It's all over at the RDS Arena and it was a fantastically balanced contest ⚖️— PRO14 RUGBY (@PRO14Official) April 6, 2019
Both @leinsterrugby and @BenettonRugby refused to take a backward step and it went right to the wire 🤜💥🤛
A deserved draw 👊#GUINNESSPRO14 #LEIvBEN pic.twitter.com/Knfod4g8J4
The Italian side have shown massive signs of improvement this season and this result only proved that more as they took points away from Dublin for the second year in a row. Following a 17-15 win against the blues last season.
Benetton got off to the perfect start with Luca Bigi touching down after 12 minutes, Tommaso Allan converted, and the visitors were 7-0 up.
Leinster responded well with Noel Reid kicking a penalty three minutes later to make it 7-3. However, within three minutes of that kick Allan slotted home three points of his own to give his side a seven-point lead once more.
Noel Reid went off injured, but replacement Ciaran Frawley took up where he left off, knocking over a penalty to reduce the deficit on 25 minutes.
Another penalty from the boot of Allan just before the 40-minute mark left it at 13-6 to Benetton at half-time.
Half-time at the RDS Arena 🏟— PRO14 RUGBY (@PRO14Official) April 6, 2019
🇮🇹 @BenettonRugby have come to play, bringing the fight to @leinsterrugby with some physical phase-play 🏉
Can the Italians continue this good form and work toward the knockout stage? 🤷♂️#GUINNESSPRO14 #LEIvBEN pic.twitter.com/Q2MRaElq29
Leinster needed a big response and drew first blood in the second-half as James Lowe barrelled his way over the line after some great work from captain Luke McGrath and man of the match Max Deegan.
Frawley sent the extras between the posts and it was all level.
Tremendous work-rate and typically abrasive at the breakdown from @MaxDeegan 💪 who churned through a shed load of work for @leinsterrugby 👊— PRO14 RUGBY (@PRO14Official) April 6, 2019
Here he receives his man of the match medal from Martina Flood#GUINNESSPRO14 #LEIvBEN pic.twitter.com/U9qbK39RtB
The Italian outfit were out in front again on 53 minutes when Federico Ruzza scored from close range and Allan was perfect from the tee once more to leave it at 20-13.
Roll on 10 minutes and the men in blue were level as Bryan Byrne found the whitewash and Frawley converted.
Leinster took the lead for the first time in the 70th minute through Frawley, after he was put through a gap by a lovely Conor O’Brien pass. Frawley converted his own try to push the home side 27-20 ahead.
However, Benetton had the final say as winger Iliesa Ratuva punished a couple of missed tackles to run in for a try with the clock in red. Allan held his nerve to convert and it finished all square at 27-27.
After the game Leinster head coach Leo Cullen applauded his side’s effort in the second-half as they lost both Reid and Mick Kearney to injury in the opening 40.
“In the second-half I though the effort from our guys was really good. I thought you could see how much it meant to them and it was a big chance for a lot of guys,” he said.
The result means Leinster have failed to win their last two Pro14 matches but they have managed to give a lot of younger players a chance to play since claiming first place in Conference B. The draw leaves Benetton only two points off second-placed Ulster in the conference and in with a real shout of reaching the play-offs for the first time.
2020 PRO14 Final Destination Confirmed
Next season’s PRO14 final will take place in a stadium it has never been before but there is one notable question mark surrounding the announcement
The game will take place on the 20th of June next year and Wales international Sam Warburton is delighted it will take place in his home-place.
“Rugby has always been a sport at the heart of Wales and having another world-class rugby event in our capital city is very exciting. I have seen a couple of matches in Cardiff City Stadium and the atmosphere can be electric with the right crowd – it’s going to be a great final whichever of the teams make it. Being a Cardiff boy myself, I could be biased, but it really is a great city with a great community. As the crow flies, the Cardiff City Stadium is under a mile from the city centre, so it makes a great location for fans wanting to make a day or a weekend of the event,” he said.
Although the announcement comes as good news for the club and local fans, the wider public have noted that the stadium is smaller than previous ones to have hosted the showpiece.
In fact, there has been record-breaking attendances over consecutive years since 2016 with this season’s final in Glasgow topping the lot with 47,128 people heading to Celtic Park to watch Leinster retain their crown.
However, PRO14 CEO Martin Anayi has confirmed that the decision to head to the 33,280-capacity stadium next season is to hopefully see a sell-out crowd unlike in the past number of years.
“Choosing Cardiff City Stadium as the location for next year’s final allows us to aim for a sell-out event after four successive years of setting new attendance records. Bringing the final to Wales is another move in making the decider about supporters of rugby, not just fans of the teams involved, and we know from experience that Welsh supporters are the most vocal. Cardiff City Stadium also brings us to a football venue for the second year in a row after the tremendous success of our most recent final in Glasgow’s Celtic Park,” he said.
Whatever the thoughts are Cardiff is the place to be next June, the question is what two teams will be battling it out when the time comes?
Ulster Rugby Lad meets… Ross Kane
Ross Kane speaks to Peter Lockhart
Ross Kane is a card-carrying member of the beefy brethren known in rugby circles as the front row club.
He has become an important player for Ulster, deputising for Marty Moore and becoming an important part of the ‘new generation’ at Ulster.
Here, he chats to Peter Lockhart from Ulster Rugby Lad about his propping destiny, his rugby hero and puppy problems.
Who or what made you passionate about rugby?
My passion for rugby really grew when I joined Methody in 1st year, watching all the older guys and friends of mine make it through and play professionally.
Who was the player you most admired growing up?
It’s hard to look much further than Rory Best for the most admired player growing up as he was achieving what every young player coming through Ulster wanted to achieve. Finally making my debut and getting to play alongside him was a very proud moment for me.Embed from Getty Images
What made you want to play as a prop?
Many people will tell you that you don’t choose to be a prop, being a prop chooses you. Being a bit bigger in school always had me in the front row and I never managed to escape!
What would you be doing if you weren’t playing professional rugby?
If I wasn’t playing rugby, I’d hope to be working in the construction industry as I’m in the middle of finishing my engineering degree.
What advice would you give to any young aspiring front row players?
Advice I would give to young front rowers would be to soak up as much information as possible. Small details will put you ahead of other players.
How do you get into the right mindset before a game? Do you have any pre-match routines or rituals?
I don’t have any pre match rituals, as long I know I have prepared well I know I’ll be in the right mindset for the game.
What are your expectations for Ulster in the next few years?
My expectations for Ulster over the next few years are to be consistently putting ourselves in a position to compete at the top level.Embed from Getty Images
Is there a failure or apparent failure that set you up for a later success?
I think personally not getting selected for the academy after my U20 season really made me realise that I needed to change my mindset and approach to rugby and thankfully 2 years later I was selected for a summer trial for the academy.
What hobbies/obsessions do you explore in your free time?
I’ve recently just got 2 puppies with my girlfriend so most of my free time will be used trying to teach them to not go to the toilet in the house.
Images & Content from Ulster Rugby Lad
Ulster Rugby announce new Club Captain.
Captain for the 2019/20 season.
Ulster Rugby this morning announced who will succeed Rory Best as the Captain of Ulster Rugby for the 2019/20 season.
The 27-year-old, who is currently in Ireland’s training squad ahead of Rugby World Cup 2019, has represented his home Province on 105 occasions.
Henderson started his rugby journey at Academy RFC, before continuing his development at Belfast Royal Academy.Embed from Getty Images
The versatile forward represented Ulster and Ireland at various age-grade levels on route to making his senior provincial debut in April 2012, against Connacht.
Henderson has since become a key figure for Ulster and Ireland, winning 44 caps for the latter. He played in four of Ireland’s games during the 6 Nations Grand Slam success of 2018, while he also featured in 2014 and 2015 Championship wins.
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