The Leinster team to face Montpellier Hérault in Saturday’s opening round of the Heineken Cup in Stade de la Mosson (KO: 2.30pm local time, 1.30pm Irish time) has been named…

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Heinke van der Merwe is set to make his 40th appearance for Leinster and he starts in the front row alongside Richardt Strauss and Mike Ross for the province’s inaugural Heineken Cup game against Montpellier. Cian Healy tweaked a muscle in his glute in training and the management have decided to err on the side of caution.

In all the Springbok prop is one of three changes to the pack that started last weekend’s 24-19 victory over Munster with former Brive lock Damian Browne coming into the second row for his seventh Leinster appearance of the season. Kevin McLaughlin, a replacement in the Aviva Stadium last weekend, makes his 14th Heineken Cup appearance and joins fellow Ireland internationals Jamie Heaslip and Sean O’Brien in the back row.

The backline is unchanged which means that Jonathan Sexton – who amassed 138 points in last year’s European campaign – lines up alongside Isaac Boss at half back. Gordon D’Arcy partners Fergus McFadden at centre with Luke Fitzgerald joining Rob Kearney and Isa Nacewa in the back three.

Shane Jennings is one of four Ireland internationals on the bench alongside Sean Cronin, Eoin Reddan and Devin Toner.

MONTPELLIER: L Amorosino; T Nagusa, G Doumayrou, S Fernandez, Y Audrin; F Trinh-Duc, B Paillaugue; N Leleimalefaga, A Creevy, M Bustos; M Demarco, T Privat; F Ouedraogo, M Gorgodze, M Matadigo

REPLACEMENTS: R jansen van vuuren, M Nariashvili, G Jgenti, D Hancke, R Martin, J Tomas, P Bosch, M Bustos Moyano


15: Rob Kearney
14: Isa Nacewa
13: Fergus McFadden
12: Gordon D’Arcy
11: Luke Fitzgerald
10: Jonathan Sexton
9: Isaac Boss

1: Heinke van der Merwe
2: Richardt Strauss
3: Mike Ross
4: Leo Cullen CAPTAIN
5: Damian Browne
6: Kevin McLaughlin
7: Sean O’Brien
8: Jamie Heaslip


16; Sean Cronin
17: Jack McGrath
18: Nathan White
19: Devin Toner
20: Shane Jennings
21: Eoin Reddan
22: Ian Madigan
23: Eoin O’Malley

REFEREE: Dave Pearson (RFU), ASSISTANT REFEREES: David Rose, Paul Dix (both RFU), 4th OFFICIAL: Arnaud Blondel (FFR), 5th OFFICIAL: C. Clave (FFR), TMO: Graham Hughes (RFU)