Connect with us

Champions Cup

Leinster Hit 50 Past Northampton

Leinster have made it four wins from four in the Champions Cup with another outstanding win over Northampton Saints



(Photo By Sam Barnes/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Leinster have continued their perfect start to the season with a brilliant 50-21 victory over Northampton Saints in the Champions Cup at the Aviva Stadium this evening.

A hat-trick of tries from Garry Ringrose along with five-pointers from Tadhg Furlong, Dave Kearney, James Lowe and Caelan Doris sealed another win for the Irish province.

Leinster got off to the perfect start with centre Ringrose going over for a try after just 90 seconds, with the No 13 blocking down a kick as Northampton went to exit from their own 22. He collected the bouncing ball and raced down the left-hand touchline to touch-down. 

Ross Byrne smashed the conversion over to make it 7-0 with only two minutes on the clock. 

Four minutes later and it was Ringrose who scored his and his team’s second try. The boys in blue attacked from a line-out with winger James Lowe coming in from his flank to break through the middle of the defence, before offloading brilliantly in the tackle to Ringrose who raced over. Byrne made it 14-0 with the kick from the tee. 

With just over 10 minutes gone Byrne slotted over a penalty to give Leinster a 17-0 lead in the opening minutes. 

With 19 minutes gone Northampton struck back as Leinster conceded penalty after penalty which led to Dan Biggar having the ball in front of the posts, taking a quick tap and go before going over for the try. He converted his own score to make it 17-7. 

However, the Saints joy was short-lived with full-back Ashee Tuala being shown a yellow-card two minutes after the try as he prevented Lowe from receiving a pass off the ball. 

From that penalty Bryne sent the ball to the touchline and from the resulting line-out they drove over the try-line through Furlong. Bryne was perfect from the tee once again to push the hosts ahead once again. 

Things got worse for the visitors on the half-hour mark as captain Tom Wood was sent to the sin-bin too as his side gave up penalty after penalty leading to his eventual yellow-card. 

Five-minutes on and the bonus-point was in the bag as Leinster ripped the ball in the middle of the pitch before pouncing forward with the ball finding its way to Ringrose, who fake passed the ball inside, but sent Kearney away on the right-wing and he did the rest. Bryne sent the conversion over to stretch the lead to 31-7.

Despite being down to 14-men the away side scored the final points of the half with winger Ollie Sleightholme charging over from close-range. Biggar knocked-over the extras to leave it at 31-14 come the half-time whistle. 

Leinster didn’t have to wait long for their fifth try of the evening, with Jordan Larmour bolting out of his own 22 before being tackled over the half-way line. Byrne eventually got the ball off the back of a ruck and sent a kick through the Saints 22, which Lowe gathered and went over. Byrne couldn’t add the extra two but it was 36-14 with only three-minutes gone in the second-half. 

Another five minutes and Ringrose was in for his hat-trick as Kearney took the ball up from a line-out, while it was ripped, Ringrose was the quickest to react, picking the ball up and waltzing over. Ciaran Frawley had just replaced Byrne and he kicked the extras to make it 43-14. 

With the time ticking towards the hour-mark Northampton notched up a third try through Tuala and Biggar took the quick conversion to edge into the host’s lead. 

As they headed into the final quarter of an hour, Doris scored his first European try as he picked in front of the opposition defence and walked over for his team’s seventh five-pointer of the game. Frawley converted to make it 50-21. 

Both sides went in search of further scores but it was to no avail as Leinster ran out 50-21 winners in what was another outstanding performance and it means they become the first team to qualify for the knock-out stages after only four games of the pool stages.

Leinster will now turn their attention to the domestic stage as they prepare to host high-flying Ulster on Friday as they look to make it 12 wins from 12 at the start of the season, while the Saints head to Sale Sharks next Saturday in the Premiership. 

Leinster Player Ratings:

Starting XV:

Jordan Larmour (9), Dave Kearney (8), Garry Ringrose (9), Robbie Henshaw (7), James Lowe (8), Ross Byrne (8), Jamison Gibson-Park (7); Cian Healy (7), James Tracy (7), Tadhg Furlong (8), Scott Fardy (7), James Ryan (8), Rhys Ruddock (8), Josh van der Flier (8), Caelan Doris (9)

Replacements (8)

Champions Cup

Academy Trio Stepping Up & Contract News



Munster Rugby and the IRFU are pleased to announce that Academy trio Tony Butler, Ethan Coughlan and Mark Donnelly will be promoted to the senior squad in the summer.

We can also confirm that hooker Scott Buckley, who graduated from the Academy to the senior squad in 2022, has signed a contract extension.

Out-half Butler, scrum-half Coughlan (both 21) and 22-year-old prop Donnelly have all signed on for the next two seasons after impressing over their three years in the Academy.

Butler and Coughlan become the first Ennis RFC players to earn senior Munster contracts.

As previously confirmed, Academy lock Edwin Edogbo (21), who also came up through the Munster Youths system with Cobh Pirates, will graduate from the Academy to the senior squad on a two-year deal next season.

Buckley, Butler, Coughlan and Donnelly all made their Munster debuts in the famous Champions Cup win over Wasps in December 2021.

Tony Butler in action against Dragons.

Tony Butler in action against Dragons.

Ennis out-half Tony Butler has earned his first senior contract after a very productive three years in the Academy.

He has made six senior appearances to date, including two starts so far this season against Dragons and Connacht.

A Grand Slam winner with the Ireland U20s in 2022, Butler now plays his AIL rugby with Young Munster having previously lined out for Garryowen.

He captained Ennis at underage level, teaming up with Coughlan in the half-backs as they enjoyed success in the Munster U16 and U18 Clubs competitions.

Scrum-half Ethan Coughlan is enjoying an excellent campaign with three starts so far this year and eight senior appearances in total since joining the Academy.

He enjoyed great success alongside Butler with Ennis RFC at underage level before captaining the Ireland U18 Clubs team.

He also won a Grand Slam with the Ireland U20s in 2022 and plays his AIL rugby with Shannon.

Prop Mark Donnelly has already made nine senior appearances for Munster after coming up through the ranks at Midleton RFC, Midleton College and CBC.

He was a Pinergy Munster Schools Senior Cup winner with CBC in 2019 and featured for the Ireland U20s in the 2021 Six Nations.

He joined the Academy that summer before making his Munster debut along with Buckley, Butler and Coughlan against Wasps in December 2021

Along with his nine senior Munster appearances, Donnelly has also played regularly for Garryowen in the AIL over the past three years.

Mark Donnelly at Munster training.

Mark Donnelly at Munster training.

Hooker Scott Buckley (23) has signed a one-year contract having made 25 appearances for Munster to date.

A product of the Munster Rugby Academy, Buckley started out with Kinsale RFC before captaining CBC to the Pinergy Munster Schools Senior Cup in 2019.

He was Player of the Match against Wasps on his Munster debut and made nine appearances last season as Munster won the URC title.

A UCC clubman, he scored the match-winning try against Crusaders at Páirc Ui Chaoimh earlier this month.

Scott Buckley scores a try against Leinster in pre-season.

Images & Content from Munster Rugby

Continue Reading

Champions Cup

New Signing & Contract News



Munster Rugby are pleased to confirm the signing of 23-year-old winger Diarmuid Kilgallen on a two-year deal ahead of the 2024/25 season.

In further contract news, hooker Eoghan Clarke has signed a one-year deal for next season after rejoining Munster in November.

Prop Keynan Knox has completed his time at the province after scoring three tries in 33 appearances and we wish him all the best for the future.

Diarmuid Kilgallen in action against Ulster in November.

Kilgallen hails from Eadestown in Kildare and has scored 12 tries in 22 appearances for Connacht to date.

He started out at Naas RFC before playing schools rugby for Cistercian College Roscrea on the Tipperary-Offaly border.

He joined the Connacht Academy in 2019 and made his debut against Munster in 2020.

A tall, athletic winger, he scored five tries in eight appearances last season and has five tries in six appearances so far this year.

Eoghan Clarke made his first start for Munster against Crusaders earlier this month.

25-year-old hooker Clarke has signed on for next year after impressing since returning to the province in November.

Clarke spent three years in the Munster Academy before departing for Jersey Reds in 2021. He won the English Championship with Jersey last season but the club went into liquidation in October.

He has made five appearances for Munster since returning, including a debut against Bayonne in December and a first start against Crusaders at Páirc Uí Chaoimh earlier this month.

24-year-old tighthead prop Knox departs after over seven years at Munster Rugby.

He joined the Academy midway through the 2017/18 season after completing his second level education with Michaelhouse in South Africa.

The Young Munster clubman made his senior debut against Dragons in September 2019 and moved up to the senior squad in 2020.

Knox featured in eight games last season as Munster clinched the URC title. In total, he scored three tries in 33 Munster appearances.

We wish Keynan all the best with his next move.

Keynan Knox at training last month.

Images & Content from Munster Rugby

Continue Reading

Champions Cup

Squad Update | Munster Prepare For Northampton



The Munster squad started preparations on Monday ahead of Saturday’s vital Investec Champions Cup clash against Northampton at Thomond Park (5.30pm).

There are a limited number of tickets remaining here.

Find out all you need to know ahead of the match here.

There were no new injuries to report after the win over Toulon on Saturday.

Following a consultation last week, Jack O’Donoghue will not require surgery on his knee injury and will be managed conservatively by the medical department. He is unavailable for three to four months.

Oli Jager is continuing to follow the return to play protocols and his availability for the Northampton game will be determined later this week.

There is good news for Jack Daly (ankle) as he returns to training this week.

Cian Hurley (ankle/achilles) and Mike Haley (hip) are increasing their training demands and will target a return to play in the coming weeks.

Continuing to rehab: Jack O’Donoghue (knee), Dave Kilcoyne (shoulder), Diarmuid Barron (foot), Jean Kleyn (eye/knee), Liam Coombes (shoulder), RG Snyman (chest/shoulder), Roman Salanoa (knee), Mike Haley (hip), Cian Hurley (ankle/achilles).

There were eight Munster players in AIL action at the weekend.

Academy out-half Tony Butler kicked two penalties and a conversion for Young Munster as they were beaten 23-13 by Cork Constitution at Temple Hill. Chris Moore started at hooker for the Cookies.

Academy scrum-half Jack Oliver kicked two penalties and a conversion for Garryowen in their 23-10 win over UCC at the Mardyke. Colm Hogan scored a try for Garryowen with Academy prop George Hadden also featuring.

Jack O’Sullivan started at no.8 for College.

Evan O’Connell was in action for UL Bohs as they were beaten 34-7 by Old Crescent.

Video | Graham Rowntree Interview


Champions Cup Round 4: Saturday, January 20

Munster Rugby v Northampton Saints, Thomond Park, 5.30pm; Buy tickets here

Saturday, February 3

Munster Rugby v Crusaders, Páirc Uí Chaoimh, 5pm; SOLD OUT

URC Round 11: Friday, March 1

Munster v Zebre Parma, Musgrave Park, 7.35pm; Buy tickets here

URC Round 13: Saturday, March 30

Munster v Cardiff Rugby, Thomond Park, 7.35pm; Buy tickets here

URC Round 16: Saturday, May 11

Munster v Connacht, Thomond Park, 5.15pm; Buy tickets here

URC Round 18: Saturday, June 1

Munster v Ulster, Thomond Park, 5.15pm; Buy tickets here

Images & Content from Munster Rugby

Continue Reading