Champions Cup: Leinster name unchanged XV as they look to knock out holders Toulouse in Dublin

Date published: May 13 2022 - Adam Kyriacou

The Champions Cup semi-finals kick off on Saturday with one game and it should a cracker as Leinster take on Toulouse at the Aviva Stadium.

Dublin will again be rocking but this weekend it is the turn of Leinster to meet Toulouse in what promises to be another absorbing occasion in Ireland.

Due to their form, strength, freshness and home field advantage, Leinster are favourites to progress to the final but Le Rouge et Noir can’t be written off.

One change to Leinster squad

Leinster boss Leo Cullen has made one change to the matchday squad that conquered Leicester Tigers in England last weekend with Ciarán Frawley coming in ahead of Tommy O’Brien on the replacements bench.

Former Ireland U20 captain O’Brien sadly suffered an ACL injury this week ruling him out of the remainder of the campaign and beyond.

In the starting XV, wing Jimmy O’Brien will make his 50th appearance for the province as part of a back three that also contains Hugo Keenan and James Lowe.

In midfield, Garry Ringrose and Robbie Henshaw continue their partnership while captain Johnny Sexton and last weekend’s Heineken star of the match Jamison Gibson-Park complete the backs.

Up front, Andrew Porter, Rónan Kelleher and Tadhg Furlong retain their spots.

As do Ross Molony and James Ryan, who came through his return from injury with no issues last weekend.

Caelan Doris, Josh van der Flier, a try-scorer against Leicester, and Jack Conan are once again Cullen’s choice in the back-row.

Frawley is the one change on the bench with last week’s European debutant Joe McCarthy holding onto his spot. Long-serving prop Cian Healy is in line for his 99th appearance in the competition should he be introduced.

They’re joined by Dan Sheehan, Michael Ala’alatoa, Rhys Ruddock, Luke McGrath and Ross Byrne.

Meanwhile, Toulouse have made one change to their backline as Juan Cruz Mallía comes in for Dimitri Delibes on the right wing for the reigning champions.

Elsewhere in the backs it’s as you were as Antoine Dupont and Romain Ntamack look to dominate the half-back battle, with Pita Ahki an outstanding centre.

Up front there is a start for Cyril Baille at loosehead prop and Anthony Jelonch at number eight, with Francois Cros shifting to the flanker spot in Dublin.

One notable addition to the bench sees Zack Holmes given the number 23 jersey, with veteran Maxime Medard missing out this week for the semi-final clash.

Form: Leinster and Toulouse will meet for the 13th time in the Champions Cup, only Munster and Castres (18) have faced each other more often in the competition; the two clubs are evenly split having won six games apiece in their previous 12 encounters. Since losing to Toulouse in the pool stage of the 2018/19 Champions Cup, Leinster have gone on to win 21 of their 24 games in the competition. Toulouse meanwhile are unbeaten in their last five trips to Ireland in the Champions Cup, winning four fixtures before that Munster place-kicking competition.

Prediction: Leinster by 12

The teams:

Leinster: 15 Hugo Keenan, 14 Jimmy O’Brien, 13 Garry Ringrose, 12 Robbie Henshaw, 11 James Lowe, 10 Johnny Sexton (c), 9 Jamison Gibson-Park, 8 Jack Conan, 7 Josh van der Flier, 6 Caelan Doris, 5 James Ryan, 4 Ross Molony, 3 Tadhg Furlong, 2 Rónan Kelleher, 1 Andrew Porter
Replacements: 16 Dan Sheehan, 17 Cian Healy, 18 Michael Ala’alatoa, 19 Joe McCarthy, 20 Rhys Ruddock, 21 Luke McGrath, 22 Ross Byrne, 23 Ciaran Frawley

Toulouse: 15 Thomas Ramos, 14 Juan Cruz Mallía, 13 Pierre Fouyssac, 12 Pita Ahki, 11 Matthis Lebel, 10 Romain Ntamack, 9 Antoine Dupont, 8 Anthony Jelonch, 7 Francois Cros, 6 Rynhardt Elstadt, 5 Emmanuel Meafou, 4 Rory Arnold, 3 Dorian Aldegheri, 2 Julien Marchand (c), 1 Cyril Baille
Replacements: 16 Peato Mauvaka, 17 Rodrigue Neti, 18 David Ainu’u, 19 Joe Tekori, 20 Selevasio Tolofua, 21 Thibaud Flament, 22 Martin Page Relo, 23 Zack Holmes

Venue: Aviva Stadium, Dublin
Kick-off: 15:00 BST (14:00 GMT)
Referee: Karl Dickson (England)
Assistant Referee: Christophe Ridley (England), Anthony Woodthorpe (England)
TMO: Stuart Terheege (England)