Johnny Sexton has returned to the starting line-up to skipper Leinster in Saturday’s eagerly-awaited Heineken Champions Cup quarter-final against defending champion Saracens who will be captained by Jackson Wray in his 250th appearance for the English club. 


Sexton was benched for last weekend’s Guinness PRO14 final win over Ulster but he now comes into an XV that heralds European debuts for Hugo Keenan and Will Connors, with the potential for a third with Ryan Baird chosen on the bench.  

Leinster have made four changes from the win over Ulster. Aside from the inclusion of Sexton, Luke McGrath, Sean Cronin and Will Connors all step up for a quarter-final that will be played behind closed doors at the Aviva Stadium. 

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With skipper Owen Farrell suspended following his red card in recent Premiership action, Saracens will be led by 29-year-old Wray who made his debut in 2008. Farrell is replaced at out-half by Alex Goode while all the familiar names in the pack, the likes of Maro Itoje, Jamie George and the Vunipola brothers, are all included.

Saracens are aiming to bring an end to Leinster’s 16-month unbeaten streak which stretches back to the last time the teams met, the May 2019 European final in Newcastle. 

LEINSTER: 15. Jordan Larmour; 14. Hugo Keenan, 13. Garry Ringrose, 12. Robbie Henshaw, 11. James Lowe; 10. Johnny Sexton (capt), 9. Luke McGrath; 1. Cian Healy, 2. Sean Cronin, 3. Andrew Porter, 4. Devin Toner, 5. James Ryan, 6. Caelan Doris, 7. Will Connors, 8. Jack Conan. Reps: 16. Ronan Kelleher, 17. Ed Byrne, 18. Michael Bent, 19. Ryan Baird, 20. Josh van der Flier, 21. Jamison Gibson-Park, 22. Ross Byrne, 23. Rory O’Loughlin.


SARACENS: 15. Elliot Daly; 14. Alex Lewington, 13. Duncan Taylor, 12. Brad Barritt, 11. Sean Maitland; 10. Alex Goode, 9. Richard Wigglesworth; 1. Mako Vunipola, 2. Jamie George, 3. Vincent Koch, 4. Maro Itoje, 5. Tim Swinson, 6. Mike Rhodes, 7. Jackson Wray, 8. Billy Vunipola. Reps: 16. Tom Woolstencroft, 17. Richard Barrington, 18. Alec Clarey, 19. Callum Hunter-Hill, 20. Calum Clark, 21. Aled Davies, 22. Manu Vunipola, 23 Dom Morris 

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