Leinster Rugby v Saracens, Sunday 3.30pm kick-off – Live on BT Sport

Leinster will hope to make it two Irish provinces in the last four of the Champions Cup this afternoon when they host English Premiership side Saracens at The Aviva Stadium, with a 3.30pm kick-off.

Head Coach Leo Cullen welcomes back Rob Kearney at full back to partner Fergus McFadden on the right wing and James Lowe on the left.

In the centre Isa Nacewa is back to captain the side with Garry Ringrose outside him in the number 13 jersey.

Luke McGrath and Johnny Sexton form the half backs partnership.

The front row named is Cian Healy, Tadhg Furlong and Seán Cronin, while Devin Toner and James Ryan are the second row combination.

In the back row, Cullen has chosen Scott Fardy at blindside, with Dan Leavy winning his 50th Leinster cap on the openside and Jordi Murphy named at No. 8.

The Leinster replacements include Rhys Ruddock, back for his first game since the Exeter game in early December, while Max Deegan is in line to make his Champions Cup debut should he be introduced.

Leinster Team: 

15. Rob Kearney, 14. Fergus McFadden, 13. Garry Ringrose, 12. Isa Nacewa (captain), 11. James Lowe, 10. Johnny Sexton, 9. Luke McGrath.

1. Cian Healy, 2. Seán Cronin, 3. Tadhg Furlong, 4. Devin Toner, 5. James Ryan, 6. Scott Fardy, 7. Dan Leavy, 8. Jordi Murphy.

Replacements: 

16. James Tracy, 17. Jack McGrath, 18. Andrew Porter, 19. Rhys Ruddock, 20. Max Deegan, 21. Nick McCarthy, 22. Joey Carbery, 23. Rory O’Loughlin.
This will be the third meeting between No 1-ranked Leinster and the holders, but the first knockout clash, with Leinster winning the two previous pool stage encounters in 2010-11.

This is the seventh consecutive season that Saracens have reached the quarter-finals, and they have won their last five in a row.

This is the fourth time in the last five seasons that Leinster have progressed to the knockout stage, winning their last two quarter-finals.

Leinster won their last eight home games in the Champions Cup, with those victories coming by an average margin of 25 points.

Saracens have won three of their last four away games against Irish opposition (L1).

Saracens were the top points (205) and try (24) scorers in the pool stage this season while Leinster were ranked second in both categories (176 and 22).

Two-time champions, Saracens, had the lowest tackle success rate during the pool stage, completing just 84% of their attempts.

Leinster conceded a competition-low 9.7 turnovers per game in the pool stage, contributing to the fact they averaged the most amount of possession of any team (21 mins 36 secs per game).

Owen Farrell is the top points scorer (81) in the competition this season, and is third on the all-time list with 677 behind Scarlets’ Stephen Jones (869) and Ronan O’Gara of Munster (1,365).

Leinster’s Luke McGrath has six try assists to his name this season, the most of any player in the competition.

 

 

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