Champions Cup team news: Earls back for Munster; Sexton among Leinster returnees

Keith Earls will make his first Munster appearance of the season in tomorrow's Champions Cup opener against the Ospreys.

Champions Cup team news: Earls back for Munster; Sexton among Leinster returnees

Keith Earls will make his first Munster appearance of the season in tomorrow's Champions Cup opener away to the Ospreys.

Among the five changes to the team that defeated Ulster, Tyler Bleyendaal starts at out-half with Joey Carbery and JJ Hanrahan ruled out through injury.

Van Graan has decided to go without a specialist deputy on the bench, as academy fly-half Ben Healy is left out, with centre Rory Scannell likely to fill in if needed.

With Dave Kilcoyne also out injured, Jeremy Loughman is brought in to make his first Champions Cup start, alongside Niall Scannell and John Ryan.

The final two changes see Conor Murray and Tommy O’Donnell return to the starting team.

Mike Haley starts at full-back with last week’s match-winner Andrew Conway and Earls either side of him, while Chris Farrell joins Rory Scannell in the centre.

Jean Kleyn and Billy Holland continue in the second-row, keeping Tadhg Beirne to a replacement role.

O’Donnell completes the back-row with captain Peter O’Mahony and CJ Stander.

Munster: M Haley; A Conway, C Farrell, R Scannell, K Earls; T Bleyendaal, C Murray; J Loughman, N Scannell, J Ryan; J Kleyn, B Holland; P O’Mahony (c), T O’Donnell, CJ Stander.

Replacements: K O’Byrne, J Cronin, S Archer, T Beirne, A Botha, A Mathewson, S Arnold, D Goggin.

Ospreys: C Evans; H Dirksen, T Thomas-Wheeler, S Williams, T Williams; L Price, S Venter; R Jones, S Otten, M Fia; M Orie, L Ashley; D Lydiate (c), O Cracknell, M Morris.

Replacements: I Phillips, N Smith, G Gajion, B Davies, S Cross, A Davies, J Hook, K Williams.

Captain Johnny Sexton, Garry Ringrose, Jordan Larmour, James Ryan, and Josh van der Flier are all involved in blue for the first time this season as Leinster face Benetton at the RDS tomorrow.

Rónan Kelleher gets his European debut at hooker, between Cian Healy and Andrew Porter in an unchanged front-row.

Caelan Doris also makes his European bow in the back-row, where Rhys Ruddock is restored to the starting team.

Dubliner Ian Keatley starts for Benetton at fly-half.

Leinster: J Larmour; D Kearney, G Ringrose, J Tomane, J Lowe; J Sexton (c), L McGrath; C Healy, R Kelleher, A Porter; D Toner, J Ryan; R Ruddock, J van der Flier, C Doris.

Replacements: J Tracy, P Dooley, M Bent, S Fardy, M Deegan, J Gibson-Park, R Byrne, R O’Loughlin.

Benetton: J Hayward; A Esposito, N Brex, A Sgarbi (c), L Sperandio; I Keatley, D Duvenage; N Quaglio, H Faiva, M Riccioni; I Herbst, D Budd; G Pettinelli, B Steyn, N Manu.

Replacements: E Makelara, F Zani, T Pasquali, M Fuser, M Lazzaroni, T Halafihi, T Tebaldi, T Allan.

Ultan Dillane and Matt Healy return from injury and Bundee Aki is back from international duty in the Connacht team to welcome Montpellier on Sunday.

Dillane comes into the second row alongside former Ireland Under-20 international Cillian Gallagher.

Jack Carty and Caolin Blade continue their half-back partnership, with Irish international Kieran Marmion on the injured list.

Connacht: D Leader; N Adeolokun, K Godwin, B Aki, M Healy; J Carty, C Blade; D Buckley, T McCartney, D Robertson-McCoy; C Gallagher, U Dillane; C Fainga'a, J Butler (c), P Boyle.

Replacements: D Heffernan, M Burke, C Kenny, E Masterson, R Copeland, S Kerins, T Daly, J Porch.

Montpellier: A Bouthier; G N'gandebe, A Vincent, J Serfontein, Y Reilhac; A Cruden, B Paillaugue (c); M Nariashvili, Y Delhommel, M Haouas; NJ van Rensburg, P Willemse; K Galletier, Y Camara, C Timu.

Replacements: B Du Plessis, G Fichten, Jannie Du Plessis, F Ouedraogo, E Sanga, J Bardy, H Immelman, Jacques Du Plessis.

Iain Henderson leads Ulster out for the first time since being named club captain as he returns for their visit to Bath tomorrow.

Henderson is partnered in the engine room for the first time with summer signing Sam Carter.

Billy Burns returns to take the fly-half position where he may run into his brother, Bath full-back Freddie.

Will Addison returns to full-back for Ulster, between wingers Jacob Stockdale and Rob Lyttle.

Ulster: W Addison; R Lyttle, L Marshall, S McCloskey, J Stockdale; B Burns, J Cooney; J McGrath, R Herring, M Moore; I Henderson (c), S Carter; M Rea, J Murphy, M Coetzee.

Replacements: A McBurney, E O'Sullivan, T O'Toole, A O'Connor, S Reidy, D Shanahan, A Curtis, L Ludik.

Bath: F Burns; S Rokoduguni, J Joseph, J Roberts, R McConnochie; R Priestland, W Chudley; B Obano, T Dunn, W Stuart; J McNally, C Ewels (c); M Williams, S Underhill, Z Mercer.

Replacements: J Walker, L Boyce, C Judge, E Stooke, J Bayliss, C Cook, M Wright, G Hamer-Webb.

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