Sexton back in action for Leinster

Leinster and Ireland fly half Jonathan Sexton will make his return to action on Sunday, having been named in Joe Schmidt’s starting XV to take on Zebre, in Sunday afternoon's RaboDirect PRO12 clash at the Stadio del Tricolore (3pm GMT).

Sexton back in action for Leinster

Leinster and Ireland fly half Jonathan Sexton will make his return to action on Sunday, having been named in Joe Schmidt’s starting XV to take on Zebre, in Sunday afternoon's RaboDirect PRO12 clash at the Stadio del Tricolore (3pm GMT).

It will be Sexton’s first appearance for the province since the victory over Exeter Chiefs in January, after the Dubliner suffered a double injury blow during Ireland’s Six Nations campaign.

He will line up at half back alongside John Cooney in a starting team which includes three former Gonzaga College SJ graduates.

Brian O'Driscoll will lead the team, in the absence of Leo Cullen, and he partners Andrew Goodman at centre, with Ireland international Fergus McFadden named on the right wing and in a back three which also includes Fionn Carr and Isa Nacewa.

In the pack, Kevin McLaughlin forms an abrasive back-row unit alongside number eight Rhys Ruddock and Dominic Ryan.

Tom Denton will lock down alongside Devin Toner at second row, while loose-head prop Jack McGrath will make his 33rd appearance in a front row which also features Richardt Strauss and Michael Bent.

Academy out-half Cathal Marsh is in line to make his debut for the province should he feature off the bench.

Sunday's fixture will raise money for the provinces of Emilia and Lombardia which were affected by an earthquake last year.

Leinster (v. Zebre): I Nacewa; F McFadden, B O’Driscoll (capt), A Goodman, F Carr; J Sexton, J Cooney, J McGrath, R Strauss, M Bent; T Denton, D Toner; K McLaughlin, D Ryan, R Ruddock.

Replacements: A Dundon, J O’Connell, J Hagan, Q Roux, L Auva’a, I Boss, C Marsh, A Conway.

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