Leinster primed for Biarritz battle
April 26, 2013
Brian O'Driscoll is named at outside centre for the match with Biarritz © PA Photos
Leinster have named a team packed with Ireland stars for their Amlin Challenge Cup semi-final with Biarritz on Saturday.
Perpignan vie with Stade Francais for a spot in the last two on Friday evening and Leinster will be aiming to reach their third European final in as many years. While they are out of the running for the Heineken Cup, a competition they won in 2011 and 2012, they will be hopeful of winning the Challenge Cup, especially with the final at their home ground the RDS.
And coach Joe Schmidt has rolled out his star players for the match against Biarritz with Gordon D'Arcy missing out due to injury. Rob Kearney is named at fullback with Fergus McFadden and Isa Nacewa on the flanks. Brian O'Driscoll partners Ian Madigan in the centres while Jonathan Sexton partners Isaac Boss at half-back.
In the forwards Cian Healy, Richardt Strauss and Mike Ross form a familiar looking front-row with Leo Cullen and Devin Toner packing down in the second-row. Kevin McLaughlin, Shane Jennings and Jamie Heaslip form the back three.
Biarritz, who lifted the Challenge Cup last year following their win in the final over Toulon, have also fielded a strong team. Dimitri Yachvili will pull the strings at scrum-half while Taku Ngwenya and Aled Brew will look to inject some pace on the flanks. In the pack, former Wasps tight-head Ben Broster starts with Raphael Lakafia lining up at openside and Imanol Harinordoquy captaining the team at No.8.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
The news of James Horwill, Adam Ashley-Cooper and Dan Carter's respective transfers will open the floodgates, writes Tom Hamilton
Kiwi coaches can be found far and wide across the globe, and Murray Mexted believes the All Blacks benefit every bit as much as their rivals
Clermont, Toulon, player burnout, Sam Burgess and a farewell to Adams Park - Monday Maul looks back at the weekend's action
The latest Week in Pictures takes in some original ways of welcoming teams to the field and plenty of tries from the European Champions Cup