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Leinster Maintain Perfect Start with Warriors Scalp

Leinster have made it seven wins from seven with another impressive performance away to Glasgow Warriors



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Leinster have continued their perfect start to the season with a 23-10 win over Glasgow Warriors at the Scotstoun Stadium last night.

Two tries from Cian Kelleher, along with a further 13-points from the boot of in-form Ross Byrne helped the Irish province past an early onslaught from the home side, who scored two tries through Ruaridh Jackson. 

Things couldn’t have started much better for the Scots as Leinster full-back Hugo Keenan was sent to the sin-bin for impeding Huw Jones during a try-scoring situation four minutes into the game. 

A man up and Glasgow made no mistake of punishing the boys in blue as they struck from the resulting penalty. A swift move from a line-out allowing Peter Horne to swing the ball out to Jackson, who dotted down in the corner. Horne couldn’t provide the extras, but it was a positive opening six minutes for the hosts. 

Minutes later and Horne had the chance to add three-points to the scoreboard, but was again missing his kicking radar with the penalty. 

That was not the case however for Byrne, who stepped up just before the quarter-hour mark to get Leinster up and running with a penalty kick. 

The game became filled with errors following that score, but it was Glasgow who extended their lead as Sam Johnson broke through the defence put Jackson through on the left-hand side for his second of the night. Horne failed from the tee once more to leave it at 10-3 after 25 minutes. 

Horne’s inaccuracy proved costly to the home side as Leinster came roaring back, showing some great attacking play as youngster Conor O’Brien made a break of his own before sending a lovely pass to Kelleher who went over for the try. Byrne slotted the conversion to make it an even game just after the half hour mark. 

Three minutes later and Leinster went in front as some more good attacking play allowed Kelleher to notch his team’s and his own second try of the game, which Byrne again converted to leave it at 17-10 come the interval. 

After the break Leinster never looked like giving up their lead and pushed further in front just before the clock struck 60 minutes as Byrne knocked over a penalty. 

The pressure that Leinster were putting on the Warriors forced errors from the hosts and with little under 10 minutes remaining Byrne all but ensured the win with another perfect penalty. 

Glasgow rallied on to the end and thought they had got over through Jackson once more only for the TMO to rule out the try and his hat-trick. They continued to push for a score that would at least hand them a losing bonus-point, but the away side held strong to record a 23-10 win, which is their first away to the Warriors in seven years. 

The victory makes it seven wins from seven in the PRO14 for Leinster at the start of the season and leaves them eight points clear of Ulster, who are in second-place in Conference A. While Glasgow fall further behind the play-off spots and are now six-points off third-placed Cheetahs in the conference. 

Next up for the Scottish side is a double-header in the Champions Cup against La Rochelle, with the away fixture next Saturday. While Leinster will look to make it three wins from three on the European stage when they head to Northampton on the same day. 

6 Nations

Double Injury Blow for Leinster

Leinster have been handed two big injuries to two of their key men as they head into the Christmas period



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Leinster have confirmed that star fly-half Johnny Sexton has suffered a medial tear in his right knee, while Ronan Kelleher has also had an injury set-back.

Sexton, who went off injured during Leinster’s 43-16 victory over Northampton Saints last Saturday, underwent scans on his knee yesterday and saw a specialist who revealed that he will miss between 6 and 8 weeks of action. 

The 34-year-old is set to miss the opening weekend’s of the 2020 Six Nations as a result, with the first fixture at home to Scotland on February 1st, with Wales coming to town a week later. 

It will remain to be seen how quickly he recovers, but the likelihood is that he will aim to be fit for Ireland’s third game away to England on the 23rd. 

However, his injury causes a slight selection headache for new head coach Andy Farrell, who at this moment is without Sexton and Joey Carbery, but the latter is expected to return from injury later this month. 

Although Sexton’s injury is a big blow, it could open the door once again for Connacht’s Jack Carty to get a run in the Irish line-up, while Leinster teammate Ross Byrne will take the reigns at club-level and with the form he is currently in, will fancy his chances of getting a call up to the national team having missed out on the Rugby World Cup squad. 

The injury also means that Sexton will miss all three of Leinster’s remaining Champions Cup pool fixtures as well as their three inter-provincial derbies over the coming month, with Byrne expected to be backed up by younger brother Harry and Ciaran Frawley. 

Although the bad news for both Leinster and Ireland doesn’t stop there with upcoming star hooker Ronan Kelleher expected to be side-lined for a period with a possible fractured hand, which he is thought to have suffered during last weekend’s game. 

It is thought that Kelleher was in poll position to earn his first call-up to the Irish side for the Six Nations after a blistering start to the season, but this may now dampen his hopes. 

Sean Cronin is believed to be nearing full-fitness once more, which would be a boost for both club and country as he could slot in seamlessly. 

The injuries are piling-up for Leinster, who will also miss centre Joe Tomane for the same period as Sexton through a hamstring injury, while Rory O’Loughlin will miss this weekend’s game with injury. 

James Ryan is also making his way through the back to play protocols after taking a knock to the head against the Saints, but could feature this Saturday. 

Leinster will hope that their squad can cope with the set-backs as they head into this weekend’s home fixture against Northampton, with younger stars now having the chance to lay a marker as the province look to make it 11 wins from 11 at the start of the season.

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6 Nations

Sexton to Miss Northampton Return Game

Leinster fly-half Johnny Sexton is set to miss this weekend’s home game against Northampton Saints and there are further injury concerns for the Irish province



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Leinster have confirmed that out-half Johnny Sexton will not feature in this weekend’s return fixture against the Northampton Saints in the Champions Cup.

The Irish-star went down awkwardly in a tackle early in the second-half of Saturday’s 43-16 victory over the Saints and was replaced by Ross Byrne immediately and will now see a specialist later today for further scans on the injury. 

The 34-year-olds fitness uncertainty will come as a massive concern for new Ireland head coach Andy Farrell, with the Six Nations edging closer and with him set to take charge of his first training camp before the New Year. 

As well as his skill-set, many expect Sexton to take over the captaincy from recently retired Rory Best, with his experience being a key component to the Irish side. 

The good news for his province is that Ross Byrne has been in fine form so far this season after his Rugby World Cup omission from the Irish squad and has back-up from younger brother Harry as well as Ciaran Frawley, with Ross likely to take the starting spot this weekend. 

However, Leinster will be without backs Joe Tomane and Rory O’Loughlin this weekend, with the former set to be side-lined for up to eight weeks with a hamstring injury following a brilliant opening to the season, while the latter is suffering from a shoulder problem. 

In the forwards James Ryan is undergoing the return to play protocols after taking a knock to the head during Saturday’s win. 

Leinster and Ireland will hope that Sexton makes a speedy recovery, but for the boys in blue their eyes will be firmly set on this weekend’s fixture which could see them all but qualify for the knock-out stages of the competition and they will want to continue their perfect start to the season with an incredible 10 wins from 10.

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Zebre Star Receives Small Ban for Biting

Zebre might have claimed a famous away win in the PRO14 last weekend, but it’s not all rosy for the Italian team after one of their players has been handed a ban for biting, although it’s shorter than most would expect



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Zebre No 8 has received a six-week ban after being found guilty of biting an opposition player during last Saturday’s PRO14 clash with the Ospreys.

The 24-year-old was expected to be handed a lengthy ban for an act of foul play that is seriously frowned upon in the sport, but after initially being given a 12-week ban it was cut in half due to his previous disciplinary record, his admission of guilt and his conduct throughout the process. 

All of which means that he will be free to play for the Italian minnows, who enjoyed a memorable away win in Wales, come the 12th of January. 

The four-time capped Italian’s ban comes only a week after the exact same ban that was handed down to La Rochelle’s Pierre Bourgarit, who was caught eye-gouging Sale’s Tom Curry in a Champions Cup fixture. 

Another one of the worst offences in the game and it was reduced from 12 to six weeks, much for the same reasons as Giammarioli. 

Some fans and ex-players will criticise the decision, as it appears a much softer result than in days gone by for offences that could have caused serious harm to opponents.

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