Sexton returns for Leinster as Leo Cullen makes four changes

Leinster welcome back Johnny Sexton and Robbie Henshaw into the lineup for a trip to The Rec
Sexton returns for Leinster as Leo Cullen makes four changes

Leo Cullen has named his Leinster starting line-up to take on Bath in their final Heineken Champions Cup pool game on Saturday.

Johnny Sexton returns to captain the team in his first appearance since mid-October.

There are four changes to the team that beat Montpellier last time out, with Tadhg Furlong and James Ryan both out, having picked up knocks in the last week.

Furlong lasted just six minutes of last week’s 89-7 defeat of Montpellier at the RDS after picking up a calf injury. Ryan didn’t even make the kick-off after being scratched from the side late on because of what was described as a minor hamstring problem.

"The sensible decision was to not push anything this week so (James Ryan) is okay. Probably could have pushed him for this week but we made the decision early,” said Cullen ahead of their final Pool A fixture.

“Tadhg doesn't seem to be too bad, so hopefully he'll be up and running for Round 1 of the Six Nations. Ireland will be going to camp next week, and he should be good to go hopefully, barring any setbacks.”

James Lowe, who missed out on the Six Nations squad named by Andy Farrell on Wednesday due to a muscle injury, suffered the issue in Leinster training the day before while Rhys Ruddock sits out this time having been sick earlier in the week.

Leinster can at least welcome back Johnny Sexton and Robbie Henshaw into the lineup for a trip to The Rec as they aim to solidify their place in the top four pool placings and, with it, home advantage for the round of 16.

Sexton saw action for the first time since November when he came off the bench with half-an-hour to play last weekend while Henshaw missed the 13-try defeat of the Top 14 side. So did Ryan Baird who is named on the bench for Saturday.

Other changes of note from last week include the introduction of Luke McGrath at scrum-half for Jamison Gibson-Park and Michael Ala’alatoa’s elevation in the absence of Furlong while Henshaw’s return sees Ciaran Frawley switch to the bench.

LEINSTER: H Keenan; J Larmour, G Ringrose, R Henshaw, J O’Brien; J Sexton, L McGrath; A Porter, R Kelleher, M Ala’alatoa; R Molony, J Murphy; C Doris, J van der Flier, J Conan.

Replacements: D Sheehan, C Healy, V Abdaladze, R Baird, M Deegan, J Gibson-Park, R Byrne, C Frawley.

BATH: R McConnochie; G Hamer-Webb, M Clark, C Redpath, T Prydie; O Bailey, B Spencer; A Cordwell, J Du Toit, W Stuart; W Spencer, C Ewels; T Ellis, S Underhill, J Bayliss.

Replacements: T Doughty, W Vaughan, J Jonker, J McNally, M Williams, J Simpson, M Ojomoh, W Butt.

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