Home Rugby Aki Returns For Connacht While Henshaw & Toner Back In With Leinster

Aki Returns For Connacht While Henshaw & Toner Back In With Leinster

Robbie Henshaw and Devin Toner return to the Leinster starting XV for tomorrow’s visit of Glasgow Warriors to the RDS Arena.

Both Ireland internationals have been on the sidelines now since February but are expected to get valuable minutes under their belts in this weekend’s penultimate round of the Guinness PRO 14.

Toner returns from ankle surgery to take his place in the second-row alongside 20-year old academy prospect Jack Dunne who makes his first Leinster start, while Henshaw returns after suffering a nasty dead-leg injury to start in the centre alongside Joe Tomane.

Neither player has featured for club or country since Ireland’s Six Nations defeat to England in the opening round of this year’s competition but news of their return will come as a huge boost to Leo Cullen and Stuart Lancaster as they prepare for next weekend’s Heineken Champions Cup semi-final with Toulouse.

Sean O’Brien will captain the side from openside flanker while two other internationals in the form of Rob Kearney and Jordan Larmour return to the fold at full-back and on the wing respectively.

Ross Byrne returns to his out-half post following a foot injury and will partner in the half-back-line by Jamison Gibson-Park.

Ed Byrne, James Tracy and Michael Bent start in the front-row with regulars Sean Cronin, Cian Healy and Tadhg Furlong left in reserve.

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Meanwhile, Andy Friend has named his Connacht side for their crunch clash against Cardiff Blues in the sold-out  Sportsground tomorrow.

The big news for Connacht is that Irish international, Bundee Aki returns to the starting XV for the crucial Guinness PRO 14 and will renew his partnership with Tom Farrell in midfield.

Connacht currently sit third in Conference A and a win tomorrow will ensure a playoff spot int he league as well as qualification for next year’s Heineken Champions Cup.

If they win tomorrow, it will be the first time that Connacht have qualified for the knockout stages since they won the competition back in 2016.

Tiernan O’Halloran takes his place at full-back with Darragh Leader and Matt Healy on the wings, while jack Carty continues his half-back partnership with Caolin Blade meaning Kieran Marmion has to settle for a place among the substitutes.

The front-five remained unchanged from last week’s narrow win over Zebre, while Paul Boyle comes in as blindside flanker to partner Colby Fainga’a and captain, Jarrad Butler in the back-row.

Irish internationals, Quinn Roux and Finlay Bealham are the only absentees for Connacht.

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Leinster: Rob Kearney, Jordan Larmour, Joe Tomane, Robbie Henshaw, Dave Kearney, Ross Byrne, Jamison Gibson-Park; Ed Byrne, James Tracy, Michael Bent, Devin Toner, Jack Dunne, Josh Murphy, Seán O’Brien (captain), Caelan Doris

Replacements: Seán Cronin, Cian Healy, Tadhg Furlong, Will Connors, Max Deegan, Hugh O’Sullivan, Ciarán Frawley, Adam Byrne

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Connacht:  Tiernan O’Halloran, Darragh Leader, Tom Farrell, Bundee Aki, Matt Healy, Jack Carty, Caolin Blade; Denis Buckley, Dave Heffernan, Dominic Robertson-McCoy, Ultan Dillane, Gavin Thornbury, Paul Boyle, Colby Fainga’a, Jarrad Butler (captain)

Replacements: Shane Delahunt, Matthew Burke, Conor Carey, James Cannon, Robin Copeland, Kieran Marmion, Tom Daly, Cian Kelleher

About Michael Corry

Digital Sports Journalist based in Dublin. Proud 'Nordy' who loves anything Armagh related. Gaelic football head. Hit me up if you have a unique story to tell. Email: michael@punditarena.com Twitter: @Corry_10 Instagram: @Corry_10