Jamie Heaslip, Jamison Gibson-Park, Ross Byrne, Noel Reid.

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