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Leinster change two, but Ringrose and Keenan remain absent

By Liam Heagney
Jamison Gibson-Park (second right) celebrates a Leinster try versus La Rochelle with Will Connors, Ciaran Frawley and Caelan Doris (Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Leo Cullen has made two changes to his Investec Champions Cup semi-final XV to host Northampton in Dublin on Saturday from the Leinster team that dethroned La Rochelle in last month’s quarter-finals.


The Irish province swatted aside their French rivals, winning 40-13 after successive narrow defeats to Ronan O’Gara’s team in the 2022 and 2023 finals.

Leinster sent a second-string squad to South Africa where they were beaten by the Lions (12-44) and the Stormers (12-42) in recent weeks in the URC.

Video Spacer

Nemani Nadolo on his peak and once being considered “too big”

Former Fijian winger Nemani Nadolo chats to Liam Heagney about when he reached his peak and how he was actually at one stage considered too big to play rugby.

Video Spacer

Nemani Nadolo on his peak and once being considered “too big”

Former Fijian winger Nemani Nadolo chats to Liam Heagney about when he reached his peak and how he was actually at one stage considered too big to play rugby.

Now, ahead of a semi-final that will attract a sold-out 82,300 attendance to Croke Park, Cullen has unveiled a selection that shows two switches in the pack from their frontline team named three weeks ago in their previous Champions Cup outing.

Midfielder Garry Ringrose, who missed out in the quarter-finals, was declared fit at the start of this week after his recent shoulder issue but he hasn’t been included in the match day 23. Neither has full-back Hugo Keenan, whose hip injury was said last Monday to be under further assessment.

Investec Champions Cup
20 - 17
All Stats and Data

That means Leinster have named the same backline that took apart La Rochelle, but they have made alterations in their pack with Ross Molony named in the second row and Jason Jenkins benched.

Josh van der Flier has also been promoted from the replacements to be this weekend’s starting openside, with Will Connors losing out.


Against La Rochelle, Leinster went with a six/two forwards/backs split but that now reverts to a five-three split to face Northampton as Jimmy O’Brien has been chosen as an extra backline option.

Loosehead Cian Healy, who didn’t feature the last day, is restored to the bench with Michael Milne missing. If he plays, Healy will become the all-time appearance holder in the history of the Champions Cup as he is currently on 110 alongside O’Gara.

Leinster (vs Northampton, Saturday)
15. Ciaran Frawley (83)
14. Jordan Larmour (103)
13. Robbie Henshaw (87)
12. Jamie Osborne (42)
11. James Lowe (77)
10. Ross Byrne (157)
9. Jamison Gibson-Park (137)
1. Andrew Porter (117)
2. Dan Sheehan (58)
3. Tadhg Furlong (142)
4. Ross Molony (178)
5. Joe McCarthy (31)
6. Ryan Baird (65)
7. Josh van der Flier (138)
8. Caelan Doris (78) CAPTAIN

16. Ronan Kelleher (58)
17. Cian Healy (274)
18. Michael Ala’alatoa (66)
19. Jason Jenkins (36)
20. Jack Conan (142)
21. Luke McGrath (207)
22. Harry Byrne (65)
23. Jimmy O’Brien (76)




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Jon 2 hours ago
British & Irish Lions free agent open to Super Rugby switch

There are a couple of teams who could use a stop gap experienced head. Blues - I’m not sure the Blues have signed a replacement for Caleb Tangitau (if he hasn’t been let go to make room for Barrett) yet, or whether Reiko is going on sabbatical and/or will remain in the squad. With exciting young French player Xavi Taele looking destined for higher honors in black, talented breakthrough rookie Cory Evan’s, and a couple of utilities, in AJ Lam and Bryce Heem(even Clarke?), all trying to learn the midfield trade, Williams could be a great aid. The Blues signed key English center Joe Marchant before he was raised to that level, and were possibly in the hunt to bring back the dependable Tele’a from the Highlanders. Possible the main squeeze which would put to bed any signing here would be the battle at 10 with Beauden’s return, and the forcing of Plummer back into the midfield. Hurricanes - Jordie Barrett is off to Leinster for a sabbatical next year but the more likely signing would be Billy’s brother back in the team. The Hurricanes are light on the outside with the loss of Salesi Rayasi to the Top 14 and if no quality is found to back up Kini Naholo, the midfield of Sullivan or Proctors could find themselves on the wing and space for a leader to show the Hurricanes three All Black midfield hopefuls (Higgins, Proctor, Umaga-Jensen) how its done. Highlanders - Rotation is high as usual at the Highlanders and versatility remains a strength with a lot of the squad. With compatriot Rhys Patchell signing a move to the JRLO, the passing of outside back Connor Garden-Bachop, and confirmed departure of Argentine wing Martin Bogado, the versatility of many of the young backups in the squad could see a veteran 12 like Williams being a strong partner for the robust Tele’a. With hope that the other Umaga-Jensen brother can force him out of the starting lineup, and shifting the sides general Sam Gilbert back into 10, the off-contract midfielder might seen as the perfect option for a squad still looking to fill one back spot.

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