Leinster Rugby centre Garry Ringrose – who has been nominated for the EPCR European Player of the Year after scoring six tries in the Heineken Champions Cup pool stages – will captain the Irish province tomorrow night for the first time when they take on fellow European quarter-finalists Ulster Rugby in the Guinness PRO14 final.
The 25-year-old has enjoyed a stellar season to date, scoring hat-tricks against Benetton Rugby and Northampton Saints as Leinster marched to the top spot in Pool 1 and the No.1 seeding for the quarter-finals.
That seeding means they will face Saracens in the last eight next weekend, in a repeat of last season’s final that went the way of the English side.
Ringrose is partnered tomorrow night by centre Robbie Henshaw, with wing pair James Lowe and Hugo Keenan as well as full-back Jordan Larmour and half-back duo Ross Byrne and Jamison Gibson-Park making up an experienced back line as they bid to remain unbeaten in all competitions this season.
— Heineken Champions Cup (@ChampionsCup) September 11, 2020
Head coach Leo Cullen has kept the same front row that dispatched Munster Rugby in Dublin last weekend, but has named James Ryan in the second row alongside Devin Toner after the 24-year-old recovered from injury.
Ulster captain Iain Henderson makes a welcome return to the starting XV for the first time since the resumption, handing a big boost to the side ahead of their trip to Toulouse in the Heineken Champions Cup quarter-finals next Sunday.
Former All Blacks scrum-half Alby Mathewson makes his first start for the Irish province and partners fly-half Billy Burns, leaving this season’s leading points scorer in Europe, John Cooney and Ian Madigan, who converted a last-gasp penalty to clinch Ulster’s spot in tomorrow’s final – on the replacements bench.
The two provinces met in last season’s Heineken Champions Cup quarter-finals, with Leinster coming out 21-18 victors in one of the matches of the season.