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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

Scotland Ace Signs Contract Extension

One of Scotland’s key men has decided to put pen to paper on a new deal with his current club

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(Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Scotland lock Ben Toolis has signed a new contract with current club Edinburgh ahead of the Six Nations with the national side.

The 27-year-old is included in Scotland’s Six Nations squad and has 22-caps to his name at the moment. Meanwhile at club-level Toolis has made over 100 appearances for Edinburgh since his debut in 2013. 

Speaking on the new deal Edinburgh head coach Richard Cockerill admitted he is delighted to have the Brisbane-born lock on board for the foreseeable future. 

“Ben is one of the most athletic locks in the league, while his ability and leadership at the lineout is key to the way we play. We are delighted to see him re-sign, and I’ve got no doubt that he will continue to be a big player for this club in the years to come,” he said to the club’s website. 

The length of the deal have not been announced, but it is a boost for both club and country as his stock continues to rise. 

Toolis will be hoping that he can continue his partnership with Grant Gilchrist in the upcoming Six Nations with the squad currently preparing to face Ireland in their opening game on February 1st.

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Pro14

Former Welsh Ace to Hang Up Boots

One of Wales’ former stars has confirmed that he will retire from rugby come the end of the current season

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(Photo by Athena Pictures/Getty Images)

Former Wales back James Hook has announced that he will be calling time on his professional rugby career come the end of the current season.

Hook is contracted to the Ospreys, but with his deal set to end at the end of the campaign he has decided the time has come to pull the curtain on a professional career spanning 16 years. 

“It’s sad but something I’m really looking forward to. It comes to everyone at some point and now it’s time for me. I’ve had lots of highlights, winning Grand Slam titles and Six Nations and going on the Lions tour in 2009. Then signing my first professional contract was a big moment for me. Growing up I always aspired to be a professional rugby player. You never think it’ll actually happen so when it did it really was amazing,” he said in a post on social media. 

The 34-year old picked up a total of 81-caps for Wales to go along with his 148 appearances for the Ospreys. 

As well as his time with the Welsh region Hook had spells at both Top 14 side Perpignan and English Premiership outfit Gloucester between his stints at the Ospreys. 

Hook has admitted he hopes to continue his rugby journey off the pitch, but that he is also looking forward to having more time to spend with his family after such a long time on the playing field. 

“I want to stay involved in the game, particularly working on the skills, like I do now with the young kickers and the age-grade sides, and I’m hoping to finish my level three coaching qualification. It’ll be nice to spend time with my family, my three young boys and my wife. It’s going to be sad not playing at the end of the season, but you’ve got to be positive and look on the bright side and I’m looking forward to what’s next,” he added. 

As well as his rugby career Hook has also written a series of children’s books that are set to be released later this year and that could provide him with something else to venture into if they are successful. 

However, for now he will be hoping that he can help the Ospreys turn around their disastrous season to date before he hangs his boots up for good. 

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Champions Cup

Connacht Set to Lose Big Star

Connacht look set to without one of their key men next season according to reports as he appears set for a move

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Connacht look as though they will have to deal without flanker Colby Fainga’a next season as he appears to be set for a move to French side Lyon according to Irish outlet the42.

They are reporting that the former Rebels man is the Top 14 side’s preferred replacement for the departing Liam Gill, who will leave at the end of this season. 

Connacht were keen to keep their players’ player of the year from last season and had entered contract talks to extend his deal past the original two years, but with talks stalling Lyon have come in with a reported offer of 300,000 euro a season which would be hard to refuse. 

The 28-year-old would be a huge loss to the western province having been such a massive influence since his arrival in 2018. 

However, more positive news for fans is that the back-rower is set to return from a knee injury this weekend against Toulouse, to help Connacht during a period where injuries have severely hampered them. 

It is understood that Connacht would like to replace Fainga’a with another overseas star, but for now they will hope to get the most out of the Aussie between now and the end of the season.

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