Belfast Telegraph

Leinster call on experienced Kearney

Opportunity: Rob Kearney is set for first start of campaign
Opportunity: Rob Kearney is set for first start of campaign

By Cian Tracey

Rob Kearney is set to be recalled to the Leinster team for tomorrow's Champions Cup clash against Lyon in France.

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The veteran full-back is in line for his first start of the club season, with Leo Cullen opting for experience in what will be a tough away trip.

Leinster are expected to make five changes to their starting XV, assuming everyone comes through the final session of the week.

Tadhg Furlong is fit enough to return as the tighthead having shaken off a back problem.

Scott Fardy is pushing for a place in the second-row alongside James Ryan, however Caelan Doris has been ruled out with a head injury, which paves the way for Max Deegan to earn a start after coming off the bench in last week's win against Benetton.

The two changes in the back-line are set to involve recalls for Ireland internationals Kearney and Robbie Henshaw.

Meanwhile, Joe Schmidt has claimed that he didn't select Devin Toner for Ireland's World Cup squad due to concerns over a potential ban that the experienced lock may have picked up following an incident in a warm-up fixture with Wales.

Writing in his new book Ordinary Joe, Schmidt wrote: "One issue for us was that we had been alerted that the citing commissioner was looking at an incident close to our line in the seventy-fifth minute, when Dev made shoulder contact with Rob Evans.

"We had been warned by Alain Rolland, in his presentation to us, that any shoulder-to-head contact was likely to have a starting point of a six-week suspension."

• Italy have announced former South Africa international Franco Smith as interim head coach for the 2020 Guinness Six Nations.

Smith replaces former Harlequins head coach Conor O'Shea who resigned last week after three years in the role.

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