Irish Team News for Champions Cup ties

With all four provinces in action this weekend, we have the team news ahead of the Champions Cup openers.

Leinster vs Castres – Kick off tomorrow at 15:15

Leo Cullen has decided on four changes to the side who impressively disposed of Munster last weekend.

European debutant Joey Carberry will take the place of star-man Johnny Sexton after the number 10 experienced tightness in his hamstring during training this week.

Zane Kirchner will start on the right in place of Rory O’Loughlin, while Jack McGrath steps in at prop in place of Cian Healy.

Finally, Jordi Murphy will sit out as Josh van der Flier takes the start at open side.

Leinster team:

15. Rob Kearney
14. Zane Kirchner 
13. Garry Ringrose
12. Robbie Henshaw 
11. Isa Nacewa (c)
10. Joey Carbery 
9. Luke McGrath 

1. Jack McGrath 
2. Sean Cronin 
3. Tadhg Furlong
4. Devin Toner 
5. Ian Nagle 
6. Rhys Ruddock 
7. Josh van der Flier 
8. Jamie Heaslip 


16. James Tracy, 17. Cian Healy, 18. Mike Ross, 19. Ross Molony, 20. Dan Leavy, 21. Jamison Gibson-Park, 22. Cathal Marsh, 23. Noel Reid

Connacht vs Toulouse – Kick off tomorrow at 17:35

Pat Lam’s starting lineup to take on French giants Toulouse sees just one change from last weekend’s victory over Ulster.

The solitary switch comes in the second row, where Quinn Roux will start in place of Ultan Dillane.

Connacht team:

15. Tiernan O’Halloran
14. Niyi Adeolokun 
13. Bundee Aki
12. Craig Ronaldson
11. Cian Kelleher 
10. Jack Carty
9. Caolin Blade

1. Finlay Bealham
2. Dave Heffernan 
3. Conor Carey 
4. Quinn Roux 
5. Andrew Browne 
6. Eoin McKeon
7. Jake Heenan 
8. John Muldoon (c)


16 . Shane Delahunt, 17. Ronan Loughney, 18. JP Cooney, 19. Ultan Dillane, 20. Sean O’Brien, 21. Kieran Marmion, 22. Shane O’Leary, 23. Stacey Ili 

Bordeaux vs Ulster – Kick off Sunday at 14:00

Ulster’s starting XV to take on Bordeaux has received a major shake-up, with eight changes from the side who fell to Connacht last weekend.

Neil Doak’s side sees the welcome return of captain Andrew Trimble, who will take his place on the wing, but Tommy Bowe drops out.

Luke Marshall and Stuart Olding come in in place of Louis Ludik and Darren Cave respectively. Ruan Pienaar will start ahead of Paul Marshall at scrum-half, while Andy Warwick, Alan O’Connor, Franco van der Merwe and Sean Reidy all step into the forward positions.

Dropping out are Callum Black, Robbie Diack, Pete Browne and Roger Wilson.

Ulster team:

15. Jared Payne
14. Andrew Trimble (c)
13. Luke Marshall
12. Stuart Olding 
11. Craig Gilroy 
10. Paddy Jackson
9. Ruan Pienaar 

1. Andy Warwick 
2. Rory Best 
3. Rodney Ah You 
4. Alan O’Connor 
5. Franco van der Merwe
6. Iain Henderson 
7. Clive Ross 
8. Sean Reidy


16. Rob Herring, 17. Kyle McCall, 18. Ross Kane, 19. Pete Browne, 20. Roger Wilson, 21. Paul Marshall, 22. Jacob Stockdale, 23. Rob Lyttle 

Racing 92 vs Munster – Kick off Sunday at 15:15

Anthony Foley has made just one change for Sunday’s tough matchup at Stade Yves-Du-Manoir.

The switch comes at centre, where Keith Earls has not been passed fit to play after sustaining a concussion at Leinster last Saturday. Jaco Taute takes Earls’ place for his Champions Cup debut.

Munster team:

15. Simon Zebo
14. Darren Sweetnam
13. Jaco Taute
12. Rory Scannell
11. Ronan O’Mahony
10. Tyler Bleyendaal
9. Conor Murray

1. Dave Kilcoyne
2. Niall Scannell
3. John Ryan
4. Donnacha Ryan
5. Billy Holland
6. Peter O’Mahony (c)
7. Tommy O’Donnell
8. CJ Stander


16. Duncan Casey, 17. Brian Scott, 18. Stephen Archer, 19. Robin Copeland, 20. Jack O’Donoghue, 21. Duncan Williams, 22. Ian Keatley, 23. Dan Goggin


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