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Champions Cup

WATCH: Leinster Beat Wasps to Set Up All Ireland Quarter-Final

The reigning champions march on into the last eight

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Leinster cruised to a home Heineken Champions Cup quarter-final with Ulster, after beating Wasps in Coventry on Sunday.

The reigning champions showed their class with the game finishing 37-19 in their favour.

The result ensured they finished top of pool 1 and has set up the first all Irish quarter-final in the competition since Ulster saw off Munster in 2012.

That year Ulster went all the way to the final, only to lose to their opponents Leinster 42-14.

Leinster knew that they had qualified for the last eight before kick-off thanks to Edinburgh’s win on Friday night, but they still had work to do to secure top spot.

They started well with Ross Byrne kicking a 12th minute penalty before they claimed the opening try four minutes later.

After some great work in the Wasps 22, they worked the ball out towards Dave Kearney who almost found the line but was held just short. However, within seconds, Garry Ringrose showed Nathan Hughes his dancing feet and pounced over the line.

Byrne kicked that conversion, along with another penalty to leave the score at 13-0 by the 28th minute.

In the 34th minute Sean Cronin bundled his way over from the back of a maul, with Byrne adding the extras for a 20-0 half-time lead.

The second-half was more even with Hughes heading over for the hosts 12 minutes in.

By the 58th minute Leinster had restored their 20-point lead, with Cronin repeating his first half party piece, while scoring his 6th try in this year’s competition already.

Five minutes later and Wasps were over again, with Dan Robson bursting through the defence to get on the score sheet.

Heading towards the final 10 minutes and Noel Reid banished any hopes of a Wasps comeback. Some brilliant offloading, and ball skills resulting in Max Deegan sending the substitute over, with Reid converting.

With two minutes remaining Marcus Watson jumped over the line for the home side after claiming the ball with an incredible catch.

Reid scored a last-minute penalty for Leinster to settle the 37-19 score line.

Match Highlights:

After the match Wasps rugby director Dai Young applauded his team’s effort but admitted that Leinster will be tough for anyone to stop.

“It is still hurting at the minute, but you have got to give Leinster credit. They are a fantastic team, and they are going to take some beating in this competition again”, said Young.

The win showed just how good Leinster can be going forward, but there were some cracks in the defence that Ulster and other teams will be looking at.

What’s certain is that Irish rugby fans are in for another treat when the two meet with a place in the semi-finals at steak.

Champions Cup

Champions Cup Round 1 Fixtures Confirmed

The Champions Cup opening round fixtures have been announced and there are some big games to kick-off the tournament

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(Photo by GLYN KIRK/AFP/Getty Images)

The first round of Champions Cup fixtures has been confirmed for the 2019/20 season with the tournament to begin on the weekend of the 15th of November.

Reigning champions Saracens will begin their title defence with a tough away trip to Racing 92 in what is the last game of the weekend on Sunday November 17th.

The other game in Pool 4 sees the Ospreys host Munster on Saturday November 16th.

Elsewhere, last season’s beaten finalists Leinster open their tournament with a home game against competition debutants Benetton on the Saturday, while Northampton Saints host Lyon in the other match in Pool 1.

The first game of what is the 25th edition of the tournament is the Pool 5 clash of Gloucester and Toulouse, as the reigning Top 14 champions look to go a step further than last season’s semi-final defeat to Leinster. Connacht play Montpellier in the groups other game on the Sunday.

In Pool 2 Glasgow Warriors take on Sale Sharks on the Saturday at 13 00, followed by La Rochelle vs Exeter Chiefs later that day.

At the same time as the Warriors vs Sharks game there is the Pool 3 match of Bath against Ulster, with Clermont hosting Harlequins in the final match of the Saturday fixtures.

The pool stages are set to finish on the second and third weekends of January, while the final itself takes place in the Stade de Marseille on May 23rd 2020.

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Champions Cup

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

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(Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

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.

Dolokoto is happy to be signing for the PRO 14 runners-up and is excited to feature in both the PRO 14 and the Champions Cup.

“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.

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Champions Cup

Leinster Unveil New European and Alternative Jerseys

Leinster have revealed their European and alternative jerseys for the 2019/20 season

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(Photo By Brendan Moran/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Leinster have unveiled their new Adidas European and alternative jerseys for the 2019/20 season.

The European jersey is an alteration on the traditional blue home jerseys worn by the reigning two-time PRO 14 champions.

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.

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