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Champions Cup

Leicester v Ulster Preview: Henderson to make 100th appearance for Ulster

Hendy hits the Ton

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Photo By Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile via Getty Images

Iain Henderson will make an earlier than expected return to action, as he makes his 100th appearance for Ulster against Leicester at Welford Road. The second row is the sole change to the starting team that beat Racing 92 last weekend

One of the finds of the season, Eric O’Sullivan, and former Leinster prop Marty Moore pack down either side of captain Rory Best in the front row. Kieran Treadwell partners Iain Henderson in the engine room, with Sean Reidy, Jordi Murphy, and Marcel Coetzee rounding out the pack.

Dave Shanahan is rewarded for his good form by keeping hold of his spot at scrum-half, even with the return to fitness of John Cooney. Billy Burns starts at out-half once again. In the midfield the ‘Bangor Bulldozer’ Stuart McCloskey starts, with Will Addison outside him. The back three sees the ‘Lisburn Yeti’ Jacob Stockdale who will be hoping to add to his tally of 6 tries and former Sevens star Robert Baloucoune on the wings, and Louis Ludik at full-back.

Leicester have named a backline full of internationals. England halfbacks Ben Youngs and George Ford start, with an all-star midfield pairing of Manu Tuilagi and Matt To’omua. In the back three, recent Wales call-up Jonah Holmes starts at 15, with England regular Jonny May, and exciting youngster Jordan Olowofela on the wings. Hooker Jake Kerr starts, after being named in the Scotland squad for the Six Nations this week, with the veteran prop Dan Cole also celebrating a return to the international fold having been recalled by Eddie Jones this week.

Ulster are still in contention for their first quarter final spot since 2014. If they beat Leicester, they have to wait and see how the other results go. They will be hoping that Edinburgh beat Montpellier, Saracens get a win against Glasgow, and that Munster get the job done against Exeter.

Leicester v Ulster kicks off at 15:15 on Saturday live on BT Sports. 

You can check out our ‘Predictions’ for this game and the rest of the games in Round 6 here.

Champions Cup

Champions Cup Round 1 Fixtures Confirmed

The Champions Cup opening round fixtures have been announced and there are some big games to kick-off the tournament

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(Photo by GLYN KIRK/AFP/Getty Images)

The first round of Champions Cup fixtures has been confirmed for the 2019/20 season with the tournament to begin on the weekend of the 15th of November.

Reigning champions Saracens will begin their title defence with a tough away trip to Racing 92 in what is the last game of the weekend on Sunday November 17th.

The other game in Pool 4 sees the Ospreys host Munster on Saturday November 16th.

Elsewhere, last season’s beaten finalists Leinster open their tournament with a home game against competition debutants Benetton on the Saturday, while Northampton Saints host Lyon in the other match in Pool 1.

The first game of what is the 25th edition of the tournament is the Pool 5 clash of Gloucester and Toulouse, as the reigning Top 14 champions look to go a step further than last season’s semi-final defeat to Leinster. Connacht play Montpellier in the groups other game on the Sunday.

In Pool 2 Glasgow Warriors take on Sale Sharks on the Saturday at 13 00, followed by La Rochelle vs Exeter Chiefs later that day.

At the same time as the Warriors vs Sharks game there is the Pool 3 match of Bath against Ulster, with Clermont hosting Harlequins in the final match of the Saturday fixtures.

The pool stages are set to finish on the second and third weekends of January, while the final itself takes place in the Stade de Marseille on May 23rd 2020.

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Champions Cup

Another Fijian Heads to Scotland

Glasgow Warriors have confirmed the signing of a Fijian star only two days after Edinburgh captured the signing of Mesulame Kunavula

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(Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Glasgow Warriors have announced the signing of Fijian hooker Mesu Dolokota on a two-year deal from Fijian Drua.

The 24-year-old was named in Fiji’s World Cup training squad last month and will join up with the Warriors following the conclusion of the tournament in Japan.

Dolokoto is happy to be signing for the PRO 14 runners-up and is excited to feature in both the PRO 14 and the Champions Cup.

“I’m very happy to be joining Glasgow Warriors and I’m looking forward to playing in two of the best rugby competitions in the world. The opportunity to learn from such an experienced coaching team and play in such a successful team is very exciting for me. The club has a strong Fijian history and I hope I can be a big part of it going forward,” he said.

The hooker has nine international caps for Fiji as well as having experience in Super Rugby with the Brumbies in 2015 and Glasgow assistant coach John Dalziel is delighted to add more experience to the squad.

“Mesu is an exciting talent who will bring even more international experience to our front row. He isn’t your traditional front-row forward, he likes to bring a bit of Fijian flair to his game, but he can also do the basics very well and we’re excited to work with him when he shows up following international duty,” he said.

Dolokoto follows the footsteps of fellow Fijian Mesulame Kunavula, who joined Edinburgh only a couple of days ago and the PRO 14 can look forward to some Fijian flare next season.

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Champions Cup

Leinster Unveil New European and Alternative Jerseys

Leinster have revealed their European and alternative jerseys for the 2019/20 season

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(Photo By Brendan Moran/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Leinster have unveiled their new Adidas European and alternative jerseys for the 2019/20 season.

The European jersey is an alteration on the traditional blue home jerseys worn by the reigning two-time PRO 14 champions.

Leinster have revealed that the jersey has been inspired by meteorites that were once used to create iron spears and will be worn by the club for the next two seasons.

“The pattern of the Leinster Rugby European jersey takes inspiration from meteorites that fell from the sky and were used by the Laighin people to create their iron spear. These meteorite formations form the graphic design of the jersey paying homage to the tale of the metal of the Gods, providing bold and vibrant energy for Leinster Rugby’s European campaign,” they said on their official website.

The alternative jersey is a shade of purple with black strips horizontally across the shirt.

They have said that this jersey is inspired by the purple skyline that is seen across the east coach of Ireland.

“The Alternate jersey embodies the electric energy of Ireland’s east coast at night. The iconic purple skyline forms the colour inspiration for this season’s kit. Incorporating a twist on the traditional hoop design, the kit harnesses the vibrant energy of the province, whilst maintaining a classic look and feel,” they added.

As well as the two new jerseys Leinster will continue to wear their Adidas home jersey from the 2018/19 season for the season ahead.

You can view the full Leinster Range for the up coming season here.

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