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Champions Cup

Irish Provinces Add Firepower to Their European Squads

The Irish provinces have added players to their European squads ahead of the quarter-finals

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All four Irish provinces have added players to their squads before their respective European quarter-finals.

Under the European Cup rules the teams that have qualified for the knock-out stages are entitled to add up to three players to their respective squads.

Leinster, Munster and Ulster have taken full advantage adding three each to their Champions Cup sides while Connacht have brought two into their Challenge Cup squad.

Leinster, who face Ulster in the last eight in the Aviva on March 30th, have chosen to include a fit-again Joe Tomane, who was released earlier in the competition to receive surgery on his hamstring, winger Barry Daly and prop Vakh Abdaladze.

On the other side, Ulster have included Luke Marshall, who had been missing through injury, James Hume and Tommy O’Hagan, as they hope to dethrone the reigning champions.

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Munster have brought in James Cronin, Bill Johnston and Jack O’Donoghue for their match away to Edinburgh. The latter could be vital as they are currently without Tommy O’Donnell who is out with a shoulder issue.

In the Challenge Cup, Connacht have registered Tom Daly and Stephen Fitzgerald, on loan from Leinster and Munster respectively, for their clash with Sale in two weeks’ time.

The additions are great to have, and we will have to wait and see if any of them play a pivotal role in getting their side through to the final four.

Champions Cup

Leinster Stars Set to Miss Champions Cup Quarter-Final

Leinster look set to be without a key member of their team when they host Ulster in the Champions Cup quarter-finals

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Robbie Henshaw is looking increasingly likely to be unavailable for Leinster’s Champions Cup quarter-final against Ulster on March 30th.

The centre has suffered a couple of injuries already this season and has been recovering from a dead leg. It had been hoped that he would be fully fit before the match, but Stuart Lancaster is not convinced he will be ready.

“Very frustrating for Robbie, I feel sorry for him. He’s had two different injuries that have had different lengths out and he’s so frustrated himself. We’ll see, he’s not on field with us yet so obviously the clock is ticking towards Ulster,”

Lancaster hasn’t completely ruled him out, however he is not in any way certain on Henshaw’s return date.

“We’ll have a better idea come Monday/Tuesday next week but again you get to the point in a week where you can’t wait. He’s making progress, he’s not far off but as to make he’ll Ulster we’ll see,”

He also revealed that Josh van der Flier is set to undergo a scan on his groin.

“He’s gone for a scan today and seeing the specialist tomorrow, so we’ll find out a bit more. I don’t think he’ll be available for the next week or two, but as to how many weeks, it’ll depend on tomorrow,” he said with regards to the flanker.

Lock Devin Toner will miss the last eight clash but is ahead of schedule in his recovery from injury.

“His timeline for return to play has actually come forward a bit, he’s made great progress which is positive for us,” he said.

In more positive news, Dan Leavy, Luke McGrath, Joe Tomane, and Nick McCarthy are all set to feature against Edinburgh in the Pro14 this Friday and will gain some vital game-time before next week’s big match.

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Champions Cup

Pat Lambie opens up on battle with concussion

“deliberately avoided an HIA assessment”

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Former South African flyhalf Pat Lambie has spoken about his concussion. Lambie was forced to retire in January of this year due to his injuries at the age of just 28.

Lambie has also added that he deliberately avoided an HIA assessment in order to avoid having to be taken out of the game and possibly miss a European final.

He was just a quarter of a way into Racing 92’s Champions Cup semifinal against Munster when he suffered an unfortunate head knock. The concussion which Lambie suffered was the fifth of his career.

“It was from a scrum, I made a tackle; it was a big collision. I stayed at the bottom of the ruck, feeling dizzy, everything was spinning, tried to get up, sort of wobbled a bit, went back down for the rest of the passage of play, had some ice on my head, sprayed myself with some water, shook it off, said I was fine and carried on,” he told The Times.

“In the back of my mind, I was concerned that if I put my hand up and said, ‘I need an HIA [head injury assessment],’ I wouldn’t be allowed back on the field and, worse, if we made it to the final, I wouldn’t be allowed to play in that.”

Lambie was forced to prematurely bring an end to his 56-test Springbok career. Discussing his injuries, he revealed that it is like a ‘hangover without the fun from the night before’ with pounding headaches.

“I still wake up with a throbbing head. It’s like waking up with a hangover but you haven’t had any fun the night before.

“Or it’s like someone’s whacked you on the head with a baseball bat. It’s a pounding headache. Then I get this stinging sensation in my eyes, which comes and goes throughout the day and it is worse with some things like a weights session in the gym.”

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Champions Cup

Dan Carter’s move to Racing 92 is off. Here’s why.

He was due to arrive this month.

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Like every rugby transfer. Firstly the financials are agreed then closer to the move, players undergo ‘Medicals’.

Carter had agreed to join Racing as Medical Joker, coming in mid-season to cover Pat Lambie who was forced to retire earlier this season.

Reports stated Carter was expected to receive around £30K per month for his short term deal in Paris but this deal has fallen through last minute due to Carter failing his medical.

French newspaper Le Parisien reported Carter has a “cervical spine problem.

the statement said.

“As part of routine medical checks prior to the approval of players’ licences, Racing 92 forwarded certain medical information to experts appointed by the Ligue Nationale de Rugby (LNR). Their opinion was unanimous: Dan Carter will not be able to play rugby in France,”

Carter, (37) led Racing 92 to Top 14 glory in 2016, joined the Parisian side following the All Blacks’ 2015 Rugby World Cup victory.

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