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Pro14

Ireland Internationals Provide Big Boost for Ulster

Ulster have mixed fortunes ahead of their first inter-provincial clash of the season against Munster this weekend but could receive a massive boost for the game

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(Photo By Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Ulster have confirmed that they have picked up three injuries ahead of their trip to Munster this Saturday but could be boosted by the return of some international stars.

The province have confirmed that Louis Ludik, Will Addison and James Hume have all picked up injuries over the last week or so. 

Ludik looks likely to miss the game after sustaining a concussion during last weekend’s 22-7 win over Zebre and will follow return to play protocols, while Addison also injured his shoulder in that game and will be monitored throughout the week to see if he may be in selection contention. 

However, Hume will miss around four months of action after undergoing surgery on a torn hamstring last week. 

Although there is a huge positive for the northern men who are expected to welcome back some of their Irish international contingent this weekend with skills coach Dan Soper hopeful that they will come through the week unscathed. 

“They have integrated into parts, so they haven’t been a part of full training yet those guys. We didn’t want to throw them in at the deep-end, but they’ve done parts of training and look like they’re tracking pretty good. If they get through the rest of the week then hopefully we might see some part of them involved,” he said on the internationals returning. 

The likes of Jacob Stockdale, Jordi Murphy and captain Iain Henderson are among those who have come back from the Irish camp and would be welcome returns to the Ulster set-up. 

However, having been thumped 64-7 on their last trip to Thomond Park last season Soper’s is aware that his side will have a tough challenge to beat their rivals especially as some of their respective internationals return to the fold. 

“I think they’re 17 on the bounce at home. It’s a hell of a challenge, a pretty exciting one to get stuck in to,” he added. 

Meanwhile the game will see former Munster starlet Bill Johnston return to his former side but he is insistent that his past with the club has nothing to do with this game. 

“It’s just a game, there’s four or five points up for grabs,” he said when questioned about the subject. 

Ulster head into the game in second-spot in Conference A with four wins from their opening five games, and are five-points behind leaders Leinster and will hope that they can cut into that lead with a win against Conference B toppers Munster this weekend.

Pro14

Guinness PRO14 Rainbow Cup set for ‘North v South’ final showdown

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The Guinness PRO14 Rainbow Cup is set to culminate in a ‘North v South’ final on June 19 so that the dual tournaments operating in Europe and South Africa will tie together to produce one winner.

Planning is now at an advanced stage and all written approvals are expected imminently for the game to take place at a European venue.

At this stage in the process it was important for teams, their fans, broadcasters and sponsors to hear of these developments ahead of this weekend’s Rainbow Cup games in Europe and South Africa.

The northern representative in the final shall be the team who finishes first in the table among the 12 teams in the Guinness PRO14 Rainbow Cup while the Southern representative shall be the side who ranks first in the Rainbow Cup SA competition.

Further details on the ‘North v South’ Guinness Rainbow Cup Final will be provided next week.

Images & Content from Leinster Rugby

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Pro14

Kinghorn to become youngest Edinburgh centurion

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Photo by ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP via Getty Images

Blair Kinghorn will become the youngest player to reach 100 Edinburgh Rugby appearances tomorrow night when he returns to face inter-city rivals Glasgow Warriors in the Guinness PRO14 Rainbow Cup at BT Murrayfield Stadium (15 May, kick-off 7.35pm) – live on Premier Sports.

Born and raised in the capital, Kinghorn will surpass the feat of former scrum-half Sam Hidalgo-Clyne (24 years and 169 days) in becoming the club’s 35th centurion aged 24 years and 117 days, five years on from his debut against Benetton Rugby at the national stadium in October 2016.

The full-back – who has also racked up 25 caps for his country – extended his contract with his hometown team earlier this year and returns from compassionate leave to replace the injured Duhan van der Merwe, with Damien Hoyland moving to wing and Eroni Sau completing the back three.

A new midfield partnership of Chris Dean and James Johnstone starts the match – with centre George Taylor moving to the bench – while 21-year-old stand-off Charlie Savala comes in for Nathan Chamberlain to make his first home appearance alongside Henry Pyrgos at half-back.

A further three starting changes are made to the pack, with co-captain and hooker Stuart McInally – who made a try-scoring return from injury as a replacement last weekend – accompanying Pierre Schoeman and WP Nel in the front-row, with Mike Willemse joining the squad as replacement hooker.

Forwards Marshall Sykes (lock) and Mesu Kunavula (back-row) are promoted from the bench in place of injured pair Grant Gilchrist and Jamie Ritchie, with Ally Miller and Connor Boyle taking their vacated forwards replacements berths on the bench.

Back-row Luke Crosbie, lock Jamie Hodgson and number 8 Viliame Mata are reselected and complete the pack.

Head Coach Richard Cockerill said: “We’ve worked hard to address a few things our game that contributed to a frustrating defeat to Glasgow last weekend, while also ensuring some of the parts that went well continue to be a source of strength for us.

“Every time we pull on an Edinburgh shirt we play to win and we’ve picked a side we feel has a good balance of experienced internationalists, those competing for places and some young, up-and-coming prospects in our squad, who get a chance alongside some seasoned pros.

“We’re still very much in this competition and tomorrow’s game will play a big part in whether that remains to be the case, so we’ll be going out there to front up physically, first and foremost, get our basics right, and put a marker down for the standards we expect from one to 15.”

Edinburgh Rugby team to play Glasgow Warriors at BT Murrayfield Stadium
Guinness PRO14 Rainbow Cup, Saturday 15 May (kick-off 7.35pm) – live on Premier Sports

15. Blair Kinghorn (99)

14. Damien Hoyland (84)
13. James Johnstone (63)
12. Chris Dean (107)
11. Eroni Sau (24)

10. Charlie Savala (1)
9. Henry Pyrgos (50)

1. Pierre Schoeman (62)
2. Stuart McInally CO-CAPTAIN (152)
3. WP Nel (154)
4. Marshall Sykes (5)
5. Jamie Hodgson (21)
6. Mesu Kunavula (10)
7. Luke Crosbie CO-CAPTAIN (56)
8. Viliame Mata (88)

Substitutes:

16. Mike Willemse (37)
17. Boan Venter (5)
18. Lee-Roy Atalifo (9)
19. Ally Miller (23)
20. Connor Boyle (5)
21. Charlie Shiel (34)
22. Jack Blain (13)
23. George Taylor (35)

Unavailable through injury (19): Magnus Bradbury, Lewis Carmichael, Matt Currie, Andrew Davidson, Andries Ferreira, Dan Gamble, Grant Gilchrist, Darcy Graham, Sam Grahamslaw, Nick Haining, Dan Nutton, Freddie Owsley, Jamie Ritchie, Rory Sutherland, Nathan Sweeney, Ben Toolis, Duhan van der Merwe, Jaco van der Walt, Hamish Watson.

Source – Edinburgh Rugby

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Pro14

Will Addison banned following Ulster v Munster Red-Card

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Photo by Andrew Surma/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Ulster and Ireland back Will Addison has been banned for four weeks as a result of his red card in last Friday’s Guinness PRO14 Rainbow Cup match against Munster.

Addison was shown a red card by WRU referee Craig Evans under law 9.13 – a player must not tackle an opponent early, late or dangerously.

Dangerous tackling includes, but is not limited to, tackling or attempting to tackle an opponent above the lie of the shoulders even if the tackle starts below the line of the shoulders.

The disciplinary process for the red card offence was presided over by judicial officer Rhian Williams (WRU) who concluded that a mid-range offence had occurred, with a mid-range entry point of six weeks.

In order to determine the ultimate sanction, the judicial officer considered the lack of aggravating circumstances and the range of mitigating factors advanced by Addison.

The 28-year-old, who only returned from long-term back and calf injuries last month, is suspended from participating in the next four meaningful matches.

Should a game be cancelled or postponed during this window of games, Addison and PRO14 are to submit updated fixtures to the disciplinary panel so the return date can be advised.

Images & Content from Irish Rugby & Images © Inpho Photography

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