Leinster head coach Leo Cullen has made a couple of adjustments to his 23-man squad for his side’s trip to the Matmut Stade de Gerland to face Lyon tomorrow at 15 15.
Following last weekend’s 33-19 opening round win over Benetton Cullen has decided to switch things up in the hope of making it two wins from two as the likes of Ireland internationals Rob Kearney, Tadhg Furlong and Robbie Henshaw come into the starting line-up.
For Kearney and Furlong it will be their first appearances this season, while it will be the first time that Henshaw and Garry Ringrose have began as the centre pairing this season.
To take it from the front, Cian Healy and Ronan Kelleher continue with Furlong coming in to replace Andrew Porter, while behind them Scott Fardy is set for his 50th cap in the blue jersey alongside James Ryan in the second-row.
Rhys Ruddock and Josh van der Flier are once again at blindside and openside flanker respectively, while Max Deegan set for his first start in Europe as he finishes the pack from No 8.
Ireland duo Luke McGrath and captain Johnny Sexton are the half-back pairing for the second week running, with Henshaw and Ringrose outside them in the midfield as mentioned above.
James Lowe takes his position on the left-wing, with Jordan Larmour on the right and Kearney completes the starting XV from full-back.
On the bench Cullen has plenty of experience to call upon with James Tracy set to make his 100th appearance for the province if used and is joined among the replacements by the likes of Andrew Porter, Devin Toner and Dave Kearney.
Speaking ahead of the game centre Henshaw noted that Leinster must back-up last weekend’s win with another good performance, but knows it will be tricky in France.
“Away days in France are always a massive challenge. Just had a glance at Lyon and over the last few weeks we’ve seen they’re a tricky side. They’re top of the French league at the moment. They have great quality individuals. They play good running rugby. We’ll have to be switched on come Saturday,” he said.
This will be the first meeting between the two sides, with Lyon looking to pick up a first-ever win in Europe’s elite competition having lost all of their seven previous games.
Leinster will know that despite being favourites they will need another big performance if they are to really push on in this pool with another win as Lyon have started the season very brightly and will be hoping to cause an upset against the four-time winners of the tournament.
Check Out the Full 23-Man Squad Below.
15. Rob Kearney (211)
14. Jordan Larmour (40)
13. Garry Ringrose (66)
12. Robbie Henshaw (38)
11. James Lowe (35)
10. Johnny Sexton (161) CAPTAIN
9. Luke McGrath (115)
1. Cian Healy (210)
2. Rónan Kelleher (8)
3. Tadhg Furlong (102)
4. Scott Fardy (49)
5. James Ryan (32)
6. Rhys Ruddock (163)
7. Josh van der Flier (74)
8. Max Deegan (53)
16. James Tracy (99)
17. Ed Byrne (46)
18. Andrew Porter (55)
19. Devin Toner (237)
20. Josh Murphy (26)
21. Jamison Gibson-Park (77)
22. Ross Byrne (77)
23. Dave Kearney (140)
Ulster name team for Northampton Quarter-Final trip
Michael Lowry is named to start at full-back, and is joined in the back three by Jacob Stockdale and Robert Baloucoune. Stuart McCloskey and James Hume will form the midfield duo, and Billy Burns and John Cooney are the starting half-backs.
In the front row, Eric O’Sullivan, Rob Herring and Marty Moore retain their starting berths. Alan O’Connor will partner Kieran Treadwell in the second row. Last week’s Player of the Match, Sean Reidy, will start at blindside flanker, with Jordi Murphy skippering the team at openside and Nick Timoney at Number Eight.
John Andrew, Andrew Warwick, Tom O’Toole, Matty Rea and Greg Jones will provide the forward reinforcements from the bench, with Alby Mathewson, Ian Madigan and Ethan McIlroy named as the back line options.
Ulster team to play Northampton Saints, Challenge Cup Quarter-Final, Saturday 10 April at Franklin’s Gardens (kick-off 8pm, live on BT Sport):
(15-9) Michael Lowry, Robert Baloucoune, James Hume, Stuart McCloskey, Jacob Stockdale, Billy Burns, John Cooney;
(1-8) Eric O’Sullivan, Rob Herring, Marty Moore, Alan O’Connor, Kieran Treadwell, Sean Reidy, Jordi Murphy (Capt.), Nick Timoney.
Replacements: John Andrew, Andrew Warwick, Tom O’Toole, Matty Rea, Greg Jones, Alby Mathewson, Ian Madigan, Ethan McIlroy.
Big names miss out for Ulster
The back line sees just one change from the side that played Toulouse last Friday. Michael Lowry, Jacob Stockdale and Matt Faddes all retain their positions in the back three. Stuart McCloskey and James Hume are the starting midfield duo. Billy Burns returns at fly-half and will captain the side; he will partner John Cooney at scrum-half.
The front row remains unchanged for this game. Rob Herring is named at hooker, with Eric O’Sullivan and Marty Moore packing down at loosehead and tighthead prop. Alan O’Connor will partner with his brother David – who will make his first Heineken Champions Cup start with Sam Carter missing out through concussion. Sean Reidy has been selected at blindside, with Jordi Murphy returning at openside. Nick Timoney comes in to start at Number Eight to replace the injured Marcel Coetzee.
John Andrew, Kyle McCall, Tom O’Toole, Matty Rea, and Greg Jones are the forward bench options. Academy player, Ethan McIlroy could make his European debut if called upon from the bench, and is named alongside Alby Mathewson and Ian Madigan in the back line replacements.
Ulster team to play Gloucester, Heineken Champions Cup Round 2, Saturday 19 December 2020 at Kingsholm Stadium, kick-off 3.15pm, live on BT Sport / beIN Sport:
(15-9) Michael Lowry, Matt Faddes, James Hume, Stuart McCloskey, Jacob Stockdale, Billy Burns (Capt.), John Cooney;
(1-8) Eric O’Sullivan, Rob Herring, Marty Moore, Alan O’Connor, David O’Connor, Sean Reidy, Jordi Murphy, Nick Timoney.
Replacements: John Andrew, Kyle McCall, Tom O’Toole, Matty Rea, Greg Jones, Alby Mathewson, Ian Madigan, Ethan McIlroy.
Ulster name strong side to face Toulouse
In the back three, Jacob Stockdale returns from international duty to the left wing, joining Michael Lowry at full-back and Matt Faddes on the right wing. In midfield, Stuart McCloskey also returns from the Ireland squad to partner with James Hume. Ian Madigan has been named at fly-half alongside John Cooney at scrum-half.
Having made his international debut against Scotland last week, Eric O’Sullivan, comes in to take the starting berth at loosehead prop. Rob Herring also returns from Ireland duties and is named at hooker, with Marty Moore retaining his position at tighthead. Alan O’Connor will partner with Sam Carter, who will lead the side from the second row. Sean Reidy and Jordi Murphy are named at blindside and openside, with Marcell Coetzee completing the pack at Number Eight.
John Andrew, Andrew Warwick, Tom O’Toole, David O’Connor, and Matty Rea provide the forward options, with Alby Mathewson, Stewart Moore and Craig Gilroy offering back line cover from the bench.
Ulster team to play Toulouse, Heineken Champions Cup Round 1, Friday 11 December 2020 at Kingspan Stadium, kick-off 8pm, live on BT Sport / beIN Sport:
(15-9) Michael Lowry, Matt Faddes, James Hume, Stuart McCloskey, Jacob Stockdale, Ian Madigan, John Cooney;
(1-8) Eric O’Sullivan, Rob Herring, Marty Moore, Alan O’Connor, Sam Carter (Capt.), Sean Reidy, Jordi Murphy, Marcell Coetzee.
Replacements: John Andrew, Andrew Warwick, Tom O’Toole, David O’Connor, Matty Rea, Alby Mathewson, Stewart Moore, Craig Gilroy.
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