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Henshaw aims for Champions Cup glory with Leinster in Bilbao

Story by Kieran Galvin

Friday, 11th May, 2018 2:40pm

Henshaw aims for Champions Cup glory with Leinster in Bilbao

Leinster and Ireland rugby star Robbie Henshaw, pictured recently when receiving an address of recognition from Westmeath County Council. Photo: Ann Hennessy.

Robbie Henshaw will be bidding to claim the biggest provincial or club honour in his rugby career to date when Leinster face Racing 92 in the Champions Cup final tomorrow (Saturday).

The Athlone native has been named at No. 12 in the Leinster team, and the Westmeath man will be partnered in the centre by Garry Ringrose. 

Ironically, Henshaw's last European final appearance came against Leinster when he helped Connacht to a famous victory in the 2016 PRO12 final. It was Robbie’s last appearance for Connacht as he bowed out on a winning note before his move to Leinster.

Having missed the last three games in Ireland's Grand Slam winning Six Nations campaign, Henshaw is now looking to end the season on a high. Leinster have also secured a place in the PRO14 semi-finals where they will meet old rivals Munster. But for now all attention is focused on the Champions Cup, the top prize in European club rugby.

Isa Nacewa will lead the eastern province in his final European game for Leinster, with the Fijian international due to retire in the summer. 

Luke McGrath returns from ankle injury to take his place in the half-backs where he will be joined by Ireland star Johnny Sexton. But James Lowe, a high profile signing this season, misses out on a place in Leinster's match-day squad of 23.

The Racing 92 team includes former Munster stalwart Donnacha Ryan, but the French side are without their playmaker and chief goalkicker Maxime Machenaud due to injury.

Racing defeated Munster in their semi-final, thereby ending hopes of an all-Irish final, while Leinster recorded a highly impressive win over Scarlets of Wales. 

The big news on the Racing 92 side is the loss of their captain, playmaker and primary goalkicker Maxime Machenaud to injury.

The Champions Cup final will take place in the San Mamés Stadium in the Spanish city of Bilbao (kick-off 4.45pm Irish time). Wayne Barnes (England) is the referee who will take charge of the eagerly-awaited decider. The game is live on BT Sport and SKY Sports, with RTÉ Radio and Newstalk also covering the game.

Leinster - Champions Cup final team
15. Rob Kearney
14. Jordan Larmour
13. Garry Ringrose
12. Robbie Henshaw
11. Isa Nacewa (captain) 
10. Johnny Sexton
9. Luke McGrath
1. Cian Healy
2. Seán Cronin
3. Tadhg Furlong
4. Devin Toner
5. James Ryan
6. Scott Fardy
7. Dan Leavy
8. Jordi Murphy

Replacements
16. James Tracy
17. Jack McGrath
18. Andrew Porter
19. Rhys Ruddock
20. Jack Conan
21. Jamison Gibson-Park
22. Joey Carbery
23. Rory O'Loughlin

Racing 92 team
Louis Dupichot; Teddy Thomas, Virimi Vakatawa, Henry Chavancy, Marc Andreu; Pat Lambie, Teddy Iribaren; Eddy Ben Arous, Camille Chat, Cedate Gomes Sa; Donnacha Ryan, Leone Nakarawa; Wenceslas Lauret, Bernard Le Roux, Yannick Nyanga.
Replacements: Ole Avei, Vasil Kakovin, Census Johnston, Boris Palu, Baptiste Chouzenoux, Antoine Gibert, Dan Carter, Joe Rokocoko.

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