Champions Cup final: Leinster and Toulouse name teams for Saturday : Planet Rugby

Two of Europe’s most decorated rugby teams, Leinster and Toulouse, will battle it out for Investec Champions Cup glory on Saturday.

Leinster will be desperate to win a fifth title, while for Toulouse number six is ​​on the line as the competition comes to a fascinating finale at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Despite reaching the last two finals, as well as the 2019 final, Leo Cullen’s men have not won the coveted award since 2018, while Toulouse last tasted European success in 2021.

final team news

There are three changes from the Leinster team that beat Northampton Saints in the semi-final earlier this month, with Josh van der Flier returning to the bench.

Hugo Keenan, Jason Jenkins and Will Connors return to the starting line-up, with the latter replacing the former World Rugby Player of the Year at flyside.

All four of Leinster’s Champions Cup Player of the Year nominees, James Lowe, Jamison Gibson-Park, Dan Sheehan and captain Caelan Doris, start in London.

Keenan is named full-back, with Jordan Larmour and Lowe completing the back three.

Robbie Henshaw and Jamie Osborne continue their partnership in the centre, with Ross Byrne joining Gibson-Park in the halves.

Champions Cup: What happens if the Leinster-Toulouse final ends in a draw?

In the group, Andrew Porter and Tadhg Furlong join Sheehan in an all-Irish trio. It is the second year in a row that top stars have started in the European final.

Having won the Nevin Spence Men’s XV Young Player of the Year award at the Rugby Players Ireland Awards earlier this week, Joe McCarthy gets the nod in the second row alongside Jason Jenkins.

Finally, in the back row, Doris is joined by Ryan Baird and Connors, this being the first outing in a final for the latter duo.

Among the substitutes, there are four players with at least 100 Leinster caps, while all eight have at least 60 caps.

Cian Healy will be playing in his ninth European final, while Leinster co-captain James Ryan is in line for his first European appearance in this season’s knockout stages, having last appeared in the group final against Leicester Tigers.

Toulouse unchanged

Toulouse, meanwhile, named an unchanged starting XV since their semi-final victory against Harlequins, with Antoine Dupont once again captaining the scrum-half.

The French superstar continues to partner fly-half Romain Ntamack in the midfield, while Pita Ahki and Paul Costes join forces again in midfield on Saturday.

Further back on the wings are Matthis Lebel and Juan Cruz Mallia, while Scotland international Blair Kinghorn retains the number 15 shirt while Thomas Ramos is on the bench.

Up front, it’s how you were when Cyril Baille and Dorian Aldegheri corralled either side of Peato Mauvaka while Thibaud Flament and Emmanuel Meafou were the safeties.

The battle of the last lines on Saturday will be a fierce fight between François Cros, Jack Willis and Alexandre Roumat against Baird, Connors and Doris.

Ugo Mola’s only change to his squad on the day comes on the bench, as Joshua Brennan replaces Mathis Castro-Ferreira as a replacement option for the defender.

The teams

Leinster: 15 Hugo Keenan, 14 Jordan Larmour, 13 Robbie Henshaw, 12 Jamie Osborne, 11 James Lowe, 10 Ross Byrne, 9 Jamison Gibson-Park, 8 Caelan Doris (c), 7 Will Connors, 6 Ryan Baird, 5 Jason Jenkins, 4 Joe McCarthy, 3 Tadhg Furlong, 2 Dan Sheehan, 1 Andrew Porter
Replacements: 16 Rónan Kelleher, 17 Cian Healy, 18 Michael Ala’alatoa, 19 James Ryan, 20 Jack Conan, 21 Luke McGrath, 22 Ciarán Frawley, 23 Josh van der Flier

Toulouse: 15 Blair Kinghorn, 14 Juan Cruz Mallia, 13 Paul Costes, 12 Pita Ahki, 11 Matthis Lebel, 10 Romain Ntamack, 9 Antoine Dupont (c), 8 Alexandre Roumat, 7 Jack Willis, 6 François Cros, 5 Emmanuel Meafou, 4 Thibaud Flament, 3 Dorian Aldegheri, 2 Peato Mauvaka, 1 Cyril Baille
Replacements: 16 Julien Marchand, 17 Rodrigue Neti, 18 Joel Merkler, 19 Richie Arnold, 20 Joshua Brennan, 21 Paul Graou, 22 Santiago Chocobares, 23 Thomas Ramos

Date: Saturday May 25
Event: Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, London
Kick off: 14:45 GMT (13:45 GMT)
Referee: Matthew Carley (England)
Assistant referees: Karl Dickson (England), Andrea Piardi (Italy)
TMO: Ian Tempest (England)

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