LONDON: Leinster will continue their quest for a record fifth European title when they tackle French challengers La Rochelle on today (Sunday).
The Top 14 title contenders stand between Leo Cullen’s team and a place in the Heineken Champions Cup final at Twickenham on May 22. And after Leinster knocked out defending champions and quarter-final opponents Exeter last month, they are favourites to march on.
La Rochelle, coached by former Ireland fly-half Ronan O’Gara, are first-time Champions Cup semi-finalists. They reached the last-four through impressive victories over Gloucester and Sale Sharks, but Leinster will comfortably be their biggest test yet, even with home advantage at Stade Marcel-Deflandre.
Leinster are again without captain Johnny Sexton, who has not played since undergoing a head injury assessment during the Exeter game three weeks ago. Ross Byrne, architect of Leinster’s victory over the Chiefs, continues in the number 10 shirt, while there are also starts for centre Garry Ringrose and lock James Ryan.
La Rochelle show a solitary switch from the side that accounted for Sale, with flanker Wiaan Liebenberg taking over from Kevin Gourdon.
Meanwhile, Huddersfield coach Ian Watson is confident his first Betfred Super League win is not far away and is hoping it will come against Leeds in Sunday’s derby at the John Smith’s Stadium.