Leinster vs Stade Toulousain

Leinster vs Stade Toulousain: Ireland fly-half has not played since the end of the Six Nations but will lead Leinster as they look to reach a second consecutive Chmapions Cup final.

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Leinster have found it much tougher this season than last year when they were in exceptional form on their way to the final, going on to defeat Racing 92 for their fourth European triumph.

The Ireland fly-half has not played since returning from Six Nations duty, with his last appearance coming in the Cardiff defeat by Wales just over a month ago. But the out-half will captain his province as they look to reach a second consecutive final as part of their Champions Cup defence.

Head coach Leo Cullen has made 10 changes to the starting XV after suffering defeat last time out against Glasgow Warriors, but Leinster’s well-rested big guns return for what is the third encounter with Toulouse this season and the decisive match in their Champions Cup trilogy.

Toulouse announced their credentials earlier in the season by defeating the reigning champions 28-27 at the Stade Ernest Wallon in October, before Leinster gained revenge in January at the RDS Arena with a 29-13 victory. That result gave Leinster their home advantage for both the last eight and this semi-final encounter, which takes place at the Aviva Stadium that has become a second home for the province as they take the majority of their big Pro14 matches there as well as the European knockout games.

But a resurgent Toulouse have hinted that they could be the team that upsets Leinster on home soil for the first time in the European knockout stages since 2006. Head coach Ugo Mola has elected to start with Antoine Dupont at fly-half instead of Romain Ntamack, despite the latter ending the Six Nations as France’s first-choice No 10, while there has been plenty of controversy surrounding the selection of flanker Joe Tekori.