Leinster v Bath preview: Team news, kick-off time, line-ups and stats for the Champions Cup clash
Leinster takes on Bath on Saturday at the RDS Arena: 17:30 kick-off
Six players make their first European starts for Leinster as the hosts make several changes
Bath name an unchanged starting line-up ahead of this weekend’s fixture
Leinster have made several changes to their starting XV, with six players making their first European starts against Bath at the RDS Arena in the Champions Cup on Saturday.
Ireland fly-half Ian Madigan is named in an otherwise youthful starting line-up with the Irish side unable to qualify following four straight defeats.
Exciting young talents Garry Ringrose and Luke McGrath make their first starts while Peter Dooley and Ross Malony are handed their European debuts.
Springbok Zane Kirchner also returns, one of eight changes from the side that defeated Ospreys in the Pro12 last weekend.
Meanwhile, the visitors have named an unchanged starting XV ahead of this weekend’s fixture.
In the backs, Anthony Watson provides the threat from full-back, as Matt Banahan and Semesa Rokoduguni once again start out wide on the wings.
Chris Cook and George Ford, so effective last Sunday, continue their half-back partnership. Fresh from thriving against the challenge of Mathieu Bastareaud and Ma’a Nonu in the south of France are centres Kyle Eastmond and Jonathan Joseph.
Up front, Max Lahiff, Rob Webber and David Wilson are named in the front-row following their powerful performance in Toulon last weekend.
Captain Stuart Hooper partners Dominic Day in the second-row, whilst the back-row once again consists of Matt Garvey, Francois Louw and Leroy Houston.
- Including last year’s semi-final defeat to Toulon, Leinster have now lost five Champions Cup games on the bounce, their worst ever run of form in the competition
- If the Irish province lose this game it will be the first time they have lost three home games in a row in the competition
- Bath have lost six of seven away games against Irish opposition in this competition, three of those defeats have come at the hands of Leinster
- This will be the ninth time these two teams have faced off, the Irish province have won six of the previous eight encounters (L2).
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Leinster: Dave Kearney
Bath: George Ford
Leinster: 15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Isa Nacewa (c), 13 Garry Ringrose, 12 Ben Te’o, 11 Dave Kearney, 10 Ian Madigan, 9 Luke McGrath, 8 Jordi Murphy, 7 Josh van der Flier, 6 Rhys Ruddock, 5 Mike McCarthy, 4 Ross Molony, 3 Tadhg Furlong, 2 James Tracy, 1 Peter Dooley
Replacements: 16 Sean Cronin, 17 Jack McGrath, 18 Marty Moore, 19 Tom Denton, 20 Sean O’Brien, 21 Eoin Reddan, 22 Johnny Sexton, 23 Noel Reid
Bath: 15 Anthony Watson, 14 Semesa Rokoduguni, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Kyle Eastmond, 11 Matt Banahan, 10 George Ford, 9 Chris Cook, 8 Leroy Houston, 7 Francois Louw, 6 Matt Garvey, 5 Dominic Day, 4 Stuart Hooper (c), 3 David Wilson, 2 Rob Webber, 1 Max Lahiff
Replacements: 16 Ross Batty, 17 Nick Auterac, 18 Henry Thomas, 19 Charlie Ewels, 20 David Denton, 21 Jonathan Evans, 22 Rhys Priestland, 23 Tom Homer
Date: Saturday, January 16
Kick-off: 17:30 GMT
Referee: Pascal Gauzère (France)
Assistant Referees: Maxime Chalon (France), Jean-Luc Rebollal (France)
TMO: Eric Gonthier (France)