Furlong and Lowe in for Leinster, Kerr-Barlow out for La Rochelle

Kerr-Barlow's race to recover from a hand injury has ran out of time.
Furlong and Lowe in for Leinster, Kerr-Barlow out for La Rochelle

Tadhg Furlong during Leinster Rugby squad training at UCD in Dublin. Photo by Harry Murphy/Sportsfile

Tadhg Furlong and James Lowe have both been named in an unchanged Leinster team to face La Rochelle in Saturday’s Heineken Champions Cup final in Marseille.

The Ireland pair were doubts after picking up ankle and shin problems respectively in the semi-final defeat of Toulouse a fortnight ago so their availability is a massive boost to the province as it chases a fifth European Cup title this weekend.

Leo Cullen has been able to avail of the luxury of an unchanged XV and matchday 23 as he faces up to Ronan O’Gara’s Top 14 side. That means no place for Jordan Larmour or for Ryan Baird despite that pair’s impressive efforts against Munster last weekend after their own injury issues.

La Rochelle have been offered encouragement of their own with second row Will Skelton parachuted into the starting side after his own calf injury. The former Saracens forward returned to action at the back end of last weekend’s Top 14 win against Stade Francais.

Skelton had been all but ruled out, publicly at least, for the rest of the season not so long ago but his availability is a major plus given the problems he has afforded Leinster in recent years. However, Tawera Kerr-Barlow does not make the 23.

The scrum-half has two broken bones in his hand and will play no part despite O’Gara’s attempts to source the player with a special Mycro glove used in hurling.

LEINSTER: H Keenan, J O'Brien, G Ringrose, R Henshaw, J Lowe, J Sexton, J Gibson-Park; A Porter, R Kelleher, T Furlong, R Molony, J Ryan, C Doris, J Van der Flier, J Conan.

Replacements: D Sheehan, C Healy, M Ala'alatoa, J McCarthy, R Ruddock, L McGrath, R Byrne, C Frawley.

LA ROCHELLE: B Dulin, D Leyds, J Sinzelle, J Danty, R Rhule, I West, T Berjon; D Priso, P Bourgarit, U Atonio, T Lavault, W Skelton, W Liebenberg, M Haddad, G Alldrit.

Replacements: F Bosch, R Wardi, J Sclavi, R Sazy, R Bourdeau, A Reviere, L Botia, J Favre.

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