Preview: Leinster v Montpellier

Date published: January 12 2017

Leinster head coach Leo Cullen has made five changes to his line-up that will face Montpellier in Round 5 of the Champions Cup on Friday.

Captain Isa Nacewa comes in at full-back but it's as you were elsewhere in the backline.

Adam Byrne and Rory O'Loughlin continue on the wings with Robbie Henshaw and Garry Ringrose again the midfield partnership.

Luke McGrath and Johnny Sexton will again line up in the half-backs.

In the front-row Jack McGrath and Tadhg Furlong start this weekend with James Tracy continuing at hooker. Devin Toner and Hayden Triggs again line up in the second-row behind them.

In the back-row only Jack Conan is retained but he moves to blindside flanker from number eight while Josh van der Flier, who missed out on selection last weekend through illness, comes in at openside.

Finally, Jamie Heaslip who scored a try off the bench last weekend, starts this weekend at number eight.

Meanwhile, Montpellier have made one change to their backline as Joffrey Michel replaces Jesse Mogg at full-back for this key game.

Jannie du Plessis returns up front at tighthead prop while Konstantine Mikautadze is at second-row, with the duo replacing Davit Kubriashvili and Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg respectively in the starting line-up.

Montpellier are five points adrift of Leinster and therefore must win to stand a chance of finishing as pool winners.

Form: This will be the fourth meeting between the clubs with honours even so far – one win each and a draw. Leinster have won 20 of their last 22 home games against Top 14 opposition in the competition. Toulon (2015) and Clermont (2012) are the only French sides to have tasted success in Dublin in that time. Montpellier have lost their last seven away games in the tournament. If Pool 4 leaders, Leinster, manage to win, they will be guaranteed a place in the quarter-finals. Leinster have conceded a competition low 28 penalties to date this season. Montpellier have the lowest place kicking success rate this season (61%). The last time Leinster defeated Montpellier at the RDS (Round 6, 2012), they went on to win the tournament. Johnny Sexton needs five points to reach 500 for the tournament.

The teams:

Leinster: 15 Isa Nacewa (c), 14 Adam Byrne, 13 Garry Ringrose, 12 Robbie Henshaw, 11 Rory O’Loughlin, 10 Johnny Sexton, 9 Luke McGrath, 8 Jamie Heaslip, 7 Josh van der Flier, 6 Jack Conan, 5 Hayden Triggs, 4 Devin Toner, 3 Tadhg Furlong, 2 James Tracy, 1 Jack McGrath
Replacements: 16 Richardt Strauss, 17 Cian Healy, 18 Michael Bent, 19 Ross Molony, 20 Dan Leavy, 21 Jamison Gibson-Park, 22 Ross Byrne, 23 Rob Kearney

Montpellier: 15 Joffrey Michel, 14 Timoci Nagusa, 13 Vincent Martin, 12 Joseph Tomane, 11 Nemani Nadolo, 10 Frans Steyn, 9 Nic White, 8 Pierre Spies, 7 Akapusi Qera, 6 Fulgence Ouedraogo, 5 Konstantine Mikautadze, 4 Paul Willemse, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Shalva Mamukashvili, 1 Mikheil Nariashvili
Replacements: 16 Charles Geli, 17 Yvan Watremez, 18 Davit Kubriashvili, 19 Antoine Battut, 20 Kelian Galletier, 21 Tomas O'Leary, 22 Henry Immelman, 23 Jesse Mogg

Date: Friday, January 13
Venue: RDS
Kick-off: 19:45 GMT
Referee: JP Doyle (England)
Assistant Referees: Wayne Barnes (England), Simon McConnell (England)
TMO: Stuart Terheege (England)

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