Johnny Sexton will captain Leinster for Edinburgh clash on Friday
He’s just nine points short of becoming the all-time highest Leinster points’ scorer
Jonathan Sexton will start for Leinster on Friday at the RDS. Photograph: Ryan Byrne
Sexton, along with several other Lions players have not figured since the summer tour. He takes his place at 10 as captain of the side and partners scrumhalf Luke McGrath.
There is also a strong possibility that the match could become an historical occasion for Sexton as he is just nine points short of becoming the all-time highest Leinster points’ scorer.
Argentinean outhalf Felipe Contepomi currently holds the record with 1,225 points and Sexton on 1,217 points.
Leinster are hoping to bounce back after a mini tour to South Africa that started and ended badly with defeat to Cheetahs in Bloemfontein. The team faces Munster next week before their first match of this year’s European campaign against Montpellier.
In total four of the Leinster players that toured to New Zealand with the Lions as well as four others, who missed the Cheetahs game through injury or personal reasons are included in the squad.
Joey Carbery is selected at full back for the third game in a row, with Dave Kearney again on the left wing. Fergus McFadden makes his first start of the campaign on the right wing, having recovered from a hamstring injury picked up ahead of the Southern Kings game. Noel Reid and Rory O’Loughlin form an all-St. Michael’s midfield pairing.
In the pack another two Lions line out with props Jack McGrath and Tadhg Furlong also making their seasonal debuts, with hooker Seán Cronin completing the front row.
Scott Fardy and Devin Toner return to the second row, having missed out on South Africa with Rhys Ruddock and Jordi Murphy selected at blindside and openside flankers respectively. Seán O’Brien, the final Lions addition, completes the backrow at number eight.
LEINSTER: Joey Carbery; Fergus McFadden, Rory O’Loughlin, Noel Reid, Dave Kearney; Johnny Sexton (capt), Luke McGrath; Jack McGrath, Seán Cronin, Tadhg Furlong; Devin Toner, Scott Fardy; Rhys Ruddock, Jordi Murphy, Seán O’Brien.
Replacements: Bryan Byrne, Ed Byrne, Andrew Porter, Ross Molony, Max Deegan, Jamison Gibson-Park, Ross Byrne, Jordan Larmour.
Referee: Ian Davies (WRU, 66th competition game