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Champions Cup

Ringrose Hat-Trick Helps Leinster to Victory

Leinster got their Champions Cup campaign off to the perfect start with an opening round victory over Benetton



(Photo By Brendan Moran/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Leinster started their Champions Cup campaign with a 33-19 win over Benetton at the RDS this afternoon.

A Garry Ringrose hat-trick, along with further tries from Ronan Kelleher and captain Johnny Sexton saw the hosts past the Italian outfit and to a bonus-point victory despite five-pointers from Dean Budd, Epalahame Faiva and Luca Sperandio for the away side. 

Leinster’s returning Rugby World Cup stars were impressive upon their return to the European stage with Ringrose going over for the first try of the game after some good hands sent him over in the left-corner four minutes in. Sexton couldn’t converted the extras, but it was 5-0 following a fast start. 

However, the Italian team hit back within minutes as Budd barged through a tackle from Andrew Porter to make it even on the scoreboard. Former Munster man Ian Keatley added the conversion to push the away team in front. 

On the quarter-hour mark Leinster went ahead once again as Devin Toner set-up Ringrose for his and host’s second try. Sexton sent the kick through the posts this time around to make it 12-7. 

Things got worse for Benetton just before the half-hour mark as Nicola Quaglio was sent to the sin-bin for a high-tackle on Kelleher. 

The Irish hooker went over for his try three minutes later, picking from the back of a ruck, before faking a pass to Josh van der Flier, and barrelling over for his seventh try of the season already, with six to his name already in the PRO14. Sexton made no mistake with the kick to push Leinster into a 19-7 half-time lead. 

Just like in the opening half Leinster went over for a try four minutes in, as Sexton secured the bonus-point as he broke through the opposition defence before getting a pass off van der Flier to go over for the try. He converted his own try to make it 26-7. 

With just under half an hour remaining Faiva got in for a try as he evaded defenders to score. Keatley converted as the Italians cut into the lead, giving them a chance to push for a comeback. 

Although it was not to be as the boys in blue scored their fifth try as Ringrose went over to score his hat-trick. Replacement fly-half Ross Byrne scored the conversion. 

With a minute remaining the Italians got a consolation try as Sperandio went over in the corner leaving it at 33-19 when the whistle blew. 

It gives Leinster a perfect start to Pool 1 as they look to try and win a record fifth European title, while Benetton put in another impressive performance as they continue to rise through the ranks. 

Next up for the home side is an away trip to Lyon, while Benetton take on Northampton Saints next weekend as they hope to pick up their first points of the group stage. 

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.

Sign up to our mailing list here and be the first to receive information on tickets.

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

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Champions Cup

Munster Learn Champions Cup Opponents



Munster will face Bayonne, Exeter Chiefs, Toulon and Northampton Saints in the pool stages of the 2023/24 Champions Cup.

Munster were drawn in Pool 3 which also includes the Glasgow Warriors.

Munster were drawn as a Tier 1 side alongside La Rochelle, Toulouse and Saracens.

The four highest-ranked clubs from each of the pools will qualify for the knockout stage.

Fixture details will be confirmed at a later date.


Pool 1


Union Bordeaux-Bègles

Vodacom Bulls

Bristol Bears

Connacht Rugby


Pool 2

Stade Toulousain

Cardiff Rugby

Bath Rugby

Racing 92


Ulster Rugby

Pool 3

Munster Rugby

Aviron Bayonnais

Glasgow Warriors

Exeter Chiefs

RC Toulon

Northampton Saints

Pool 4

Stade Rochelais

Stade Francais Paris

Leicester Tigers

DHL Stormers

Leinster Rugby

Sale Sharks

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 Munster Rugby

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