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Heineken Champions Cup Preview – La Rochelle will welcome star-studded Leinster for second semi-final


The second Heineken Champions semi-final will see Leinster take on La Rochelle on Sunday.

Ross Byrne will get his 100th cap for Leinster in Sundays match after he replaced the injured Johnny Sexton who is not available for this one.

With Sexton out the captaincy will also go to Luke McGrath who will play in the number nine jumper.

La Rochelle will be happy to see Ker-Barlow and Ihaia West starting the match after they recover from their injuries.

The only change from the side that beat Sale in the quarter finals is Wiaan Liebenberg replacing Kevin Gourdon.

La Rochelle will be going for their first Champions Cup trophy against a side that have won it four times. Leinster have named a full XV if Ireland internationals with the return of Ryan and Ringrose.

Leinster have won 25 of their last 28 games in the European Cup, averaging 32 points per game. Six of Leinster’s last 7 matches at the semi-final stage have come against French opposition, winning three and losing three of those clashes.

What should be a motivated factor for La Rochelle is that of those semi-finals, Leinster played four of their semi-finals in France, winning just once against Clermont Auvergne in 2012, and losing the other three.

South African Raymond Rhule has been on of La Rochelle stars so far in Europe scoring three tries for his club and have been safe under the high ball as well.

The home side have some quality players in their team with Gourdon with a great average gain of 6,3 meters per carry, one of the best than any forward

This is not a clear cut game as many may think and with La Rochelle playing at home Leinster will have to come with their best if they want to advance to the final.


La Rochelle: Dulin; Leyds, Doumayrou, Botia, Rhule; West, Kerr-Barlow; Wardi, Bourgarit, Atonio, Sazy (capt), Skelton, Alldritt, Liebenberg, Vito.

Replacements: Bosch, Priso, Joly, Lavault, Gourdon, Retiere, Plisson, Aguillon.

Leinster: Keenan; Larmour, Ringrose, Henshaw, Lowe; R Byrne, McGrath (capt); Healy, R Kelleher, Furlong, Toner, Ryan, Ruddock, van der Flier, Conan.

Replacements: Tracy, E Byrne, Porter, Fardy, Baird, Osborne, Frawley, O’Loughlin.

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