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Pro14

Leinster Change Eight for Ospreys Trip

Leinster have changed eight of their starting XV for this weekend’s PRO14 clash with the Ospreys

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(Photo By Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Leinster head coach Leo Cullen has made eight changes to his starting line-up for tomorrow’s PRO14 game against the Ospreys at the Gnoll at 19 35.

Following last weekend’s victory of the Cheetahs Cullen has made three changes to the pack and a further five in the backs as the team go in search of a 12th win in a row in the competition. 

In the front-row James Tracy comes in to replace Ronan Kelleher at hooker and has Peter Dooley and Michael Bent either side of him, while Ross Molony joins captain Scott Fardy in the second-row. 

Josh Murphy comes in at blindside-flanker, with Scott Penny handed a start on the openside, as Rhys Ruddock shifts from the flank to No 8. 

Jamison Gibson-Park takes the place of Luke McGrath to link-up with Ciaran Frawley in the half-backs, with Conor O’Brien being handed the inside-centre role as Jimmy O’Brien continues at outside-centre. 

It’s a whole new back-three with James Lowe returning to the left-wing, as Cian Kelleher takes his place on the right and Hugo Keenan completes the starting XV from full-back. 

On the bench there are a number of young players with the likes of Michael Milne, Ryan Baird, Rowan Osborne and Harry Byrne among the replacements. 

Speaking ahead of the game full-back Keenan has warned his side that that they must be wary of the Ospreys despite their poor start to the season as they will be confident following a rare win last weekend. 

“Ospreys are coming off a great win against Ulster there so their tails are up, so it will be a big challenge,” he said. 

Leinster head into the game looking to extend their winning streak so far this season to 18 matches, but the Ospreys will be out to cause an upset and the boys in blue will be well aware that they will have to be at their best once again to pick up another victory. 

Check Out the Full 23-Man Squad Below. 

Starting XV: 

15. Hugo Keenan (12)

14. Cian Kelleher (13)

13. Jimmy O’Brien (15)

12. Conor O’Brien (22)

11. James Lowe (41)

10. Ciarán Frawley (23)

9. Jamison Gibson-Park (86)

1. Peter Dooley (74)

2. James Tracy (106)

3. Michael Bent (133)

4. Ross Molony (94)

5. Scott Fardy (56) (c)

6. Josh Murphy (30)

7. Scott Penny (12)

8. Rhys Ruddock (170)

Replacements:

16. Seán Cronin (179)

17. Michael Milne (6)

18. Jack Aungier (3)

19. Jack Dunne (5)

20. Ryan Baird (5)

21. Rowan Osborne (3)

22. Harry Byrne (7)

23. Tommy O’Brien (2)

Pro14

RG Snyman On Joining Munster Rugby

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(Photo By Brendan Moran/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Munster Rugby’s summer signing RG Snyman spoke to the media remotely via conference call on Tuesday for the first time since joining the province.

The World Cup winner covered a wide range of topics, check out a few snippets from the press conference below.

Moving from Japan to Munster Rugby…

“The biggest reason I came here was coach Johann. I’ve worked with him in the past and I know the quality of coach he is.

“I haven’t worked under him that much before, even though I know him a long time. But I do know that he’s a quality coach. Speaking to anyone that has ever worked with him, it’s only positive [things that they say].

“I really enjoyed my time in Japan. From a career perspective, I thought it was a better move to come over to Munster and work under coach Johann to keep moving forward and keep improving.

“I still think I need to work on the smaller details from a technical side and working under him is great for that because he is very technical and his off-field work is very detailed.”

Adapting to European rugby…

“I think the rugby here in the northern hemisphere is very physical so I’m looking forward to that. Broadening my game a bit set-piece wise, that’s something I’m looking forward to as well.

“I think the weather will play a big part in the games. I’ve noticed the last couple of weeks at training that it’s not as easy to hold onto the ball as it is in South Africa or even Japan.

“I will have to adapt to it a little bit but I think it’s ok, I can work around it.”

Familiarising yourself in new surroundings…

“We have mainly seen the places around Limerick and we went to Dublin for a few days and I’ve actually seen the Aviva Stadium as well so it’s nice to see where we’re going later this month.”

Springboks team-mate Damian de Allende…

“I actually didn’t know he was coming as well [when I signed]! I’m very happy because he’s a great guy and he’s a hard-working player as well and I’m looking forward to seeing some good collisions from him.”

Watch our first interview with RG from last month below along with some highlights from his career so far below.

Video | Introducing RG Snyman

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Pro14

Connacht Rugby announce signings of Ben O’Donnell and Abraham Papali’i

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Connacht Rugby are delighted to announce the signings of Australian 7s player Ben O’Donnell and Bay of Plenty Number 8 Abraham Papali’i.
 
The pair will link up with the squad before the start of the 2020/21 Guinness PRO14 season.
 
Ben O’Donnell joins from the Australian Sevens programme, having played 95 matches for his country since he was handed his debut in 2017 under Andy Friend. The 24-year old went on to score 47 tries in that time and has been a key figure in their progression through the World Rugby Seven Series over the past three seasons.
 
O’Donnell was voted Australian Sevens Player of the year in 2018 and subsequently went on to be the first Australian player ever nominated for the World Sevens Player of the Year.
 
New Zealander Abraham Papali’i arrives from Bay of Plenty where he was a key member of the squad that won the Mitre 10 Cup Championship last year. The Auckland-born duel code player started his Rugby Union career with North Harbour before being recruited into the New Zealand Warriors (Rugby League) pathway. In 2015 Papali’i signed a two year contract with the Sydney Roosters of the Australian National Rugby League (NRL).
 
Following his time with the Roosters, Papali’i joined Lézignan Sangliers in the premier French Rugby League competition before the 6’4” number 8 returned to New Zealand and successfully restarted his Rugby Union career with Bay of Plenty.
 
Head Coach Andy Friend says today’s announcement is a significant boost ahead of the return to rugby.
 
“I am delighted to welcome Ben and Abraham to Connacht Rugby.
 
I got to know Ben very well on the Australian Sevens scene. It did not surprise me that he went on to become such an important player for them and I am thrilled that he has chosen to join Connacht.
 
Abraham is a powerful number 8 who has all the attributes to become a really valuable player for us while furthering our options in the back row. I know every Connacht supporter will be excited to see what he can offer.”

 
Friend expressed his excitement about the announcement and what the squad can achieve in the upcoming season.
 
“Today’s announcement comes on the back of discussions that started a number of months ago and we are delighted to eventually be able to share this exciting news with all of our supporters today.
 
These signings bring our squad up to 43 players for next season. We have freshened up and added depth to our squad in a number of key areas, having signed a healthy blend of young exciting players who have come through our Academy system as well as bringing in some additional quality and experience from further afield.
 
We are an ambitious group and I firmly believe we have all the tools we need to kick on to the next level and achieve success in what is going to be a really exciting season.”

Press Release from Connacht Rugby

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Pro14

Connacht raid Provincial rivals. 4 new signings confirmed.

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Photo By Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile via Getty Images

Connacht Rugby have today confirmed the signings of Munster duo Sammy Arnold and Conor Oliver, and Leinster pair Jack Aungier and Oisin Dowling.

The quartet will become Connacht Rugby players from July 1st with Arnold, Dowling and Aungier penning two-year deals.

Irish international Sammy Arnold has made 44 appearances for Munster since joining the province from Ulster in 2016, scoring 8 tries in the process. The 24-year-old centre has been named both Ulster Academy Player of the Year and Munster Young Player of the Year, and made his International debut against USA in the 2018 Autumn Internationals.

Back row Conor Oliver has featured 28 times for Munster since making his debut in February 2016 and was named Munster Academy Player of the Year the following season. The 24-year-old can play on either flanks or as a number 8, expanding the coaching team’s options heading into the new season.

Oliver and Arnold both featured for Ireland in the 2015 World Rugby U20 Championship, who were then coached by current Connacht Attack Coach Nigel Carolan.

Jack Aungier made his Leinster senior debut last November and has gone on to make 5 appearances for the side in the current Guinness PRO14 season. The prop has also impressed at underage level, featuring for the Ireland U20s and U18 Clubs squad.

Oisin Dowling arrives from the Leinster Rugby Academy having played 6 times for the senior squad in the past two seasons. The 6’5’’ lock has also been capped at Irish U20 level.

Commenting on today’s announcement, Head Coach Andy Friend says all four players can make significant contributions to the squad ahead of the new season.

In Sammy, Conor, Oisin and Jack we have secured the signings of four very talented and promising young Irish rugby players. They each have unique skillsets which will enhance our squad for next season and beyond, and will allow us to continue to grow as a program. We’re all looking forward to welcoming them to The Sportsground and integrating them into our playing squad.

Press Release from Irish Rugby

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