Belfast Telegraph

Sexton back for derby clash

By Alex Lowe

Johnny Sexton returns to the Leinster team for today's crunch derby against Munster at the Aviva Stadium.

The Ireland fly-half missed last weekend's narrow loss in Connacht but is one of nine changes made by head coach Leo Cullen as they attempt to complete a season double over their fierce rivals.

Eoin Reddan partners Sexton at half-back with fellow Ireland internationals Jack McGrath and Sean Cronin in the front row.

Devin Toner and Jamie Heaslip are promoted to the starting line-up after coming off the bench in Galway, while Springbok Zane Kirchner comes in at full-back.

Munster sit seven points behind second-placed Leinster in the PRO12 standings and Anthony Foley's men will be out for revenge following their 24-7 defeat at Thomond Park in December.

Foley makes five changes to the team that whitewashed Zebre last weekend with CJ Stander resuming the role of captain for the first time since making his Ireland debut in the Six Nations.

Stander starts at No 8 with Conor Murray back at scrum-half. All Black Francis Saili returns to the Munster midfield alongside Rory Scannell, with Keith Earls reverting to the wing.

Belfast Telegraph


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