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Johnny Sexton set to miss Champions Cup quarter-final in another Leinster injury blow

Johnny Sexton (Brian Lawless/PA)
Johnny Sexton (Brian Lawless/PA)

Johnny Sexton has emerged as a major doubt for tomorrow's Champions Cup quarter-final between Leinster and Ulster as Leo Cullen prepares to leave Rob Kearney and James Lowe out of his team.

Ross Byrne is on standby to start at out-half for the European champions after sitting out last week's PRO14 defeat to Edinburgh if Sexton does not come through this morning's training session.

Kearney's absence is not thought to be related to an injury and would allow Jordan Larmour to start at full-back, with Adam Byrne and Dave Kearney on the wings.

Lowe looks set to be squeezed out by the dilemma over 'overseas' players with only two permitted under tournament rules.

Scott Fardy is to start alongside James Ryan in the second-row with Jamison Gibson-Park covering Luke McGrath at scrum-half.

Jack McGrath once again misses out on selection altogether as Ed Byrne provides cover for Cian Healy. The St Mary's man is widely expected to announce his move to Ulster in the coming weeks.

Fit-again Dan Leavy looks set to start on the bench, with Rhys Ruddock alongside Seán O'Brien and Jack Conan in the back-row, while Rory O'Loughlin gets the nod to partner Garry Ringrose in midfield.

Leinster are already without international second row Devin Toner, who has yet to return from an ankle injury picked up in the opening game of Ireland's Six Nations campaign.

Ulster, however, are expecting to receive a timely boost as Iain Henderson is passed fit to play after picking up a knee injury when playing for Ireland against France.

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