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Champions Cup

Cullen Names Strong Side for Saints Clash

Leinster have announced their side ahead of their trip to Northampton tomorrow and there are a couple of young-guns among an experienced squad

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(Photo By Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Leinster head coach Leo Cullen has named his 23-man squad for tomorrow’s trip to Franklin’ Gardens to face Northampton Saints in the Champions Cup at 13 00.

Cullen has decided to continue his theme of involving youth among the experienced players, once again allowing Ronan Kelleher a chance to continue his fine season so far at hooker, while Caelan Doris has been handed the No 8 jersey for the game. 

Alongside Kelleher in the front-row are Cian Healy and Andrew Porter, who gets the nod ahead of Tadhg Furlong, while Devin Toner and James Ryan slot in behind the trio in the second-row. 

Rhys Ruddock comes in as blindside-flanker, with Josh van der Flier on the openside and Doris completes the starting pack from No 8. 

In the backs Jamison Gibson-Park has been picked to start at scrum-half ahead of Luke McGrath and will partner captain Johnny Sexton in the half-backs, with Robbie Henshaw and Garry Ringrose outside them in the centre. 

James Lowe takes his place on the left-wing, with Dave Kearney on the right, and Jordan Larmour finishes off the XV from full-back. 

There is a huge amount of experience to lean on from the bench with the likes of Furlong and McGrath being joined by the likes Scott Fardy and Rob Kearney among the replacements. 

Speaking ahead of the game Larmour has warned his teammates to expect a tough challenge acknowledging that the Saints are playing well at the start of the season. 

“Saints are playing good rugby – it’s going to be a big challenge this week,” he said. 

Leinster know a win in Northampton will go a long way to finishing top of Pool 1 with both teams currently sitting on nine-points after the first two rounds. 

Both teams also top their respective domestic league tables at this point of the season, with Northampton top of the Premiership and Leinster top of Conference A in the PRO14 so fans can expect a tight, but exciting match on Saturday. 

Check Out the Full 23-Man Squad Below.

Starting XV:

15. Jordan Larmour (41)

14. Dave Kearney (141)

13. Garry Ringrose (67)

12. Robbie Henshaw (39)

11. James Lowe (36)

10. Johnny Sexton (162) (c)

9. Jamison Gibson-Park (79)

1. Cian Healy (211)

2. Rónan Kelleher (9)

3. Andrew Porter (56)

4. Devin Toner (239)

5. James Ryan (33)

6. Rhys Ruddock (164)

7. Josh van der Flier (75)

8. Caelan Doris (23)

Replacements:

16. James Tracy (101)

17. Ed Byrne (48)

18. Tadhg Furlong (103)

19. Scott Fardy (50)

20. Max Deegan (54)

21. Luke McGrath (116)

22. Ross Byrne (79)

23. Rob Kearney (212)

Champions Cup

Ulster make changes for Toulouse

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Photo By Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile via Getty Images

The Ulster match-day squad has been named for the Second Leg of the Heineken Champions Cup Round of 16 versus Toulouse at Kingspan Stadium on Saturday evening.

Nick Timoney will make his 100th appearance for the Ulster men, as he is named to start at openside – with Marcus Rea at blindside and Duane Vermeulen at Number Eight. Andrew Warwick comes in to start at loosehead, and will pack down with Rob Herring at hooker and Marty Moore at tighthead. Captain Iain Henderson will partner with Alan O’Connor in the engine room.

Mike Lowry and Rob Baloucoune, who signed new 3-year contract extensions this week, are named at full-back and on the right wing respectively. Ethan McIlroy returns to take the left-wing starting berth. Stuart McCloskey and James Hume will form the midfield partnership, and John Cooney and Billy Burns are retained at scrum-half and out-half.

Brad Roberts, Eric O’Sullivan, Tom O’Toole, Kieran Treadwell and Jordi Murphy will provide forward reinforcements, while Nathan Doak, Luke Marshall and Rob Lyttle will offer back line cover.

Ulster team to play Toulouse, Heineken Champions Cup Round of 16 Second Leg, Saturday 16 April at Kingspan Stadium, 8pm kick-off, live on BT Sport, beIN Sports, and Sky Italia:

(15-9) Mike Lowry, Rob Baloucoune, James Hume, Stuart McCloskey, Ethan McIlroy, Billy Burns, John Cooney;

(1-8) Andrew Warwick, Rob Herring, Marty Moore, Alan O’Connor, Iain Henderson (Capt.), Marcus Rea, Nick Timoney, Duane Vermeulen.

Replacements: Brad Roberts, Eric O’Sullivan, Tom O’Toole, Kieran Treadwell, Jordi Murphy, Nathan Doak, Luke Marshall, Rob Lyttle.

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Champions Cup

Graham Rowntree Confirmed As Next Munster Head Coach

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(Photo By Brendan Moran/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Munster Rugby and the IRFU are pleased to confirm that Graham Rowntree will be promoted from Forwards Coach to the role of Head Coach from July 1, 2022.

Rowntree will commence the role of Head Coach at the start of the 2022/23 season after signing a two-year deal.

The former England prop made the move to Limerick in October 2019 on completion of his Rugby World Cup coaching duties with Georgia Rugby.

In his third season as Forwards Coach Graham and family have settled well into Limerick life, noting earlier this year, “I have made my thoughts about this club widely known throughout my time so far, and for me and my family it really has been an easy decision, a non-decision if truth be told.

“We’ve put down roots here and have no desire to move anywhere else.”

With an impressive coaching CV and vast experience, Rowntree previously held coaching roles with the British and Irish Lions, England Rugby, Harlequins and Leicester Tigers.

Working closely with the IRFU, the province will advance with next steps in securing the backroom team that will work with Graham from next season as Head Coach Johann van Graan, Senior Coach Stephen Larkham, and Defence Coach JP Ferreira depart the province at the end of June.

IRFU Performance Director, David Nucifora, commented, “I would like to thank the Munster Professional Game Committee for their work and diligence during this process.

“It is important that Munster have someone who understands the unique history and culture of the club and has the experience to maximise the talent in the squad.

“Graham was very impressive throughout this process and demonstrated he has the capabilities to spearhead the next chapter of Munster Rugby.”

On confirmation of the promotion, Graham Rowntree added, “I am hugely honoured to be taking over the role of Head Coach for a club of this calibre, one that means so much to me and my family.

“We have thoroughly enjoyed every moment here and I fortunately get to work with an incredible group of staff and players who share a common goal each day in striving for success for this club.

“I’ve talked about our fantastic supporters before and again at the weekend we stepped off the bus to a huge red welcome in Exeter. Who doesn’t want to be part of that, that’s special!

“I believe we have the established structures in place with the resources and facilities to match and that it will be a smooth transition for the coaching ticket we assemble in ensuring continued development and success for this club.

“Before then I have a role to complete this season and working closely with Johann, Steve, and JP is the immediate focus and priority for now.”

Commenting on the appointment, Munster Rugby CEO Ian Flanagan said, “Graham’s extensive coaching experience and knowledge for the game makes him the perfect candidate to lead this squad forward.

“With Graham stepping up at the start of the new season it will be a seamless and natural progression from the work that has been carried out to-date.

“For now, we will continue our focus on the remainder of this season with Graham supporting Johann and the coaching staff in achieving our goals.”

Munster Rugby Home Fixtures

Saturday, April 16

Champions Cup Round of 16: Munster v Exeter Chiefs, Thomond Park, 3pm; Buy tickets here

Friday, April 29

URC: Munster v Cardiff Rugby, Musgrave Park, 7.35pm; Buy tickets here

Images & Content from Munster Rugby

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Champions Cup

Ulster name team for Toulouse

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Photo By Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile via Getty Images

The Ulster match-day squad has been selected for the first leg of the Heineken Champions Cup Round of 16 versus Toulouse at Le Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Ben Moxham will make his first European start for Ulster as he is named on the left wing alongside Mike Lowry at full-back and Robert Baloucoune on the right wing. Stuart McCloskey comes in to start and will partner with James Hume in the centre. Billy Burns and John Cooney return to form the half-back pairing.

The front row sees Eric O’Sullivan and Rob Herring named at loosehead and hooker, with Marty Moore retaining his place at tighthead prop. Alan O’Connor returns to pair up with captain Iain Henderson in the second row. Marcus Rea comes in at blindside flanker, with Nick Timoney and Duane Vermeulen retained at openside and Number Eight respectively.

Brad Roberts, Andrew Warwick, Tom O’Toole, Kieran Treadwell and Jordi Murphy provide the forward reinforcements on the bench. Nathan Doak, Luke Marshall and Rob Lyttle will offer the back line options.

Ulster team to play Toulouse, Heineken Champions Cup Round of 16 First Leg, Saturday 9 April at Le Stadium, 3.15pm kick-off (UK / IRE time), live on BT Sport, beIN Sports, FR2:

(15-9) Mike Lowry, Robert Baloucoune, James Hume, Stuart McCloskey, Ben Moxham, Billy Burns, John Cooney;

(1-8) Eric O’Sullivan, Rob Herring, Marty Moore, Alan O’Connor, Iain Henderson (Capt.), Marcus Rea, Nick Timoney, Duane Vermeulen.

Replacements: Brad Roberts, Andrew Warwick, Tom O’Toole, Kieran Treadwell, Jordi Murphy, Nathan Doak, Luke Marshall, Rob Lyttle.

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