Champions Cup Final Teams: Double Injury Boost For La Rochelle, Three Leinster Milestones

Champions Cup Final Teams: Double Injury Boost For La Rochelle, Three Leinster Milestones

The teams for Saturday's Champions Cup final at the Stade Velodrome in Marseille have been named.

  • Leinster unchanged from semi-final
  • Will Skelton and Brice Dulin fit for La Rochelle
  • Garry Ringrose will be making his 100th Leinster Rugby appearance
  • Robbie Henshaw will be making his 50th appearance in the Champions Cup
  • Cian Healy will be making his 100th European appearance

Leinster team news

Leo Cullen has opted to go for the same 23 that defeated Toulouse in the semi-final a fortnight ago at Aviva Stadium.

Garry Ringrose will be making his 100th Leinster Rugby appearance having first made his debut against Cardiff in September 2015.

In the 99 appearances to date, he has scored 153 points for the province (29 tries and four conversions) as well as becoming a mainstay for the national side.

Henshaw will be making his 50th appearance in the Champions Cup, 12 of those coming for Connacht Rugby between 2012 and 2014, while it’s a 100th European club competition outing for Healy, his 97th in the premier competition with three in Leinster’s 2013 Challenge Cup win.

Andrew Porter, Rónan Kelleher and Tadhg Furlong will pack down in front of locks Ross Molony and James Ryan. In the back row, and completing the starting XV are Caelan Doris, Josh van der Flier and Jack Conan.

At half-back, captain Johnny Sexton and Jamison Gibson-Park retain their spots with Henshaw and Ringrose in the centres. Hugo Keenan, Jimmy O’Brien and James Lowe complete the starting backs.

Replacements: Dan Sheehan, Healy, Michael Ala’alatoa, Joe McCarthy, Rhys Ruddock, Luke McGrath, Ross Byrne and Ciarán Frawley


La Rochelle team news

Ronan O'Gara has made two changes in his pack from the side that beat Racing 92 in the semi-finals with a further two in the backline.

Brice Dulin returns from injury to start at fullback with Dillyn Leyds shifting to the right wing and Jules Favre dropping to the bench. Raymond Rhule completes the back three starting on the left wing.

The centre remain the same with Jonathan Danty at inside centre and Jeremy Sinzelle at outside centre. With Tawera Kerr-Barlow ruled out through injury, 24-year-old Thomas Berjon starts at scrumhalf with Ihaia West retaining the starting flyhalf role.

Dany Priso, Pierre Bourgarit, and Uini Atonio start in an unchanged front row with Will Skelton returning in the second row alongside Thomas Lavault. 

Victor Vito misses the final through injury and is replaced by Matthias Haddad in the no.7 jersey with Gregory Alldritt captaining the side at number 8.

Pierre Popelin has dropped out of the matchday 23 with Arthur Retiere, Levani Botia, and Jules Favre providing backline cover. Facundo Bosch, Reda Wardi, Joel Sclavi, Romain Sazy, and Remi Bourdeau are the forward replacements.

Leinster Rugby v Stade Rochelais
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Date: Sat 28 May 2022 
KO: 17:45 (16:45 UK & Irish)
Venue: Stade Vélodrome

16. Dan Sheehan, 17. Cian Healy, 18. Michael Ala'alatoa, 19. Joe McCarthy, 20. Rhys Ruddock, 21. Luke McGrath, 22. Ross Byrne, 23. Ciaran Frawley,

Stade Rochelais
15. Brice Dulin, 14. Dillyn Leyds, 13. Jérémy Sinzelle, 12. Jonathan Danty, 11. Raymond Rhule, 10. Ihaia West, 9. Thomas Berjon, 1. Dany Priso, 2. Pierre Bourgarit, 3. Uini Atonio, 4. Thomas Lavault, 5. Will Skelton, 6. Wiaan Liebenberg, 7. Matthias Haddad, 8. Grégory Alldritt (c).

16. Facundo Bosch, 17. Reda Wardi, 18. Joel Sclavi, 19. Romain Sazy, 20. Remi Bourdeau, 21. Arthur Retiere, 22. Levani Botia, 23. Jules Favre,

Referee: Wayne Barnes (England)

AR1: Matthew Carley (England)

AR2: Christophe Ridley (England)

TMO: Tom Foley (England)

Broadcasters: France 2 / beIN SPORTS / BT Sport / Channel 4 / Virgin Media / Sky Italia


Match Facts:

• Stade Rochelais are bidding to become the 13th club to be crowned champions of Europe since the tournament’s inception in 1995. If they triumph on Saturday evening, they will be the fourth French club after Stade Toulousain, CA Brive and RC Toulon, to lift the trophy.

• Leinster are aiming to win a fifth Heineken Champions Cup star and to join Stade Toulousain as the most successful club in the tournament’s history.

• The clash of Leinster and Stade Rochelais will be the fifth final between clubs from France and Ireland with the Irish having won all four to date (1999, 2006, 2008 and 2018).

• Johnny Sexton and Cian Healy will become the most decorated players in the tournament’s history by each claiming a fifth winner’s medal. To date, six players have won on four occasions: Cédric Heymans (CA Brive/Stade Toulousain), Fréderic Michalak (Stade Toulousain/RC Toulon) and the Leinster quartet of Sexton, Healy, Isa Nacewa and Devin Toner.

• Johnny Sexton has scored the most points of any player in Heineken Champions Cup finals with 68 from five appearances. His total of 28 in Leinster’s dramatic win against Northampton Saints in 2011 has only been surpassed by Diego Dominguez’s metronomic 30 points in Stade Francais Paris’ losing final against Leicester Tigers in 2001.

• The impressive Grégory Alldritt of Stade Rochelais, who has been shortlisted for the European Player of the Year award, leads this season’s statistics in three categories: carries (113), metres (731) and offloads (15).

• Ronan O’Gara, who famously had Heineken Cup success with Munster Rugby in 2006 and 2008, could become the second person to win the title as both player and Head Coach, emulating his opposite number on Saturday, Leo Cullen, who is the only person to have the achieved the feat so far.

• Leinster’s James Lowe, also nominated for European Player of the Year, is the top try scorer in the current campaign with 10 from six appearances, and he needs one more at the Stade Vélodrome on Saturday to equal Chris Ashton’s record of 11 in a season for Saracens in 2013/14.

• The Leinster pair of Ross Molony and Josh van der Flier have the made the most tackles to date this season with 89 apiece.

• As many as 17 of Leinster’s tournament squad are already Heineken Champions Cup winners having been selected in the match day squad for a final: Jack Conan, Seán Cronin, Tadgh Furlong, Jamison Gibson-Park, Cian Healy, Robbie Henshaw, Dave Kearney, Jordan Larmour, Luke McGrath, Rory O’Loughlin, Andrew Porter, Garry Ringrose, Rhys Ruddock, James Ryan, Jonathan Sexton, Devin Toner and James Tracy.

• The Stade Vélodrome will be hosting a European club final for the second time. In 2010, the venue famously set an attendance record of 48,990 for a Challenge Cup final when the Cardiff Blues defeated RC Toulon.

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