Leinster v Bath
Heineken Champions Cup, Pool 1, Round 4
Aviva Stadium, Dublin @5:30pm, Saturday 15th December 2018
Positions: Leinster (2nd in Pool 1 – 10pts) Bath (3rd in Pool 1 – 5pts)
Leo Cullen has made three personnel changes and a couple of positional switches to the side that won the reverse fixture in the Recreation Ground last week by 17-10. The only change in the pack sees Dan Leavy revert to his favoured position of no.6, as Jack Conan comes back into the side at no.8, Rhys Ruddock drops to the bench where he will provide back row cover.
Johnny Sexton was an injury doubt during the week after hobbling off with five minutes to go last week. However, much to Leo Cullen’s delight he has been passed fit to start tomorrow. Rory O’Loughlin comes into the centre for Noel Reid, while Adam Byrne will start on the wing and Jordan Larmour moves to fullback as Rob Kearney is rested this weekend.
The news is not so good for Bath director of rugby, Todd Blackadder, as Fijian born winger Joe Cokanasiga joins Bath’s mounting injury list. Togan international Cooper Vuna will occupy the vacancy on the wing. The other change to Bath’s side from last Saturday’s clash sees Jacques van Rooyen start at tighthead prop ahead of Nathan Catt who drops to the bench.
Leinster are short-priced favourites at home to win at 1/33, while Bath are available at 22/1 to cause a massive upset away from home. The draw is available at 66/1. In the handicap markets, Leinster are -23. A quick look at the form of both sides quickly explains the pricing. Leinster have won their last five games in all competitions, racking up 197 points (an average of 39.4 points per game) in the process, while conceding only 61 points (12.2 per game). Their opponents, Bath, on the other hand, have conceded 75 points in their last five (15 per game) while only managing to score 60 points (12 per game).