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Three changes for Leinster, who also go with a six/two bench split

By Liam Heagney
Hugo Keenan will start for Leinster versus Toulouse (Photo by Harry Murphy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Leo Cullen has named a Leinster team for this Saturday’s Investec Champions Cup final versus Toulouse which has three changes from the XV that started the semi-final win 20 days ago against Northampton.

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The Irish province clung onto a 20-17 victory at Croke Park and they have now reacted by altering one back and two of their pack as they seek to win their fifth title following defeats in the past two finals versus La Rochelle.

Hugo Keenan, James Ryan, and Will Connors all made their comebacks in last Saturday’s United Rugby Championship loss to Ulster from various recent injuries.

However, only two of these returnees will start in London as Ryan has been held in reserve.

Full-back Keenan, who had a knee problem since the early April round-of-16 win over Leicester, replaces Ciaran Frawley, who drops to a bench with a six/two forwards/backs split which is a change from the five-three tactic used against Northampton.

Fixture
Investec Champions Cup
Leinster
22 - 31
Full-time
Toulouse
All Stats and Data

Second row Ryan, who was out with a ruptured bicep sustained in a “freak” training ground injury with Ireland in the lead-up to their early March Guinness Six Nations loss to England, will join Frawley on the bench.

South African Jason Jenkins, a sub against the Saints, has been promoted to the starting XV with Ross Molony excluded from the match day 23.

Openside Connors, meanwhile, was a late withdrawal from this month’s league win over Ospreys, crying off as a precautionary. He proved his fitness versus Ulster last weekend and will now start against Toulouse with Josh van der Flier, the 2022 World Rugby player of the year, named as the additional forward on the bench.

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The inclusion of Frawley and van der Flier amongst the replacements has resulted in both Harry Byrne and Jimmy O’Brien giving up the bench spots they had for the semi-final.

Leinster (vs Toulouse, Saturday):
15. Hugo Keenan (65)
14. Jordan Larmour (104)
13. Robbie Henshaw (88)
12. Jamie Osborne (43)
11. James Lowe (78)
10. Ross Byrne (158)
9. Jamison Gibson-Park (138)
1. Andrew Porter (118)
2. Dan Sheehan (59)
3. Tadhg Furlong (143)
4. Joe McCarthy (32)
5. Jason Jenkins (37)
6. Ryan Baird (66)
7. Will Connors (48)
8. Caelan Doris (79) CAPTAIN

Replacements:
16. Ronan Kelleher (60)
17. Cian Healy (276)
18. Michael Ala’alatoa (68)
19. James Ryan (80)
20. Jack Conan (144)
21. Luke McGrath (208)
22. Ciaran Frawley (84)
23. Josh van der Flier (139)

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