Connect with us


Leinster and Ulster Ring the Changes for Belfast Clash

Leinster and Ulster have named a number of changes to their teams for Saturday’s Pro 14 fixture



Photo By Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile via Getty Images

Leinster and Ulster will send out experimental sides when the two face off in their inter-provincial match at the Kingspan Stadium at 17 15.

Both teams are already guaranteed of a play-off spot and are allowing players a chance to play before the big games in what is the final regular season match.

Jack McGrath, Byran Byrne and Michael Bent all start in the front-row for Leinster. McGrath will be looking to impress ahead of his summer move to Ulster and force his way into Leo Cullen’s thoughts for a spot in the squad for the final fixtures of the season.

Josh Murphy is joined by debutant Oisin Dowling in the engine room, with Max Deegan, Will Conors and Caelan Doris slotting in behind in the back-row.

Nick McCarthy starts alongside Ross Byrne in the half-backs, with Byrne captaining the side.

Leicester-bound Noel Reid opens the game at inside centre beside Joe Tomane at outside-centre. The experienced duo of Dave Kearney and Fergus McFadden begin on the wings, with Jimmy O’Brien at 15. There is power on the bench for the visiting side with the likes of Peter Dooley, Scott Penny, Ciaran Frawley and Barry Daly among the subs.

Ulster have changed their entire XV that saw off Edinburgh a couple of week’s ago.

Andy Warwick, John Andrew and Ross Kane are picked to lead from the front, with Ian Nagle and Alan O’Connor coming in to occupy the lock positions.

Matty Rea, Clive Ross and Sean Reidy are at six, seven and eight respectively to finish the pack.

Dave Shanahan and Johnny McPhillips begin the game at scrum-half and out-half, while Peter Nelson partners Darren Cave who captains the side before his retirement in the summer.

Angus Kernohan and David Busby are on the left and right wings, as Michael Lowry comes in at full-back.

Nick Timoney and Rob Lyttle are the only two players that retain places in the squad from the Edinburgh win and are named among an otherwise inexperienced bench.

Ulster will be looking to build momentum before next weeks quarter-final showdown with rivals Connacht having already secured second-place in Conference B. On the other hand, Leinster have been able to rest the majority players that defeated Toulouse in the Champions Cup last weekend as they have an eye on retaining their Pro 14 and Champions Cup crowns.

Check out the highlights below from the last Pro14 Fixture between Ulster & Leinster back in Round 13:


Munster confirm Zebo signing



(Photo By Brendan Moran/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Munster Rugby and the IRFU are pleased to announce that Simon Zebo has signed a one-year contract to return to play with the province for the 2021/22 season.

This co-funded contract will see Munster’s all-time record try-scorer return from Racing 92 and line out for his home club where he made 144 appearances and scored 60 tries between 2010 and 2018.

In his third season with the Top 14 side, the 31-year-old has played 55 times and scored 21 tries to date.

Head Coach Johann van Graan said, “The opportunity to bring Simon back to Munster came about in early April following a final review of our squad’s budgetary position for season-end and with assistance from the IRFU to support what we believe is a really good deal for Munster and Irish Rugby.

“Simon’s desire to return to Ireland and play with his home club is illustrated by his willingness to sign at a level below his market value elsewhere. This has made bringing the province’s all-time leading try-scorer back home, possible.”

Simon Zebo said, “I am thrilled and honoured to be coming back home to play for Munster. My family and I have been so lucky to have enjoyed three incredible years with Racing 92 in Paris and I cannot thank the team there enough, I really have made friends for life and take with me some brilliant memories.

“However, as everyone knows, Munster holds a very special place in my heart and I’ve always said that I wanted to play for them and potentially Ireland again, so when this opportunity arose the lure of being close to home, family and friends and Munster fans, it outweighed all other options. I cannot wait to get back to the HPC with the team and hopefully a packed Thomond Park.”

Continue Reading


Ulster Rugby agree to release Coetzee early



Photo By Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Marcell Coetzee has played his last game for Ulster Rugby.

With back-row, Marcell Coetzee, currently side-lined with a hamstring injury, Ulster Rugby has agreed terms which will see the player released from the club at the end of this month, ahead of his planned departure at the conclusion of the 2020/21 season.

Given the need for several weeks of rehabilitation following the injury sustained by Coetzee in last month’s Guinness PRO14 fixture against Leinster, Ulster Rugby and the player have reached a mutual agreement to part ways on Friday 30 April.

Head of Rugby Operations and Recruitment, Bryn Cunningham, said: “We have come to an agreement that will allow Marcell the time and space required to continue his rehab.

“I’d like to thank Marcell for his contribution to the province over the past five years and we wish him and wife, Chanelle the very best for their upcoming return home to South Africa.”

Continue Reading


Lowry retained at 10 for Ulster v Zebre



Photo By Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile via Getty Images

The Ulster coaching team has named the match-day squad to host Zebre in tomorrow night’s final Guinness PRO14 regular season game (Kingspan Stadium, 8.15pm).

21-year-old, Cormac Izuchukwu will make his first start for the Ulster men as he is named in the second row alongside Kieran Treadwell. Marty Moore comes back into the starting front row at tighthead, with Eric O’Sullivan and John Andrew retaining their starting berths at loosehead and hooker. Jordi Murphy will captain the side at openside flanker, with Sean Reidy and David McCann being retained at blindside and Number Eight.

A youthful back line sees Ethan McIlroy coming into the  back three at full-back, with Rob Lyttle on the left wing and Robert Baloucoune returning on the right. Stewart Moore and James Hume will make up the midfield pairing, while John Cooney and Michael Lowry are named at half-back.

Brad Roberts, Callum Reid, Tom O’Toole, Alan O’Connor and Matty Rea are the forward reinforcements, with David Shanahan, Ian Madigan and Ben Moxham providing the back line options on the bench.

Ulster team to play Zebre Rugby, Guinness PRO14 Round 16, Friday 19 March at Kingspan Stadium (kick-off 8.15pm, live on Premier Sports / eir Sport):

(15-9) Ethan McIlroy, Robert Baloucoune, James Hume, Stewart Moore, Rob Lyttle, Michael Lowry, John Cooney;

(1-8) Eric O’Sullivan, John Andrew, Marty Moore, Cormac Izuchukwu, Kieran Treadwell, Sean Reidy, Jordy Murphy (Capt.), David McCann.

Replacements: Brad Roberts, Callum Reid, Tom O’Toole, Alan O’Connor, Matty Rea, David Shanahan, Ian Madigan, Ben Moxham.

Continue Reading