Preview: Montpellier v Leinster

Date published: October 21 2016

Montpellier have made a number of changes to their side for their clash with Leinster at Altrad Stadium on Sunday. 

In the backline Joffrey Michel replaces Bejamin Fall who drops out the squad completely. Alexandre Dumoulin moves from outside centre to inside to make place for Vincent Martin at 13 with Frans Steyn moving to fly-half.

In the forward pack Akapusi Qera starts in the seven jersey with Antoine Battut dropping out the squad. Fulgence Ouedraogo replaces Jacques Du Plessis at six with the latter moving to lock in the place of Konstantine Mikautadze. In the front-row Jannie du Plessis and Yvan Watremez return to the starting line-up.

Meanwhile, Leinster head coach Leo Cullen has announced his matchday 23 for their Champions Cup game.

There are a number of changes to the team that accounted for Castres last weekend in the RDS Arena with six changes to the starting XV and new additions to the bench.

In the backs it's largely as you were with only one change. The back three again includes Rob Kearney at full-back, Zane Kirchner on the right wing and Isa Nacewa as captain on the left wing.

Robbie Henshaw and Garry Ringrose will continue their midfield partnership for the third game in a row.

In the half-backs Luke McGrath starts at scrum half with the fit again Johnny Sexton selected at ten for his 130th Leinster cap. Sexton missed out on selection last weekend with a tight hamstring.

It's a completely new front-row with a mixture of youth and experience with Cian Healy, James Tracy and Mike Ross starting. Healy and Ross have over 300 Leinster caps between them but it will only be James Tracy's second ever European start in what will be his 23rd game for Leinster.

Devin Toner continues in the second-row but is partnered this weekend by Mike McCarthy who has recovered from a foot injury to take his place in the pack.

Having played for the Leinster 'A' team last weekend in the British & Irish Cup, Sean O'Brien makes his long awaited senior return having last played for Leinster over nine months ago also in the Champions Cup against Bath.

Man of the match for the Castres game, Josh van der Flier, continues at open-side flanker while Jamie Heaslip is again selected in the number eight jersey having become the most capped Leinster forward of all time last weekend when he achieved 222 caps.

Cullen has selected six forwards and two backs on his bench with Mick Kearney in line to make his European debut for Leinster. All of his previous 12 caps for Leinster have been won in the PRO12.

The teams:

Montpellier: 15 Joffrey Michel, 14 Marvin O'Connor, 13 Vincent Martin, 12 Alexandre Dumoulin, 11 Nemani Nadolo, 10 Frans Steyn, 9 Nic White, 8 Pierre Spies, 7 Akapusi Qera, 6 Fulgence Ouedraogo, 5 Paul Willemse, 4 Jacques Du Plessis, 3 Jannie Du Plessis, 2 Shalva Mamukashvili, 1 Yvan Watremez
Replacements: 16 Romain Ruffenach, 17 Mikheil Nariashvili, 18 Davit Kubriashvili, 19 Nicholaas Van Rensburg, 20 Wiaan Liebenberg, 21 Tomas O'Leary, 22 Ben Botica, 23 Jesse Mogg

Leinster: 15 Rob Kearney, 14 Zane Kirchner, 13 Garry Ringrose, 12 Robbie Henshaw, 11 Isa Nacewa (c), 10 Johnny Sexton, 9 Luke McGrath, 8 Jamie Heaslip, 7 Josh van der Flier, 6 Sean O'Brien, 5 Mike McCarthy, 4 Devin Toner, 3 Mike Ross, 2 James Tracy, 1 Cian Healy
Replacements: 16 Sean Cronin, 17 Jack McGrath, 18 Michael Bent, 19 Mick Kearney, 20 Jordi Murphy, 21 Dan Leavy, 22 Jamison Gibson-Park, 23 Joey Carbery

Date: Sunday, October 23
Venue: Altrad Stadium
Kick-off: 14:00 local (12:00 GMT) 
Referee: Luke Pearce (England)
Assistant Referees: Ian Tempest (England), Paul Burton (England)
TMO: Jean-Pierre Pellaprat (France)