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Irish Mirror
Irish Mirror
Oisin Doherty

Leinster, Munster and Ulster name sides for crunch Champions Cup clashes

Leinster, Munster and Ulster have all named their sides ahead of a huge weekend of Champions Cup rugby.

Last year's beaten finalists Leinster welcome Racing 92 to the Aviva Stadium on Saturday. Leo Cullen has made just three changes to the side that beat Gloucester last weekend, with Rónan Kelleher, Joe McCarthy and Jack Conan coming into the pack.

Johnny Sexton continues to miss out with an injury, as does Tadhg Furlong who this week revealed he is hopeful to be fit for Ireland's opening Six Nations game with Wales next month.

READ MORE: Jamie Heaslip on Joey Carbery's Ireland omission: 'With any player, it's evolve or die'

Ulster have the chance to exact revenge on a Sale Sharks side that thumped them 39-0 before Christmas. Dan McFarland's side has seen their season fall off the rails to a certain extent, although a win over the English giants would be a timely boost.

Alan O'Connor will lead Ulster in the absence of regular skipper Iain Henderson, while youngster Harry Sheridan makes his first start having impressed off the bench against La Rochelle last time out.

Stuart McCloskey returns to the centre alongside his regular partner James Hume, with the back three of Jacob Stockdale, Rob Lyttle and Mike Lowry rounding out the backline.

Joey Carbery has been handed a start by Graham Rowntree just days after he was left out of Andy Farrell's Six Nations squad. Jack Crowley - the man who has usurped Carbery in the Irish squad, once again starts at inside centre.

Ben Healy is a surprise inclusion on the bench. The soon to be departing out-half is yet to make a European appearance in the red of Munster this season, with his last continental showing coming against Toulouse in a dramatic penalty kick shootout at the Aviva Stadium last term.

Leinster side to play Racing 92 - Saturday: 3.15pm

Hugo Keenan; Jordan Larmour, Garry Ringrose , Jamie Osborne, Jimmy O’Brien; Ross Byrne, Jamison Gibson-Park.
Andrew Porter, Rónan Kelleher, Michael Ala’alatoa; Joe McCarthy, James Ryan; Caelan Doris , Josh van der Flier, Jack Conan

Replacements: Dan Sheehan, Michael Milne, Cian Healy, Ross Molony, Ryan Baird, Luke McGrath, Harry Byrne, Scott Penny

Munster team to play Toulouse - Sunday: 3.15pm

Mike Haley; Calvin Nash, Antoine Frisch, Jack Crowley, Shane Daly; Joey Carbery, Craig Casey; Dave Kilcoyne, Niall Scannell, John Ryan; Jean Kleyn, Tadhg Beirne; Peter O’Mahony (C), John Hodnett, Gavin Coombes.

Replacements : Diarmuid Barron, Josh Wycherley, Roman Salanoa, Jack O’Sullivan, Alex Kendellen, Conor Murray, Ben Healy, Malakai Fekitoa.

Ulster team to play Sale Sharks - Saturday 8pm

Michael Lowry, Rob Lyttle, James Hume, Stuart McCloskey, Jacob Stockdale, Billy Burns, Nathan Doak;

Andy Warwick, Tom Stewart, Jeff Toomaga-Allen, Alan O’Connor (Capt.), Sam Carter, Harry Sheridan, Nick Timoney, Duane Vermeulen.

Replacements: Rob Herring, Eric O’Sullivan, Tom O’Toole, Kieran Treadwell, Jordi Murphy, John Cooney, Ian Madigan, Ben Moxham.


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