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Heineken Champions Cup: Leinster v Toulouse (Sat)

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Published in Rugby
Friday, 13 May 2022 04:30

Leinster head coach Leo Cullen has named an unchanged starting team for his side's Champions Cup semi-final against Toulouse in Dublin.

Ciaran Frawley replaces Tommy O'Brien on the bench in the only change from the 23 that defeated Leicester 23-14.

Toulouse make three alterations as they return to the Irish capital seven days on from beating Munster.

Cyril Baille and Anthony Jelonch come into the pack with Juan Cruz Mallia replacing Dimitri Delibes on the wing.

Mallia missed the defending champions' dramatic penalty shootout win over Munster having been sent off in the first leg of their round of 16 tie against Ulster.

He replaces Delibes who drops out of the matchday squad along with Maxime Medard, as Martin Page-Relo and Zack Holmes are named as the only backs on the visitors' bench.

The five-time winners endured a mixed day at the scrum against Munster - dominating in the early stages but failing to exact the same control after the break.

Baille replaces Rodrigue Neti at loosehead prop as Jelonch comes in at number eight with fellow 2022 Grand Slam winner Francois Cros moving to openside flanker.

Leinster are the third straight Irish province standing in Toulouse's way as they seek to defend their title, having come through nail-biting contests with Ulster and Munster in previous rounds.

A quick start aided Leinster's win at Welford Road last weekend, and Cullen again places his trust in a vastly experienced line-up containing 13 Ireland internationals.

Jimmy O'Brien - who alongside Ross Molony is the only starter without an Ireland cap - will make his 50th appearance for the four-time competition winners.

Frawley comes back into the squad with Tommy O'Brien ruled out for the remainder of the season due to an ACL injury sustained this week.

Leinster last lifted the Champions Cup four years ago and have not reached the final since 2019, when they were beaten by Saracens.

Leinster: Keenan, J. O'Brien, Ringrose, Henshaw, Lowe, Sexton, Gibson-Park, Porter, Kelleher, Furlong, Molony, Ryan, Doris, van der Flier, Conan.

Replacements: Sheehan, Healy, Ala'alatoa, McCarthy, Ruddock, McGrath, R Byrne, Frawley.

Toulouse: Ramos; Mallia, Fouyssac, Ahki, Lebel; Ntamack, Dupont; Baille, Marchand, Aldegheri, Arnold, Meafou, Elstadt, Cros, Jelonch.

Replacements: Mauvaka, Neti, Ainu'u, Tekori, Tolofua, Flament, Page-Relo, Holmes.

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