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Pro14

Leinster Fail to Win Third Pro 14 Game in a Row

Leinster lost to Glasgow on Saturday afternoon to make it two losses and a draw in their last three Pro 14 matches

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Photo By Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile via Getty Images

Leinster fell to a second defeat in three Pro 14 games as they were defeated 39-24 by Glasgow Warriors at the RDS on Saturday.

The result now means that in Leinster’s past three Pro 14 games they have lost two and drawn the other and that they head into next weekend’s Champions Cup semi-final with Toulouse on the back of a loss.

Leinster were hindered early on as they lost fly-half Ross Byrne to a fourth minute yellow card as he tackled Tommy Seymour without the ball. Adam Hastings got the visitors up and running with the penalty.

Despite the home side being a man down they decided to go for the corner with a penalty and were rewarded when Dave Kearney stepped inside Stuart Hogg to touch down out wide. Joe Tomane was unsuccessful with the conversion, but it pushed them 5-3 ahead.

Hastings knocked Glasgow back in front with a penalty moments later and their lead was increased when Ali Price broke through the defence and offloaded to Sam Johnson who scored the try. Hastings added the extras and suddenly it was 13-5 to Glasgow.

Leinster responded well and with four minutes to go until the half-time whistle Rob Kearney scored his first try for club or country in 53 appearances. Byrne slotted the conversion over and there was only a point between the sides.

However, Leinster failed to hold out until the whistle as Seymour was sent over by Hastings. He missed the conversion this time around, but it meant the score was 18-12 to the away team at half-time.

Cian Healy, Sean Cronin and Tadhg Furlong were introduced for Leinster and made an immediate impact as Healy burst holes in the Glasgow defence before Rob Kearney got in for his second try. Byrne put Leinster ahead with the kick.

Things got better for Leinster as Jordan Larmour used his dancing feet to create space and Rob Kearney got through before passing to brother Dave for his second try of the game. The conversion was missed but Leinster held a 24-18 lead.

Leinster’s evening began to fall apart within a minute of the score as Furlong was forced off with a knee injury and a Matt Fagerson coverted try put Glasgow 25-24 ahead.

Zander Fagerson secured the bonus-point for Glasgow as he burrowed his way over and the Hastings kick made it 32-24.

George Horne finished the job for the visitors with a fifth and final try of the afternoon. Hastings was again perfect from the tee to make it 39-24 to Glasgow and that’s how it ended.

The positives from the match for Leinster were that the returning Robbie Henshaw and Devon Toner had very good showings and Leo Cullen confirmed that Johnny Sexton will be available for next weeks game.

They will have to wait however to discover the extent of Furlong’s knee injury.

The win means that Glasgow head into the final round of fixtures at the top of Conference A and in pole position for a home semi-final. On the other hand, Leinster will have to improve greatly if they are to progress from their Champions Cup semi-final against Toulouse next Sunday.

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Pro14

Munster confirm Zebo signing

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(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.”

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Pro14

Ulster Rugby agree to release Coetzee early

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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.”

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Pro14

Lowry retained at 10 for Ulster v Zebre

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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.

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