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Munster Rugby: Incoming Player Profiles

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Greencore Munster Rugby Academy players Craig Casey, Gavin Coombes, Shane Daly and Seán O’Connor will be promoted to the senior squad ahead of the 2019/20 campaign with Nick McCarthy joining from Leinster Rugby.

All four Academy players have already made their debuts for the province, find out more about the five new additions to the senior squad below.

Craig Casey

Scrum-half Craig Casey spent two years in the Munster Rugby Academy and was named 2018/19 Academy Player of the Year in April.

The 20-year-old Limerick native was vice-captain of this season’s Grand Slam-winning Ireland U20s side and will resume that role for the upcoming U20 World Championships in Argentina.

A former Ardscoil Rís pupil, Casey made his All Ireland League debut with Shannon RFC earlier this season and made his Munster bow against Connacht at Thomond Park in April 2019.

Craig Casey in action for the Ireland U20s against Italy in February.

Craig Casey in action for the Ireland U20s against Italy in February.

Gavin Coombes

Gavin Coombes is a product of Skibbereen RFC and Bandon Grammar and spent three years in the Munster Rugby Academy.

The 21-year-old Young Munster back-row forward/lock made his Munster debut in the opening game of the 2018/19 season against the Cheetahs and went on to make eight Guinness PRO14 appearances over the campaign.

Coombes represented the Ireland U20s in the 2017 Six Nations and U20s World Championship and has scored six tries in 16 Munster A appearances.

Gavin Coombes in action for Munster A last September.

Gavin Coombes in action for Munster A last September.

Shane Daly

Shane Daly is a product of Highfield RFC, PBC and Cork Constitution and spent three years in the Munster Rugby Academy.

The 22-year-old starred for the Ireland U20s in the 2016 6 Nations and U20s World Championship and has also represented the Ireland 7s side.

The Cork native has won a number of senior honours with Cork Con and made his Guinness PRO14 debut against Cheetahs at Thomond Park in September 2018, going on to make six PRO14 appearances over the season.

Nick McCarthy

Scrum-half Nick McCarthy joins Munster this summer having scored four tries in 36 appearances for Leinster.

McCarthy made 18 appearances for the Ireland U20s and captained the side at the 2014 World Championship.

The 24-year-old is a former pupil of St Michael’s College and made his senior debut against Toulon in December 2015.

Nick McCarthy at Leinster training in April.

Nick McCarthy at Leinster training in April.

Seán O’Connor

Seán O’Connor made his senior debut against the Maori All Blacks in November 2016 and has made nine appearances for the province.

The 22-year-old represents Garryowen FC in the All Ireland League and is a product of Cashel RFC and Rockwell College.

In 2016 he helped the Ireland U20s to their best-ever finish as runners-up at the World Championship.

O’Connor can play in the second row and the back row, scored two tries in 19 Munster A appearances and spent three years in the Munster Rugby Academy.

Sean O’Connor in Guinness PRO14 action against the Ospreys in September 2017.

Sean O’Connor in Guinness PRO14 action against the Ospreys in September 2017.

The post Incoming Player Profiles appeared first on Munster.

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Ulster to welcome 1,000 fans for Scarlets clash

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(Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)

Ulster Rugby last night announced that 1,000 supporters will be welcomed to the Kingspan Stadium this weekend. Statement from Ulster Rugby below:

The doors of Kingspan Stadium will open to 1,000 supporters this weekend when Ulster Rugby welcome Scarlets in Round 7 of the Guinness PRO14 (Sunday 22 November, kick-off 7.35pm).

The Ulster Men have played behind closed doors since the opening game of the season against Benetton Rugby when the club successfully trialled the safe return of spectators following extensive consultation with the IRFU, Belfast City Council and the Northern Ireland Executive.

All 500 pairs of tickets will be made available to #TogetherUlster Members only via an online ballot process. Members who applied for tickets to the Benetton match but missed out due to limited availability will receive priority in the ballot.

Sunday night’s match will feature a mix of seating and terracing in operation across all four stands and the East Terrace. Tickets are again priced at £20 each, allocated in groups of two with two-metre physical distancing factored in.

The online ballot will be open for 24 hours from 1pm on Tuesday 17 November on the Ulster Rugby Ticket Account Manager, and account holders can apply for one pair of tickets per every Adult #TogetherUlster Membership held. All successful applicants will be notified on Wednesday evening once the ballot has closed and tickets have been allocated. Members will then have until 1pm on Thursday 19 November to confirm their ticket purchase and process payment.

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Bad news on the injury front for Munster back-rower

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(Photo By Brendan Moran/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Munster medical department have issued the latest player update with Liam Coombes, John Hodnett and Alex McHenry all ruled out due to respective injuries.

The young trio sustained knocks in different training sessions and will not be available for this weekend’s clash.

Alex McHenry underwent surgery for a thumb injury and will not be available for the coming weeks, while Liam Coombes has sustained a minor hamstring injury.

Unfortunately, it is a longer-term outlook for John Hodnett who sustained an achilles tendon injury.  The Academy back row will undergo surgery early next week before commencing his rehabilitation programme.

A fourth player is already self-isolating after returning a positive test result from Monday’s PCR testing.  The player remains well, and no other players have been identified as close contacts.

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Rea to win 50th cap v Cardiff

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Photo By Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile via Getty Images

Matty Rea is set to make his 50th Ulster appearance in the Guinness PRO14 Round 4 clash against Cardiff Blues at Rodney Parade on Monday (kick-off 6pm).

The 27-year-old Ballymena man made his Ulster debut against the Toyota Cheetahs in September 2017, and has already shown some excellent form this year when collecting the Player of the Match award in the season opener versus Benetton.

Rea will start at blindside flanker, with Jordi Murphy being retained at openside and Nick Timoney coming in to start at number eight. Adam McBurney will make his first start this season at hooker and is joined in the front row by Eric O’Sullivan – who scored his first Ulster try last week – and Marty Moore. Alan O’Connor retains his starting berth in the second row, and will be partnered with Kieran Treadwell, who is also making his first start this season.

Billy Burns will make his return from injury to captain the side at fly-half, alongside John Cooney – who has been released from the Ireland Six Nations squad – at scrum-half.

Burns is one of four changes to the back line, with Stuart McCloskey also being released from international duties to start alongside Stewart Moore in midfield. Michael Lowry comes in to start at full-back, and he will be joined on the wings by Louis Ludik and the returning Craig Gilroy.

Luke Marshall is set to make his return from injury to make his first appearance this season as he is included among the replacements. Alby Mathewson and Academy back three prospect Ethan McIlroy will cover the backline along with Marshall. John Andrew, Jack McGrath, Ross Kane, Sam Carter, and Sean Reidy provide the forward options on the bench.

Ulster team to play Cardiff Blues, Guinness PRO14 Round 4, Monday 2 November 2020, at Rodney Parade (kick-off 6pm, live on Premier Sports):  

Issued by Ulster Rugby

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