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)
Squad Update | Munster Prepare For Bayonne At Thomond
The Munster squad are preparing at the HPC ahead of Saturday’s Investec Champions Cup opener against Bayonne at Thomond Park (5.30pm).
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Jean Kleyn will be unavailable until the New Year due to an eye injury suffered in the Leinster match. He attended for a specialist review last Tuesday and Wednesday and will have further follow-up before Christmas.
Jack Daly (ankle) and Liam Coombes (shoulder) both underwent surgery last week and will begin rehabilitation under the medical department.
There is good news for Patrick Campbell (ankle) as he has returned to team training.
Jack O’Donoghue (ankle) will also return to training this week.
Simon Zebo (knee) will continue to rehabilitate early this week.
The availability of Campbell, O’Donoghue and Zebo will be determined later in the week.
Peter O’Mahony (shoulder) is improving but will remain unavailable for the Bayonne clash.
Continuing to rehab: Jack Daly (ankle), Peter O’Mahony (shoulder), Liam Coombes (shoulder), RG Snyman (chest/shoulder), Joey Carbery (wrist), Roman Salanoa (knee), Mike Haley (hip), Cian Hurley (ankle/achilles), Niall Scannell (groin).
There were 11 Munster players in AIL action for their clubs at the weekend.
In Division 1A, Fionn Gibbons, Chris Moore and Keynan Knox helped Young Munster to a win over City of Armagh with Gibbons among the tries.
Ethan Coughlan and Daniel Okeke were in action for Shannon as they were beaten away to Terenure College.
In Division 1B, Jack Oliver, George Hadden and Colm Hogan helped Garryowen beat Blackrock College with Hogan scoring a try on his debut for the club. Oliver also kicked three conversions and two penalties.
Jack O’Sullivan and Ben O’Connor featured for UCC as they were narrowly beaten by Old Wesley.
In Evan O’Connell helped UL Bohemians to a draw against MU Barnhall.
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A World First For Munster Rugby And Crusaders
Munster Rugby and the Crusaders are set to create history in 2024 with a world-first ‘Clash of Champions’ game on Saturday, February 3 (5pm).
The New Zealand franchise secured their seventh successive Super Rugby Pacific championship on Saturday in Waikato defeating Chiefs 25-20 to retain their title. They are the most successful team in the competition’s history having won 14 trophies and are world renowned for their history and record of success and excellence.
Following Munster’s recent URC success in Cape Town, it will be the first time ever the reigning champions of the URC and Super Rugby face off against each other.
Former Munster Head Coach Rob Penney has already been confirmed as the new Crusaders Head Coach from 2024 and their pre-season campaign will see them embark on their first-ever international tour for fixtures against Munster and Bristol Bears.
Munster Rugby CEO, Ian Flanagan said: “We are delighted to welcome the Super Rugby champions to Munster, hosting a groundbreaking fixture against the Crusaders.
“We hold a proud and rich history of playing touring sides and I’ve no doubt next February’s game will be a special occasion for all involved.”
Colin Mansbridge, Crusaders CEO, said: “The Crusaders are thrilled to be coming over to Ireland and the UK to face some stiff competition away from home.
“NZ and Australian clubs have been working on the World Club Competition for years, so when an opportunity for Super teams to play Northern Hemisphere counterparts came up, it was just too good to pass up.
“Munster have a history of giving touring sides a pretty hard time, so they present particularly tough competition. There’s also the added connection with our new Head Coach Rob Penney who coached there,” Mansbridge said.
The venue within Munster, and ticket details, will be confirmed in due course. MRSC members will be contacted directly regarding a pre-sale.
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2024 Crusaders Ireland and UK Fixtures
Saturday, February 3, 2024
Munster Rugby v Crusaders, Venue TBC, 5pm;
Friday February 9, 2024
Bristol Bears v Crusaders, Ashton Gate, 7.30pm;
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Leinster drawn in Pool 4 in the 2023/24 Champions Cup
The draw for the pool stages of the 2023/24 Champions Cup took place earlier this afternoon in Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Leinster Rugby have been drawn in Pool 4, alongside La Rochelle, Stade Francais, Leicester Tigers, DHL Stormers and Sale Sharks.
Leo Cullen’s team will face La Rochelle, Stade Francais, Leicester Tigers and Sale Sharks in the four pool matches, with two matches at home, and two matches away.
The top-four teams from each pool will advance to the Round of 16, with the fifth-placed teams moving into the EPCR Challange Cup.
All fixture details will be confirmed in due course.
Round 1 – 8/9/10 December 2023
Round 2 – 15/16/17 December 2023
Round 3 – 12/13/14 January 2024
Round 4 – 19/20/21 January 2024
Round of 16 – 5/6/7 April 2024
Quarter-Finals – 12/13/14 April 2024
Semi-Finals – 3/4/5 May 2024
EPCR Challenge Cup Final – Friday 24 May 2024, Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Champions Cup Final – Saturday 25 May 2024, Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
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