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.
ESPN looks at the forthcoming season of the Guinness PRO12 and assesses how each of the 12 teams will do
"Like the Treaty of Versailles, despite all the promises, the new Participation Agreement is certainly not the final solution." John Taylor writes
"We know where we are going and we know where we want to get but how long that will take is anybody's guess." David Humphreys on his plans for Gloucester
Jim Mallinder and Justin Burnell were sat on the same top table, but in different circumstances. Tom Hamilton reports on the Aviva Premiership season launch