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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.

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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