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Heineken Cup teams: Five changes for Leinster

Updated: Friday, 04 Apr 2014 13:09 | Comments

Leinster face Toulon on Sunday
Leinster face Toulon on Sunday

Leinster have named their team to face Toulon in the quarter-finals of the Heineken Cup on Sunday.
 
There are a number of changes to the team that faced Munster last weekend in the Aviva Stadium.
 
There are two changes in the pack with Cian Healy and Rhys Ruddock back from ankle and calf injuries respectively.
 
Healy starts for the 125th time in Leinster colours as the Clontarf club man makes a first start since the Six Nations win in Paris three weeks ago. Fellow Irish internationals Richardt Strauss and Mike Ross complete the front row.
 
Devin Toner and Mike McCarthy are once again the second row combination with Leo Cullen held in reserve.
 
Rhys Ruddock is back in place of Kevin McLaughlin, with Shane Jennings and captain Jamie Heaslip completing the back row.
 
There are two changes in the backs as well with Dave Kearney shaking off a knock received in training last week back in the XV at the expense of Luke Fitzgerald. Fergus McFadden and Rob Kearney complete the back three.
 
In the centre Gordon D'Arcy and Brian O'Driscoll continue their partnership.
 
The final change is in the half backs with Jimmy Gopperth selected at ten in place of Ian Madigan, with Eoin Reddan beside him at nine. Reddan wins his 99th cap on Sunday.
 
Coach Matt O'Connor explained some of the decisions and admitted that the selection process had not been easy.
 
He said: "We have trained really well all week. A full squad and everyone at full tilt is not something we have had at our disposal in quite a while.

"That creates challenges for us as a coaching group but the players have brought a great intensity to the paddock all week and each and every one of them has put their hands up. There are disappointed blokes left behind, but we also have a 23 that we believe are more than capable of delivering a performance."

Leinster: Rob Kearney, Fergus McFadden, Brian O'Driscoll, Gordon D'Arcy, Dave Kearney, Jimmy Gopperth, Eoin Reddan, Cian Healy, Richardt Strauss, Mike Ross, Devin Toner, Mike McCarthy, Rhys Ruddock, Shane Jennings, Jamie Heaslip. 

Ruan Pienaar has recovered from injury and has been named in the Ulster starting XV to face Saracens in the Heineken Cup quarter-final at Ravenhill Stadium on Saturday.

The World Cup winner starts at scrumhalf with Ireland international Paddy Jackson selected at outhalf.

Tommy Bowe, one of 11 players in the squad to have made more than 100 appearances for the province, is named on the left wing, with Andrew Trimble, who is one of four starters to have made more than 150 appearances for Ulster, selected on the right.  

Luke Marshall and Darren Cave continue their partnership in midfield with Jared Payne starting at fullback. 

Tom Court starts the game at loosehead, alongside Rory Best and John Afoa. 

Johann Muller captains Ulster from the second-row, where he is joined by international lock Dan Tuohy.

Ulster: J Payne, A Trimble, D Cave, L Marshall, T Bowe, P Jackson, R Pienaar, T Court, R Best, J Afoa, J Muller (Captain), D Tuohy, R Wilson, N Williams, C Henry.

Peter O'Mahony took a full part in the final squad training session and has been named to lead Munster out in Thomond Park on Saturday against Toulouse.

O'Mahony who was also named in last weekend's squad was a last minute withdrawal due to a tight hamstring, and after successfully following a modified training schedule this week the talismanic back-row is included in Penney's starting XV.

The only other change to the side sees James Downey renew his centre partnership with Casey Laulala.

With the returning O'Mahony, CJ Stander moves to the replacements while John Ryan takes the place of James Cronin who is ruled out with an ankle sprain.

Alan Cotter and Gerhard van den Heever, who was one of three players added to the Heineken Cup squad in March, are both named in their first match-day Heineken Cup squad.

Munster:  Felix Jones; Keith Earls, Casey Laulala, James Downey, Simon Zebo; Ian Keatley, Conor Murray; Dave Kilcoyne, Damien Varley, BJ Botha; Dave Foley, Paul O'Connell; Peter O'Mahony, Tommy O'Donnell, James Coughlan. 

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