Pro14: Johnny Sexton benched for Leinster semi-final with Munster

Johnny Sexton starts on the bench as Pro14 champions Leinster defend their title in the semi-final on Saturday against Munster in Dublin.

Leinster make four changes from the Champions Cup final defeat by Saracens.

Ross Byrne, Dave Kearney, Rhys Ruddock and fit-again Josh van der Flier, in his first game since Ireland's Six Nations win over France, all start.

Munster also make four changes from the quarter-final win over Benetton with Keith Earls and Joey Carbery included.

Leinster players were dejected after losing their Champions Cup title to Saracens in Newcastle
Leinster players were dejected after losing their Champions Cup title to Saracens in Newcastle

Van der Flier has not played for Leinster since January, after sustaining a groin injury while on Six Nations duty. There were doubts whether he would be available again this season and his return is a timely boost for club and country in a World Cup year.

He replaces Sean O'Brien in the back row with Rhys Ruddock, who will captain the team, coming in for Scott Fardy.

Ross Byrne starts ahead of Sexton with Dave Kearney the beneficiary of his brother Rob's omission from the match-day squad, as Jordan Larmour moves from the wing to full-back.

O'Brien's omission means he has already played his last home game for Leinster ahead of his summer move to London Irish.

Earls and Carbery have been sidelined since Munster's Champions Cup quarter-final defeat by Edinburgh in March. John Ryan and Arno Botha are the other inclusions for the province, who have not won the league title since 2011.

Leinster: Larmour; D Kearney, Ringrose, Henshaw, Lowe; Byrne, McGrath; Healy, Cronin, Furlong, Toner, Ryan, Ruddock (capt), van der Flier, Conan.

Replacements: B Byrne, E Byrne, Porter, Fardy, Deegan, McCarthy, Sexton, O'Loughlin.

Munster: Haley; Conway, Farrell, Scannell, Earls; Carbery, Murray; Kilcoyne, Scannell, Ryan; Kleyn, Beirne, O'Mahony (capt), Stander, Botha.

Replacements: O'Byrne, O'Connor, Archer, Holland, O'Donoghue, Mathewson, Hanrahan, Goggin.

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