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Preview: Leinster v Exeter

12th October 2012 09:58

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Cian Healy Leinster scoring a try against Clermont Heineken Cup

100 up: Cian Healy

Cian Healy will play his 100th game in Leinster colours on Saturday as the champions begin the defence of their crown against Exeter at the RDS.

The 25-year-old prop will start in the front-row alongside Richardt Strauss and Mike Ross while skipper Leo Cullen partners Damian Browne - who will play his 25th Leinster game - at lock.

Kevin McLaughlin continues in the back-row alongside Shane Jennings and Jamie Heaslip.

The backline is unchanged from the one which started last weekend's victory over Munster with Fergus McFadden partnering Brian O'Driscoll at centre and Isa Nacewa on the left wing making his 33rd Heineken Cup appearance.

Rob Kearney trained well on Thursday but pulled up sore afterwards, as a result Ian Madigan continues at full-back for his second Heineken Cup start. Both Kearney and Gordon D'Arcy are expected to be available for selection for the Round 2 trip to Llanelli next weekend.

Meanwhile, scrum-half Isaac Boss has recovered from the injury he sustained on the opening weekend of the league campaign and takes his place amongst the replacements alongside fellow Ireland internationals Sean Cronin and Devin Toner.

Exeter teams news see coach Rob Baxter unsurprisingly stick with virtually the same side that saw off Harlequins at Sandy Park.

The two changes come in the pack where Irishman and skipper Tom Hayes returns in place of Dean Mumm, whilst James Scaysbrook is also back at openside flanker in place of the injured Ben White.

On the bench, Chris Whitehead - another who missed out last week - returns at the expense of Neil Clark; whilst Aussie international Dean Mumm remains within the squad as an option both in the second and back-row.

Rugby Union betting odds

The teams:

Leinster: 15 Ian Madigan, 14 Andrew Conway, 13 Brian O'Driscoll, 12 Fergus McFadden, 11 Isa Nacewa, 10 Jonathan Sexton, 9 Eoin Reddan, 8 Jamie Heaslip, 7 Shane Jennings, 6 Kevin McLaughlin, 5 Damian Browne, 4 Leo Cullen (capt), 3 Mike Ross, 2 Richardt Strauss, 1 Cian Healy.
Replacements: 16 Sean Cronin, 17 Heinke van der Merwe, 18 Jamie Hagan, 19 Devin Toner, 20 Leo Auva'a, 21 Jordi Murphy, 22 Isaac Boss, 23 Fionn Carr.

Exeter: 15 Luke Arscott, 14 Ian Whitten, 13 Phil Dollman, 12 Jason Shoemark, 11 Matt Jess, 10 Gareth Steenson, 9 Haydn Thomas, 8 Richard Baxter, 7 James Scaysbrook, 6 Tom Johnson, 5 James Hanks, 4 Tom Hayes, 3 Carl Rimmer, 2 Simon Alcott, 1 Brett Sturgess.
Replacements: 16 Chris Whitehead, 17 Chris Budgen, 18 Ben Moon, 19 Ally Muldowney, 20 Dean Mumm, 21 Will Chudley, 22 Ignacio Mieres, 23 Sireli Naqelevuki.

Date: Saturday, October 13
Kick-off: 15:40 BST
Venue: RDS
Referee: Pascal Gauzere (France)
Assistant referees: Jean-Luc Rebollal (France), Cyril Lafon (France)
Television match official: Daniel Irazoqui (France)
Timekeeper: Andrew Baird (Ireland)
Assessor: Clayton Thomas (Wales)
Citing commissioner: Ray Wilton (Wales)

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PosTeamPPts
2Saracens313
3Northampton311
4Exeter310
5Leicester Tigers39
6Harlequins38