Leinster v Montpellier, Sunday January 16th, RDS Arena (kick-off 1pm, BT Sports).
Leinster have announced a strong team for the Champions Cup clash against Montpellier this Sunday. Captain Johnny Sexton returns to the side after a long spell out with injury, he will start from the bench. Instead James Ryan will step in as skipper for the side.
Leo Cullen's halfback options are Ross Byrne and Jamison Gibson-Park.
Robbie Henshaw has been left out and will be replaced by Ciaran Frawley and Garry Ringrose are selected at center. Andrew Porter, Tadhg Furlong and Ronan Kelleher make up a first choice front row.
Ross Byrne starts at 10, and is joined by Jamison Gibson-Park in the half-backs
Jimmy O’Brien and Jordan Larmour will play on the wings, while Jack Conan returns from injury having missed the victory over Bath last month.
Ryan is joined by Ross Molony in the second row, while Caelan Doris, Josh van der Flier and Jack Conan are in the back row
At 15 Hugo Keenan starts. Caelan Doris switches to blindside flanker in place of Rhys Ruddock.
Leinster: H Keenan; J Larmour, G Ringrose, C Frawley, J O’Brien; R Byrne, J Gibson-Park; A Porter, R Kelleher, T Furlong; R Molony, J Ryan (capt); C Doris, J van der Flier, J Conan
Dan Sheehan, Cian Healy, Michael Ala’alatoa, Rhys Ruddock, Max Deegan, Luke McGrath, Johnny Sexton, James Lowe
🔵 | 𝗟𝗲𝘁'𝘀 𝗴𝗼 𝟮𝟬𝟮𝟮!
Here's your #LeinsterRugby team for our first game of the year, against @MHR_officiel 👊
🙌 @JohnnySexton is back!
5️⃣0️⃣ #HeinekenChampionsCup games for @RhysRuddock #LEIvMHR #FromTheGroundUp pic.twitter.com/e1oOE2fH7z
— Leinster Rugby (@leinsterrugby) January 14, 2022
Connacht v Leicester, Saturday January 15th, The Sportsground (kick-off 3.15pm, BT Sport).
Andy friend makes three changes to the side that beat Munster on New Year's day for tomorrow’s Champions Cup game against the Leicester Tigers
Connacht’s all-time record try scorer Matt Healy starts on the left wing, Niall Murray comes in at second row, and hooker Shane Delahun all star
Paul Boyle starts on the bench after recovering from injury to return to the matchday 23 for the first time since the end of November.
Connacht: T O’Halloran; J Porch, S Arnold, B Aki, M Healy; J Carty (capt), K Marmion; M Burke, S Delahunt, F Bealham; O Dowling, N Murray; C Prendergast, C Oliver, J Butler. Replacements: D Heffernan, T Tuimauga, J Aungier, U Dillane, P Boyle, C Blade, C Fitzgerald, T Farrell.
Replacements: D Heffernan, T Tuimauga, J Aungier, U Dillane, P Boyle, C Blade, C Fitzgerald, T Farrell.
— Connacht Rugby (@connachtrugby) January 14, 2022
Northampton Saints v Ulster, Sunday January 16th, Franklin’s Gardens (kick-off 3.15pm, BT Sport).
Robert Baloucoune is back injury to play Ulster’s right wing
Stewart Moore partners James Hume in the midfield, Hume moves to his more favoured position of outside centre
Nathan Doak will make his first start in a European game due to John Cooney’s leg injury.
Andrew Warwick starts at loosehead prop with a fit again
Tom O’Toole is replaced by Marty Moore. Kieran Treadwell and Marcus Rea come into the back five in the pack.
There is no Jack McGrath,
Ian Madigan, who has yet to play this season, is named on a bench that includes Dave Shanahan and Eric O’Sullivan.
Ulster: M Lowry; R Baloucoune, J Hume, S Moore, E McIlroy; B Burns, N Doak; A Warwick, R Herring, M Moore; A O’Connor (capt), K Treadwell; M Rea, N Timoney, D Vermeulen. Replacements: J Andrew, E O’Sullivan, T O’Toole, S Carter, G Jones, D Shanahan, I Madigan, B Moxham.
— Ulster Rugby (@UlsterRugby) January 14, 2022