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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

Ulster make changes for Toulouse



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



(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



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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