European Rugby Champions Cup: Bath v Leinster

Johnny Sexton v Toulouse

European Rugby Champions Cup
Venue: The Recreation Ground Date: Saturday, 8 December Kick-off: 15:15 GMT
Coverage: Live score updates on BBC local radio and on the BBC Sport website

World Rugby player of the year Johnny Sexton will return to captain Leinster in their Champions Cup meeting with Bath on Sunday.

Back row Dan Leavy also returns having missed Ireland’s win over New Zealand last month with a neck strain.

Injury rules out Bath fly-half Freddie Burns meaning that James Wilson will make his first start since re-signing with the Premiership side.

Leinster sit second in Pool One behind Toulouse, with Bath in third.

Sexton, 33, has not featured for the Champions Cup and Pro14 holders since becoming the first Irishman to claim the World Rugby award in 17 years.

Head coach Leo Cullen has also been bolstered by the news that Ireland internationals Leavy and Jordan Larmour have overcome injuries having been doubtful to feature.

Champions Cup Pool One
Played Won Draw Points
1. Toulouse 2 2 0 8
2. Leinster 2 1 0 6
3. Bath 2 0 1 4
4. Wasps 2 0 1 3

Leavy takes his place at the back of the scrum alongside Josh van der Flier and vice captain Rhys Ruddock while Larmour, who recently underwent a minor procedure on his knee, starts on the right wing.

Injuries to Robbie Henshaw and Joe Tomane mean that Noel Reid will partner Garry Ringrose in midfield.

New Zealand-born Wilson left Bath at the end of last season but injuries to Burns and Wales international Rhys Priestland led to the club bringing the versatile 35-year-old back on a short term contract.

England’s new star Joe Cokanasiga brought his fine international form back to his club last week, notching his fifth try of the season to secure a draw against Sale. The 21-year-old starts in a potent back three alongside Semesa Rokoduguni and Ruaridh McConnochie.

Experienced duo Jamie Roberts and Dave Attwood are also back for the hosts, with Charlie Ewels captaining the side from the second row.

Bath: McConnochie; Rokoduguni, Willison, Roberts, Cokanasiga; Wilson, Chudley; Catt, Dunn, Thomas, Attwood, Ewels (c), Ellis, Underhill, Louw.

Replacements: Walker, van Rooyen, Lahiff, Stooke, Garvye, Fotuali’i, Vuna, Davies.

Leinster: Kearney; Larmour, Ringrose, Reid, Lowe; Sexton, McGrath; Healy, Cronin, Furlong, Toner, Ryan, Ruddock, van der Flier, Leavy.

Replacements: Tracy, Byrne, Porter, Molony, Conan, Gibson-Park, Byrne, O’Loughlin.

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