💫 @Saracens are in the Final 👏— Heineken Champions Cup (@ChampionsCup) April 20, 2019
A dominant, brutal display from the English side as they book their place at St James' Park on 11 May 🏆@Munsterrugby exit at the semi-final stage once again, but what an arm wrestle we witnessed today 💪 pic.twitter.com/xuNU457xEC
The loss is Munster’s seventh semi-final defeat in a row and means the nations hopes now lie with Leinster as they face Toulouse on Sunday for a place in the final.
The huge physical battle was kicked off by Owen Farrell, who knocked over a penalty after only two minutes to put the hosts 3-0 up.
On nine minutes Munster struck level thanks to a Tyler Bleyendaal penalty.
Farrell kicked a further two penalties without reply by the 26th minute as Saracens went 9-3 ahead.
Bleyendaal slotted home his second penalty of the afternoon, before Conor Murray stepped up to score a monster long-range penalty to bring the sides level.
On the stroke of half-time Farrell finished as he started with his fourth penalty of the game to bring the home side 12-9 up at the whistle.
The visitor’s massive defensive effort in the opening half told only two minutes into the second half as Saracens kept the ball well before Michael Rhodes got in for the first try of the game. Farrell converted to stretch their lead out to 19-9.
By the 53rd minute they were further in front when Farrell kicked his fifth and sixth penalties of the day to make it 25-9.
With 20 minutes remaining Munster got themselves back into the game as they worked the ball out to Darren Sweetnam who raced over to touch-down. JJ Hanrahan converted to make it 25-16.
Billy Vunipola got the next score with 10 minutes left when he broke through for his sides second try. Farrell was on hand once more to add the extras.
Saracens were reduced to 14 men when Vincent Koch was sin-binned, but it made little difference as Saracens held on for a 32-16 win.
After the game a fan wearing a Munster jersey confronted Billy Vunipola following his support for Israel Folau’s anti-LGBT comments on social media recently. Which left a soar taste to the tie.
In the post-match press conference Munster head coach Johann van Graan admitted his side were second-best on the day.
“We weren’t good enough on the day, we got beaten by the better team so no excuses from our side,” he said.
Saracens march on to the final in Newcastle now where they will face either Leinster or Toulouse. While Munster now look towards their next game with Connacht as they look to pip Glasgow to top spot in Conference A of the Pro 14.
Saracens = Alex Goode (7), David Strettle (7), Alex Lozowski (6), Brad Barritt (6), Liam Williams (7), Owen Farrell (9), Ben Spencer (8); Mako Vunipola (7), Jamie George (7), Titi Lamositele (8), Maro Itoje (8), George Kruis (7), Michael Rhodes (8), Jackson Wray (7), Billy Vunipola (7)
Munster = Mike Haley (6), Andrew Conway (6), Chris Farrell (6), Niall Scannell (7), Darren Sweetnam (7), Tyler Bleyendaal (6), Conor Murray (7); Dave Kilcoyne (7), Niall Scannell (6), John Ryan (5), Jean Kleyn (7), Tadhg Beirne (6), Peter O’Mahony (6), Jack O’Donoghue (6), CJ Stander (8)
Replacements (6)Embed from Getty Images
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
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.
“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.
Leinster Unveil New European and Alternative Jerseys
Leinster have revealed their European and alternative jerseys for the 2019/20 season
Leinster have unveiled their new Adidas European and alternative jerseys for the 2019/20 season.
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.
Ulster Confirm Squad for 2019/20 Season
Ulster have announced their 44-man strong squad ahead of next season
As well as having 41 Irish-qualified players the northern province have 27 players that have progressed from their academy.
The club have handed nine players that started last season in the Abbey Insurance Ulster Academy new contracts and have six new players joining them
Leinster’s Jack McGrath makes his move up north along with Munster’s Bill Johnson. While former Leinster academy player David O’Connor, whose brother Alan is already a second row at the club, also comes in.
Matt Faddes joins from the Highlanders, with Gareth Milasinovich and Sam Carter as joining.
Head coach Dan McFarland is delighted to have kept such a large number of home-grown players in the squad ahead of the new season.
“It is important that we retain the best of our home-grown talent, many of whom receive attractive offers from other clubs, and we have managed to do that once again with some key re-signings. Combined with this core group of Ulster men is the vital input of our overseas players. Having players like Marcell Coetzee in the group has delivered tangible benefits both on and off the field, and I’m confident that Sam Carter and Matt Faddes will also have big impact,” he said.
McFarland is also happy to have the likes of McGrath come in and is confident of the direction in which the club is heading.
“We will also welcome the experience and quality of Jack McGrath, and the potential of Gareth Milasinovich, Bill Johnston and David O’Connor into the squad, and I’m looking forward to working with them all. The squad is developing nicely. We need to have quality throughout the squad; sometimes that’s down to recruitment, a lot of the time it’s down to bringing the young guys through. Getting a healthy mixture of the two is really important,” he added.
Ulster begin their pre-season training on the 1st of July with everyone bar the players involved with the Rugby World Cup expected to start preparing for the new season.
Check out the Full Squad Below.
Will Addison, John Andrew, Robert Baloucoune, Billy Burns, Sam Carter, Marcell Coetzee, John Cooney, Angus Curtis, Matt Faddes, Craig Gilroy, Iain Henderson, Rob Herring, James Hume, Bill Johnston, Greg Jones, Ross Kane, Angus Kernohan, Michael Lowry, Louis Ludik, Rob Lyttle, Luke Marshall, Adam McBurney, Kyle McCall, Zack McCall, Stuart McCloskey, Jack McGrath, Gareth Milasinovic, Marty Moore, Jordi Murphy, Alan O’Connor, David O’Connor, Tommy O’Hagan, Eric O’Sullivan, Tom O’Toole, Marcus Rea, Matty Rea, Sean Reidy, Clive Ross, David Shanahan, Jonny Stewart, Jacob Stockdale, Nick Timoney, Kieran Treadwell, Andrew Warwick
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