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Leinster Name Exciting Side for Connacht Clash

Leinster have named their squad for this weekend’s game against Connacht and there is a real mix of youth and experience in what is an exciting team



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Leinster head coach Leo Cullen has announced a mix of youth and experience in his 23-man squad to take on Connacht at the RDS tomorrow at 17 30.

The boys in blue have made a number of changes to the team that defeated Munster 13-6 in Thomond Park last weekend, including changing the entire back-line, while a host of Irish internationals come back into the fold. 

In the front-row Peter Dooley and Tadhg Furlong line-up either side of hooker Sean Cronin, with Ross Molony and James Ryan slotting in behind them in the second-row. 

There is plenty of excitement in the back-row as captain Rhys Ruddock begins as the openside-flanker, with youngsters Will Connors and Max Deegan at openside-flanker and No 8 respectively. 

Luke McGrath is partnered by Ciaran Frawley in the half-back pairing, while outside them Joe Tomane makes a welcome return from injury to play alongside Garry Ringrose in midfield. 

Dave Kearney comes back in to take up a place on the left-wing, with club veteran Fergus McFadden on the right and Jordan Larmour completes the starting line-up from full-back. 

On the bench there is once again a mix of experience and youth as the likes of Ed Byrne and Jamison Gibson-Park are joined by upcoming stars such as Caelan Doris and Harry Byrne. 

Speaking ahead of the game second-row Molony is well aware that teams see the RDS as a hard place to win, but knows Connacht will want to get one over on their rivals and has told his teammates that they will need to match the opposition intensity throughout. 

“Teams want to come to the RDS and take a scalp off us. Connacht will be highly motivated to win at the RDS and we have to make sure we match that,” he said. 

Leinster head into the game looking to maintain their 100% record so far this season with a 10th win on the bounce in the PRO14 and a 14th in a row in all competitions. However, Connacht will hope to cause an upset following their 42-11 thrashing at home to Leinster earlier in the season and will seek revenge, but they will be well aware that it will be no easy task to get a result. 

Check Out the Full 23-Man Squad Below.

Starting XV:

15. Jordan Larmour (43)

14. Fergus McFadden (181)

13. Garry Ringrose (69)

12. Joe Tomane (18)

11. Dave Kearney (143)

10. Ciarán Frawley (19)

9. Luke McGrath (118)

1. Peter Dooley (70)

2. Seán Cronin (175)

3. Tadhg Furlong (105)

4. Ross Molony (90)

5. James Ryan (35)

6. Rhys Ruddock (166) (c)

7. Will Connors (12)

8. Max Deegan (57)


16. Bryan Byrne (46)

17. Ed Byrne (51)

18. Roman Salanoa (1)

19. Ryan Baird (3)

20. Caelan Doris (26)

21. Jamison Gibson-Park (82)

22. Harry Byrne (5)

23. Cian Kelleher (11)


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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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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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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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



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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