Clermont Auvergne v Leinster - Heineken Cup match preview
Last Updated: 09/12/12 5:06pm
Reigning champions Leinster travel to Clermont looking to become the first side to beat the French outfit at home since November 2009.
The French side will be determined to make amends for the 19-15 defeat to Leinster in last year's semi-final in Bordeaux which cost them a place in the final at Twickenham.
The Irish side, who are looking to win their fourth title in five years, currently sit two points behind Clermont at the top of Pool Five after both teams won their opening two outings in this year's competition.
This clash, which is being shown live on Sky Sports 2 from 3pm on Sunday, brings together the best attacking side in the competition so far, Clermont, and the best defensive side, Leinster.
Clermont coach Vern Cotter has decided to make 12 changes from the team that started last weekend in Toulouse.
Aurelien Rougerie captains the side from outside centre partnered by French international Wesley Fofana, with Sitiveni Sivivatu and Naipolioni Nalaga offering the attacking threat out wide.
Morgan Parra and Brock James are named at half-back, with Jamie Cudmore and Nathan Hines making up the pairing in the second-row.
Meanwhile, Jonathan Sexton will make his 100th appearance for Leinster after being named in the side for Sunday's clash in France and the Ireland No 10 will partner Isaac Boss at half-back.
Gordon D'Arcy will become the most capped Leinster player in Heineken Cup history when he takes his place at outside centre as he makes his 88th European appearance alongside tournament debutant Andrew Goodman who lines up inside him.
Leo Cullen leads the team and is named in an all-Ireland pack which features seven internationals as well as Ireland 'A' lock Damian Browne. Mike Ross starts in the front row - alongside Sean Cronin and Cian Healy - and the Cork man will make his 75th appearance since his 2009 move to the province.
Clermont: 15 Lee Byrne, 14 Sitiveni Sivivatu, 13 Aurélien Rougerie (c), 12 Wesley Fofana, 11 Naipolioni Nalaga, 10 Brock James, 9 Morgan Parra, 8 Damien Chouly, 7 Alexandre Lapandry, 6 Julien Bonnaire, 5 Nathan Hines, 4 Jamie Cudmore, 3 Davit Zirakashvili, 2 Benjamin Kayser, 1 Vincent Debaty.
Replacements: 16 Ti'i Paulo, 17 Raphael Chaume, 18 Daniel Kotze, 19 Julien Pierre, 20 Julien Bardy, 21 Ludo Radosavljevic, 22 David Skrela, 23 Regan King.
Leinster: 15 Ian Madigan, 14 Fergus McFadden, 13 Gordon D'Arcy, 12 Andrew Goodman, 11 Isa Nacewa, 10 Jonathan Sexton, 9 Issac Boss, 8 Jamie Heaslip, 7 Sean O'Brien, 6 Kevin McLaughlin, 5 Damien Browne, 4 Leo Cullen (capt), 3 Mike Ross, 2 Sean Cronin, 1 Cian Healy.
Replacements: 16 Richardt Strauss, 17 Jack McGrath, 18 Michael Bent, 19 Devin Toner, 20 Shane Jennings, 21 Eoin Reddan, 22 Fionn Carr, 23 Andrew Conway.
What they said...
Leinster's Isab Nacewa said
"It's just turned into a bit of a derby battle over the last couple of years. They're an unbelievable squad, one to 15, and then every other player in their squad is a good player so it's going to be a tough one. We have to be quietly confident - they're going on 50 games home games in a row that they haven't lost there so we look at them a bit and then focus on us for the rest of the week."
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