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Champions Cup

Leinster Change Five for Saints Clash

Leinster have made a total of five changes to their starting line-up for this weekend’s game with Northampton Saints



(Photo By Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Leinster head coach Leo Cullen has decided to make five changes to his starting XV for his side’s Champions Cup game with the Northampton Saints at the Aviva Stadium tomorrow at 17 15.

Following last weekend’s impressive 43-16 victory away to the Saints Cullen was left with a couple of injuries that have forced his hand, with captain Johnny Sexton and Ronan Kelleher suffering with knee and hand injuries respectively are replaced by Ross Byrne and James Tracy. 

Elsewhere in the pack Tadhg Furlong makes a return to the front-row, while Scott Fardy starts the game as captain, while the only other change sees Luke McGrath come in to partner Byrne in the half-backs. 

With those changes it means that in the front-row Cian Healy is the only one retained from last weekend and is joined by Tracy and Furlong, with Fardy slotting into the second-row alongside James Ryan. 

There are no changes to the back-row as Rhys Ruddock lines-up as blindside-flanker, with Josh van der Flier at openside and Caelan Doris continues at No 8. 

As mentioned above it’s McGrath and Byrne at scrum-half and fly-half respectively, and they have Robbie Henshaw and Garry Ringrose outside them in the midfield pairing. 

It’s also an unchanged back-three with James Lowe on the left-wing, Dave Kearney on the right and Jordan Larmour finishes up the XV from full-back. 

Cullen has plenty of experience to call upon from the bench if needed with the likes of Andrew Porter, Devin Toner, Jamison Gibson-Park and Rob Kearney among the replacements. 

Speaking ahead of the game centre Ringrose, who has been in brilliant form since returning from the Rugby World Cup, knows how big the game is and knows that some of the squad played in the same fixture back in 2013 when Leinster lost and will want to right that wrong. 

“Some of the guys were involved in the 2013 loss to Saints at the Aviva. That will serve as a reminder this week,” he said. 

Leinster know that a win would put them in pole position to not only make the knock-out stages but finish as winners of Pool 1. A fourth win from four in the competition would be perfect for the boys in blue, however, they will be all too aware that Northampton will want revenge after last week’s trashing and will be tough opponents. 

Check Out the Full 23-Man Squad Below.

Starting XV:

15. Jordan Larmour (42)

14. Dave Kearney (142)

13. Garry Ringrose (68)

12. Robbie Henshaw (40)

11. James Lowe (37)

10. Ross Byrne (80)

9. Luke McGrath (117)

1. Cian Healy (212)

2. James Tracy (102)

3. Tadhg Furlong (104)

4. Scott Fardy (51) (c)

5. James Ryan (34)

6. Rhys Ruddock (165)

7. Josh van der Flier (76)

8. Calean Doris (24)


16. Bryan Byrne (44)

17. Ed Byrne (49)

18. Andrew Porter (57)

19. Devin Toner (240)

20. Max Deegan (55)

21. Jamison Gibson-Park (80)

22. Ciarán Frawley (16)

23. Rob Kearney (213)

Champions Cup

Squad Update | Munster Prepare For Bayonne At Thomond



The Munster squad are preparing at the HPC ahead of Saturday’s Investec Champions Cup opener against Bayonne at Thomond Park (5.30pm).

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Jean Kleyn will be unavailable until the New Year due to an eye injury suffered in the Leinster match. He attended for a specialist review last Tuesday and Wednesday and will have further follow-up before Christmas.

Jack Daly (ankle) and Liam Coombes (shoulder) both underwent surgery last week and will begin rehabilitation under the medical department.

There is good news for Patrick Campbell (ankle) as he has returned to team training.

Jack O’Donoghue (ankle) will also return to training this week.

Simon Zebo (knee) will continue to rehabilitate early this week.

The availability of Campbell, O’Donoghue and Zebo will be determined later in the week.

Peter O’Mahony (shoulder) is improving but will remain unavailable for the Bayonne clash.

Continuing to rehab: Jack Daly (ankle), Peter O’Mahony (shoulder), Liam Coombes (shoulder), RG Snyman (chest/shoulder), Joey Carbery (wrist), Roman Salanoa (knee), Mike Haley (hip), Cian Hurley (ankle/achilles), Niall Scannell (groin).

There were 11 Munster players in AIL action for their clubs at the weekend.

In Division 1A, Fionn Gibbons, Chris Moore and Keynan Knox helped Young Munster to a win over City of Armagh with Gibbons among the tries.

Ethan Coughlan and Daniel Okeke were in action for Shannon as they were beaten away to Terenure College.

In Division 1B, Jack Oliver, George Hadden and Colm Hogan helped Garryowen beat Blackrock College with Hogan scoring a try on his debut for the club. Oliver also kicked three conversions and two penalties.

Jack O’Sullivan and Ben O’Connor featured for UCC as they were narrowly beaten by Old Wesley.

In Evan O’Connell helped UL Bohemians to a draw against MU Barnhall.

Images & Content from Munster Rugby

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Champions Cup

A World First For Munster Rugby And Crusaders



Munster Rugby and the Crusaders are set to create history in 2024 with a world-first ‘Clash of Champions’ game on Saturday, February 3 (5pm).

The New Zealand franchise secured their seventh successive Super Rugby Pacific championship on Saturday in Waikato defeating Chiefs 25-20 to retain their title.  They are the most successful team in the competition’s history having won 14 trophies and are world renowned for their history and record of success and excellence.

Following Munster’s recent URC success in Cape Town, it will be the first time ever the reigning champions of the URC and Super Rugby face off against each other.

Former Munster Head Coach Rob Penney has already been confirmed as the new Crusaders Head Coach from 2024 and their pre-season campaign will see them embark on their first-ever international tour for fixtures against Munster and Bristol Bears.

Munster Rugby CEO, Ian Flanagan said: “We are delighted to welcome the Super Rugby champions to Munster, hosting a groundbreaking fixture against the Crusaders.

“We hold a proud and rich history of playing touring sides and I’ve no doubt next February’s game will be a special occasion for all involved.”

Colin Mansbridge, Crusaders CEO, said: “The Crusaders are thrilled to be coming over to Ireland and the UK to face some stiff competition away from home.

“NZ and Australian clubs have been working on the World Club Competition for years, so when an opportunity for Super teams to play Northern Hemisphere counterparts came up, it was just too good to pass up.

“Munster have a history of giving touring sides a pretty hard time, so they present particularly tough competition. There’s also the added connection with our new Head Coach Rob Penney who coached there,” Mansbridge said.

The venue within Munster, and ticket details, will be confirmed in due course. MRSC members will be contacted directly regarding a pre-sale.

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Buy a Season Ticket here.

2024 Crusaders Ireland and UK Fixtures

Saturday, February 3, 2024

Munster Rugby v Crusaders, Venue TBC, 5pm;

Friday February 9, 2024

Bristol Bears v Crusaders, Ashton Gate, 7.30pm;

Images & Content from Munster Rugby

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Champions Cup

Leinster drawn in Pool 4 in the 2023/24 Champions Cup



The draw for the pool stages of the 2023/24 Champions Cup took place earlier this afternoon in Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Leinster Rugby have been drawn in Pool 4, alongside La Rochelle, Stade Francais, Leicester Tigers, DHL Stormers and Sale Sharks.

Leo Cullen’s team will face La Rochelle, Stade Francais, Leicester Tigers and Sale Sharks in the four pool matches, with two matches at home, and two matches away.

The top-four teams from each pool will advance to the Round of 16, with the fifth-placed teams moving into the EPCR Challange Cup.

All fixture details will be confirmed in due course.

2023/24 weekends
Round 1 – 8/9/10 December 2023
Round 2 – 15/16/17 December 2023
Round 3 – 12/13/14 January 2024
Round 4 – 19/20/21 January 2024

Round of 16 – 5/6/7 April 2024
Quarter-Finals – 12/13/14 April 2024
Semi-Finals – 3/4/5 May 2024
EPCR Challenge Cup Final – Friday 24 May 2024, Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Champions Cup Final – Saturday 25 May 2024, Tottenham Hotspur Stadium

Images & Content from Leinster Rugby

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