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Leinster Defeat Glasgow to Retain PRO 14

Leinster claimed a hard-fought win over Glasgow Warriors to defend their PRO 14 crown

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(Photo By Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Leinster saw off a rallying Glasgow Warriors side to retain their PRO 14 title with an 18-15 win in Celtic Park on Saturday night.

The reigning champions were made to work for the victory with tries from Garry Ringrose and Cian Healy seeing them over the line inn front of a record crowd of 47,128.

The rain allowed for slippery conditions on the pitch and for the opening minutes of the game the two teams played at a blistering pace, kicking the ball from one end to the other.

Blues captain Johnny Sexton had an early chance to put them in front with a penalty directly in line with the posts however, he skewed the ball narrowly to the right of the posts.

Moments later and a brilliant kick from James Lowe allowed Rhys Ruddock to pick up the ball before sending it to Sexton as the side broke with incredible pace, only for Jack Conan to spill the ball in what looked like a certain try.

Fraser Brown took out Luke McGrath following a line-out and was lucky not to receive any punishment for tackling the man without the ball.

On 13 minutes Glasgow struck, Scott Cummings won a Leinster line-out for the Warriors and within 13 hard phases Matt Fagerson barrelled over for the opening try of the game beside the posts.

Adam Hastings had no trouble slotting over the conversion to make it 7-0.

Leinster hit back immediately, Sexton sending his kick-off long and when Stuart Hogg took an extra second to compose himself for the clearance kick McGrath was on hand to block him down.

The ball went flying backwards, but on the greasy surface it spun back towards the men in blue and Ringrose was on hand to touch-down. Sexton again sent his kick to the right of the posts and it was 7-5.

Warriors came back at a blistering pace only for Leinster to hold them out on their own line for a couple of minutes as the Scottish outfit settled for three-points from a Hastings penalty.

There were a few minutes for players to catch their breath as Brown was stretchered off after his ankle gave way at a ruck, which will be a real worry for him ahead of the World Cup later this year.

The game restarted with Leinster ball at a scrum and they executed their plan perfectly, going through 18 phases before man of the match Healy could dive over for the try. Sexton converted and suddenly it was 12-10 with 28 minutes on the clock.

With only five minutes left in the half, Sexton extended Leinster’s lead with a 47m penalty as the sides headed in 15-10 at the whistle.

Glasgow came out all guns blazing in the second-half but it was Leinster who scored first as Sexton knocked over another penalty to make it 18-10 with Kyle Steyn being sent to the bin.

Leinster camped in the Warriors 22 for the ten minutes of the sin-binning but failed to make it count as Glasgow bounced-back each time to win a penalty and clear their lines.

It looked as though that failure to score during the 10 minutes that Glasgow were down to 14-men would cost them on 66 minutes. Rob Kearney sent a Garryowen soaring and chased it only for Hogg to catch an Kearney to take him out in the air.

Kearney was sent to the bin and Hogg had just played his last moments in a Warriors jersey as he was kept off with a head injury, with a move to Exeter in the summer already confirmed.

Munch like Leinster, Glasgow made little of their one-man advantage until the 75th minute when Grant Stewart raced over in the right-corner for a try. Hastings couldn’t apply the extras but it was a three-point game with four minutes remaining.

However, despite the boos of the home crowd Leinster held Glasgow in their own half and then got a chance to hold onto the ball before sending it into the crowd as the clock hit red to win 18-15 and make it bakc-to-back titles.

After the game Sexton was full of praise for his side as he hailed their bounce-back from the 20-10 Champions Cup final defeat to Saracens.

“This keeps the Leinster momentum going. We can say we’ve been to four finals in two seasons and won three. That’s a really good return. If we’d come away from two out of four we’d be going into next season empty handed, so this changes our summer holidays. I’m very proud of the lads for the way we bounced back after what was probably the lowest point of all our careers really in terms of losing a European Cup final,” he said.

The win now means that Leinster have secured a sixth league title and there was a nice touch added when they allowed the departing Sean O’Brien to lift the trophy before he heads to London Irish in the summer.

It was a good end to the season for Leinster, who will look to do the same next year, however, for the majority of the team the next challenge on the list is the Rugby World Cup with all eyes on Japan as Ireland look to reach at least a first ever semi-final.

6 Nations

Scarlets provide updates on Williams & Owens

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(Photo by ANDREAS SOLARO/AFP/Getty Images)

Liam Williams has recovered from a foot injury that has prevented him playing for the Scarlets so far this season. He has been released from the Wales squad to train with the Scarlets ahead of Friday’s Guinness PRO14 clash with Benetton.

Ken Owens has undergone surgery on the shoulder injury he sustained against Glasgow and it is expected he will be unavailable for three to four months.

Josh Macleod has started his rehabilitation for a hamstring injury sustained against Glasgow. He will be targeting a return to play in December.

Scarlets also confirmed that Sam Lousi has been banned for a period of four weeks as a result of his red card in the Guinness PRO14 clash with Glasgow Warriors.

Lousi was shown a red card by referee Frank Murphy (IRFU) 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 line of the shoulder even if the tackle starts below the line of the shoulders.

The disciplinary hearing was handled by Roddy Dunlop (Scotland) and it was accepted that the player’s actions warranted a red card for foul play. The incident was deemed a mid-range offence, which carries a six-week suspension.

Due to the player’s previous disciplinary record (red card for punching incident, February 2020) the judicial officer could not offer full mitigation therefore, resulting in a four-week suspension.

Lousi is free to resume playing from midnight on November 9, 2020

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Pro14

Marcus Rea to start for Ulster v Ospreys

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Photo By Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile via Getty Images

Marcus Rea will make his first start for Ulster on Saturday evening, in the Guinness PRO14 Round 2 trip to play Ospreys at Liberty Stadium (kick-off 5.15pm). 

The 23-year-old – who was Player of the Match in his sole previous Ulster appearance as a replacement against Leinster in April 2019 – has been named at openside flanker. Marcus’s older brother Matty – Player of the Match in last weekend’s bonus point win over Benetton – is named alongside him at blindside, with Marcell Coetzee once again packing down at number eight. 

Jack McGrath, Rob Herring and Marty Moore have been given the front row starting berths, and Alan O’Connor has been selected along with captain Iain Henderson in the second row. 

Matt Faddes returns to the starting side on the right wing and will join Jacob Stockdale at full-back and Rob Lyttle on the left wing. Last week’s midfield duo of Stewart Moore and James Hume has been retained. Ian Madigan comes in to start at fly-half, pairing with John Cooney at scrum-half. 

The coaching team has opted for a 6-2 bench split. Adam McBurney, Eric O’Sullivan, Gareth Milasinovich, Kieran Treadwell, Greg Jones and Sean Reidy provide the forward options, with David Shanahan and Louis Ludik offering back line cover.  

Ulster team to play Ospreys Rugby, Guinness PRO14 Round 2, Saturday 10 October 2020, at Liberty Stadium (kick-off 5.15pm, live on Premier Sports):   

(15-9) Jacob Stockdale, Matt Faddes, James Hume, Stewart Moore, Rob Lyttle, Ian Madigan, John Cooney.  (1-8) Jack McGrath, Rob Herring, Marty Moore, Alan O’Connor, Iain Henderson (Capt.) , Matthew Rea, Marcus Rea, Marcell Coetzee.  Replacements: Adam McBurney, Eric O’Sullivan, Gareth Milasinovich, Kieran Treadwell, Greg Jones, David Shanahan, Louis Ludik, Sean Reidy. 

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Pro14

Munster confirm COVID-19 case. Training suspended.

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(Photo By Brendan Moran/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Munster Rugby have been assisting a senior player who has tested positive for Covid-19.

The latest PCR testing carried out on Monday at the HPC has returned a positive result for a player who is asymptomatic. To remove any doubt of a potential false positive the player will be retested tomorrow.
The individual, who was not part of the travelling group at the weekend, and six other players identified by Munster Rugby as potential close contacts, are currently self-isolating.

This approach of identifying possible close contacts is in line with the caution we have taken to this issue, these players may not be deemed close contacts by the HSE.

As a precautionary measure, the squad and academy will not train at the HPC today.
The HSE have been notified for contract tracing purposes.

Further PCR testing will take place tomorrow at the HPC with a return to scheduled training planned for Thursday ahead of Saturday’s Guinness PRO14 encounter against Edinburgh at Thomond Park.

Munster Rugby Head of Medical, Dr Jamie Kearns, said: “As an immediacy we are taking every precaution by standing down training today.

“We are going to complete another round of PCR testing tomorrow so that we can return to training on Thursday.

“Our priority is to ensure the health and safety of our players and staff, and we will continue to work closely with both the IRFU and HSE in this regard.”

Statement from Munster Rugby

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