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Pro14

Leinster Hammer Connacht Once Again

Leinster have made it 14 wins from 14 so far this season with another commanding performance at the RDS

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(Photo By Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Leinster have continued their 100% record so far this season with another dominant display running out winners over Connacht at the RDS this evening. 

A brace of tries each from Max Deegan and Garry Ringrose as well as further five-pointers from Dave Kearney, Ciaran Frawley, Joe Tomane and Luke McGrath helped the home side to a comfortable victory. 

Leinster got off to a perfect quick-start as Connacht made a mess of an early line-out which led to Peter Dooley breaking through the defensive line before offloading to Deegan, who barged over for the opening try. Ciaran Frawley split the posts with the conversion to make it 7-0 after just two minutes. 

The hosts had their second try just under ten minutes later as Connacht eventually collapsed under the pressure they were under. Leinster went through the phases in the Connacht 22 before unleashing their back-line as Garry Ringrose sent a looping pass out left to Kearney, who burst a couple of tackles to go over for the score. Frawley failed to convert this time around. 

Leinster had number three two minutes later as they went from their own 22 all the way up the other end of the pitch. Frawley was on the end of the brilliant move by the home side, with Deegan darting through the Connacht defence before passing to his fly-half who ran under the posts. Frawley made no mistake this time around with the kick to push Leinster 19-0 ahead with less than a quarter of an hour on the clock. 

They had the bonus-point wrapped up on 20 minutes as they fed the ball to Deegan from a line-out close to the Connacht try-line, he in turn sent it to Tomane who burst over for the fourth try of the game. Frawley kicked the extras to push the hosts further in front. 

On 34 minutes the boys in blue were over for another five-pointer, as they went through the phases inside the opposition 22 before scrum-half McGrath had a quick pick and go from the back of a ruck close to the try-line and touched down for the try. Frawley converted once again to make it 33-0. 

Three minutes on and Deegan scored his second of the evening and his team’s sixth after another break through the Connacht defence led to some phases in the 22 before the try. Frawley knocked over his fifth two-pointer of the night from the tee to leave it at 40-0 to the hosts come the half-time whistle. 

It took a few minutes for the game to really get going in the second period, but Leinster hit top form once more eight minutes in as Deegan produced another sensational break through the defence before offloading to Ringrose, who raced over for the try. Frawley kicked the extras again to make it 47-0. 

The visitors dominated possession and territory over the next 25 minutes or so and were rewarded with 10 minutes remaining as Tom McCartney barrelled over off the back of a line-out maul. Conor Fitzgerald knocked over the extras to cut ever so slightly into the lead. 

However, Leinster came roaring back and from a cross-field kick by replacement Jamison Gibson-Park, Ringrose picked the ball out of the air and charged over the line in the right-hand corner. Harry Byrne converted the score to make it 54-7 and that was the result come the whistle. 

The win means Leinster have a perfect 10 from 10 record in the PRO14 so far this season and head into next weekend’s Champions Cup game against Lyon full of confidence with a further four wins from four in Europe too. Meanwhile, it’s a disappointing result for Connacht who will need a much improved result if they are to cause any form of upset when they host Toulouse next weekend.  

Player Ratings

Starting XV:

Jordan Larmour (7), Fergus McFadden (7), Garry Ringrose (8), Joe Tomane (8), Dave Kearney (7), Ciaran Frawley (8), Luke McGrath (9); Peter Dooley (7), Sean Cronin (7), Tadhg Furlong (7), Ross Molony (7), James Ryan (6), Rhys Ruddock (9), Will Connors (7), Max Deegan (9)

Replacements (7)

Pro14

Halaholo returns for Cardiff Blues season opener

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(Photo by Athena Pictures/Getty Images)

Willis Halaholo returns to the Cardiff Blues starting line-up for the Guinness PRO14 curtain raiser against Zebre at Stadio Lanfranchi on Friday (KO 6.00pm GMT).

The centre has been sidelined since suffering a significant knee injury in a Challenge Cup clash against Leicester Tigers last November.

Halaholo is reunited in midfield with Rey Lee-Lo, in a backline that includes six internationals.

Homegrown duo Jarrod Evans and Lloyd Williams combine at half back, while Matthew Morgan and Hallam Amos line-up in the back three alongside Josh Adams, who has been in scintillating form since joining the region, with seven tries in eight outings.

Lock Cory Hill captains the side for the first time since returning to his home region from Dragons over the summer.

He partners Seb Davies in the second row, while academy graduates Corey Domachowski and Liam Belcher are included in the front row with Dmitri Arhip.

Shane Lewis-Hughes and James Botham, who both impressed in the victory over Ospreys on the final day of the 2019/20 campaign, are rewarded with starting spots, as the experienced Josh Turnbull is handed the number eight jersey.
John Mulvihill insists he’s picked the side based on form and merit but is expecting a tough task in Parma.

“I’m hopeful that we can take the form that we had against Ospreys into game one and certainly the selection of the team rewards the boys that played well that day,” said the head coach.

““We need to pick on form if we want to be consistent as a group. The coaches need to show consistency in picking players that put their hands up for selection.

“We’re all excited to get out there and to kick off the new season. We gained a lot from the two derbies we played in August, and the boys have been working hard on the training ground, so we want to see that come into fruition on Friday.

“We all know how tough it can be to visit Italy, and you need to travel there with the correct game-plan and mindset.

“Zebre are a team that can cause teams problems on their day, but we’re fully confident in our group. Preparations have been good, the boys have been sharp and focused and we’re relishing the challenge ahead. We want to build early momentum and we have an opportunity to do that in Parma.

“There will be a small home crowd out there, which is fantastic and we’re really looking forward to playing in front of some spectators after everything that’s happened over the last few months. It should be lively and entertaining affair.”

Five academy products are included on the bench, including lock Ben Murphy and Welsh internationals Rhys Carré and Dillon Lewis.

Cardiff Blues: Matthew Morgan; Josh Adams, Rey Lee-Lo, Willis Halaholo, Hallam Amos; Jarrod Evans, Lloyd Williams; Corey Domachowski, Liam Belcher, Dmitri Arhip, Seb Davies, Cory Hill (capt.), Shane Lewis-Hughes, James Botham, Josh Turnbull
Replacements: Kirby Myhill, Rhys Carré, Dillon Lewis, Ben Murphy, Olly Robinson, Lewis Jones, Jason Tovey, Garyn Smith

The following players were not considered for selection due to injury:
Ellis Jenkins (Knee)
Tomos Williams (Shoulder)
Rhys Gill (Bicep)
Jason Harries (Knee)
Owen Lane (Shoulder)
Mason Grady (Ankle)
Keiron Assiratti (Ankle)
Will Boyde (Calf)
Josh Navidi (Concussion)

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Pro14

2 potential debutants for Ulster v Benetton

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Photo By Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile via Getty Images

The Ulster match-day squad has been named for Friday’s Guinness PRO14 opener versus Benetton Rugby at Kingspan Stadium (kick-off 8.15pm).

In the back three, Jacob Stockdale has been selected to start at full-back and will be joined by Rob Lyttle and Craig Gilroy on the wings. Stewart Moore will make his first senior start for Ulster, pairing with James Hume in midfield. Michael Lowry has been named to start at fly-half, alongside John Cooney at scrum-half.

Jack McGrath and Marty Moore will pack down either side of Rob Herring in the front row, and Sam Carter will partner captain Iain Henderson at lock. Matthew Rea, Sean Reidy and Marcell Coetzee have been selected as the starting loose forwards.

Back-row and Academy Player of the Year, David McCann, could make his senior Ulster debut if called upon from the bench, while prop Gareth Milasinovich is also set to earn his first cap following his return from a knee injury sustained shortly after joining the club last summer. They will be joined on the bench by fellow forwards Adam McBurney, Eric O’Sullivan and David O’Connor. Alby Mathewson, Bill Johnston and Louis Ludik will provide the backline cover.

Ulster team to play Benetton Rugby, Guinness PRO14 Round 1, Friday 2 October 2020, at Kingspan Stadium (kick-off 8.15pm, live on Premier Sports):

(15-9): Jacob Stockdale, Craig Gilroy, James Hume, Stewart Moore, Rob Lyttle, Michael Lowry, John Cooney.

(1-8): Jack McGrath, Rob Herring, Marty Moore, Sam Carter, Iain Henderson (Capt.), Matthew Rea, Sean Reidy, Marcell Coetzee.

Replacements (16-23): Adam McBurney, Eric O’Sullivan, Gareth Milasinovich, David O’Connor, David McCann, Alby Mathewson, Bill Johnston, Louis Ludik.

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Pro14

Ulster reveal large injury list with Irish star out for ‘months’

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Photo by Andrew Surma/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Ulster Rugby released their latest squad update this afternoon.

Press Release begins:

The Ulster Rugby Medical Performance Team has issued a squad update ahead of Friday’s Guinness PRO14 Round 1 fixture against Benetton at Kingspan Stadium. 

Kyle McCall sustained a concussion in the recent Ulster ‘A’ Inter-pro fixture against Leinster and will follow Return to Play protocols. Ethan McIlroy (ankle) was also injured during this match and, as a result, is unavailable for selection this week.

Tom Stewart (hamstring) was injured in training on Monday and is currently unavailable for selection.

Stuart McCloskey (elbow) and Billy Burns (calf) sustained injuries in the Heineken Champions Cup Quarter-Final game against Toulouse. Both will be unavailable for selection this week. 

Tom O’Toole, who suffered an ankle injury in the PRO14 Final, will be unavailable for a period of several weeks.

Will Addison has suffered a setback whilst rehabilitating his back injury, and he has recently undergone surgery. He will be unavailable for selection for several months. 

The above players join Andrew Warwick (hip), Luke Marshall (hip), Angus Curtis (knee), and Robert Baloucoune (hamstring) on the current injured list.

Squad updates in association with The Ulster Independent Clinic.”

Ends.

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