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Published: 12:36 | 14/10/16

Changes ahead of Champions Cup openers


Leinster have made four changes from the side that accounted for Munster for Saturday's Champions Cup opener against Castres, which is live on the eir Sport pack.

Rob Kearney will win his 180th cap for the province after being named at full-back with Zane Kirchner coming in on the right wing and Isa Nacewa captaining the side from the left win.

Robbie Henshaw is retained in the centre alongside Garry Ringrose, while there is a change to the half-back line with Joey Carbery coming in for his European debut alongside Luke McGrath.

Johnny Sexton has been ruled out after feeling a tightness in his hamstring.

Jack McGrath earns his 100th cap for Leinster and he will take his place in the front row alongside Sean Cronin and Tadhg Furlong, with Devin Toner and Ian Nagle retained in the second row.

Josh van der Flier comes into the starting XV at openside. Rhys Ruddock continues at blind side with Jamie Heaslip again at number eight.

Leinster (XV v Castres): R Kearney; Z Kirchner, G Ringrose, R Henshaw, I Nacewa; J Carbery, L McGrath; J McGrath, S Cronin, T Furlong, D Toner, I Nagle, R Ruddock, J van der Flier, J Heaslip.

Replacements: J Tracy, C Healy, M Ross, R Molony, D Leavy, J Gibson-Park, C Marsh, N Reid.

Connacht head coach Pat Lam has kept the changes to a minimum for the Champions Cup clasg with Toulouse at the Sportsground.

Quinn Roux returns to the second row for his third start of the season with Ultan Dillane the player to make way.

Otherwise the pack is the same with Finlay Bealham starting in the front row alongside Dave Heffernan and Conor Casey, while Roux joins Andrew Browne in the second row.

Eoin McKoen, Jake Heenan and John Muldoon complete the pack.

Tiernan O'Halloran, Niyi Adeolokun and Cian Kelleher are retained in the back three with Bundee Aki and Craig Ronaldson once again getting the nod in the centre. Jack Carty and Caolin Blade team up in the half-backs.

Connacht (XV v Toulouse): T O'Halloran; N Adeolokun, B Aki, C Ronaldson, C Kelleher, J Carty, C Blade; F Bealham, D Heffernan, C Carey, Q Roux, A Browne, E McKeon, J Heenan, J Muldoon.

Replacements: S Delahunt, R Loughney, JP Cooney, U Dillane, S O'Brien, K Marmion, S O'Leary, S Ili.

Andrew Trimble returns to the Ulster starting XV for their opener away to Bordeaux-Bègles on Sunday.

Trimble will captain the Ulster side from the right wing, with Craig Gilroy and Jared Payne retaining their places in the back three.

Luke Marshall and Stuart Olding also return to the side in the centre, while Ruan Pienaar is named alongside Paddy Jackson in the half-back line.

There are four changes to the pack with Andy Warwick coming in at loosehead prop to join Rory Best and Rodney Ah You in the front row. Alan O'Connor will lock down beside Franco van der Merwe in the second row as Sean Reidy comes in the back row to join Iain Henderson and Clive Ross.

Ulster (XV v Bordeaux-Bégles): J Payne; A Trimble, L Marshall, S Olding, C Gilroy; P Jackson, R Pienaar; A Warwick, R Best, R Ah You, A O'Connor, F van der Merwe, I Henderson, C Ross, S Reidy.

Replacements: R Herring, K McCall, R Kane, P Browne, Rr Wilson, P Marshall, J Stockdale, R Lyttle.

There is just one change to the Munster team Sunday's clash against Racing 92 with South African international Jaco Taute makes his European debut for the province.

Taute is named at outside centre in place of Keith Earls, who is following the return to play protocols.

The back three of Simon Zebo, Darren Sweetnam and Ronan O'Mahony is retained with Taute joining Rory Scannell in the midfield. Tyler Bleyendaal makes his first European appearance alongside Conor Murray in the half-back line.

It's as you were in the pack with Dave Kilcoyne joining Niall Scannell and John Ryan in the front row, while Donnacha Ryan and Billy Holland partner up in the second row.

Peter O'Mahony, Tommy O'Donnell and CJ Stander again form the back row.

Munster (XV v Racing): S Zebo; D Sweetnam, J Taute, R Scannell, R O'Mahony; T Bleyendaal, C Murray; D Kilcoyne, N Scannell, J Ryan; D Ryan, B Holland; P O'Mahony, T O'Donnell, CJ Stander.

Replacements: D Casey, B Scott, S Archer, R Copeland, J O'Donoghue, D Williams, I Keatley, D Goggin.

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