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Leinster Name Squad for Zebre

Leinster have announced their 23 for their match against Zebre and it’s strong

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Photo By Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile via Getty Images

Leo Cullen has named his team to face Zebre at the Staddio Zaffanella on Saturday.

Even with the international players missing Leinster have been able to call on a host of senior players along with a few young guns.

In the front-row it is an experienced three of Jack McGrath, James Tracy, and Andrew Porter, while Ross Molony is joined at lock by captain Scott Fardy.

The back-row is full of youthful talent with Josh Murphy at six, Max Deegan at seven and Caelan Doris at No 8.

The back-line is an exciting prospect with a half-back partnership of Jamison Gibson-Park at scrum-half and Ross Byrne at fly-half.

Mullingar starlet Conor O’Brien starts at inside centre and is joined by live-wire Rory O’Loughlin.

Barry Daly and Adam Byrne occupy the wings while Dave Kearney slots in at full-back.

The bench sees Bryan Byrne, Peter Dooley and Michael Bent as the replacement front-three. While Mick Kearney, uncapped Jack Dunne, Hugh O’Sullivan, Leicester-bound Noel Reid, and Jimmy O’Brien complete the 23.

Zebre are currently bottom of Conference A and will be looking to end an 11-game losing streak against the boys in blue.

Speaking ahead of the game Leinster coach Stuart Lancaster has said that due to the 6 Nations players have a chance to come through and make their mark.

“Gives us a great opportunity to blood some young players,” he said.
 

However, even though people have been keeping more of a focus on the international stage recently and seeing this as an easier game, for the current champions Lancaster still views this as a crucial stage of the season.

“The attention is on the 6 Nations on the outside but obviously at Leinster out attention on the next game, we want to keep progressing, we want to keep getting points, keep developing our game,” he added.

Leinster are currently sitting top of Conference B, 21 points ahead of second placed Benetton and will be looking to continue their march towards the semi-finals in Italy.

6 Nations

Rodney Parade to help in fight against coronavirus

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Rodney Parade has become the latest sporting venue to open its doors to help stop the spread of coronavirus.

The Newport stadium has been provided free of charge as a base for front-line NHS staff to check if they have the virus and are able to continue working. At this stage only NHS staff are eligible to be tested at Rodney Parade to see if they have COVID-19. Dragons managing director Mark Jones said: “The health service and care workers are doing an incredible job in such difficult circumstances so we are happy to offer our help and support in any way we can.

“Playing our part in the local community is at the heart of what we’re about at the Dragons and in times of crisis people stick together. We would urge everyone to follow the latest NHS advice on protecting themselves from the virus, particularly to stay at home and avoid unnecessary travel.”

A statement from Aneurin Bevan Health Board read: “The health and wellbeing of our staff is essential for delivering services for the people of Gwent. It is fundamental during this time when the most vulnerable people need us most.

“We have set up a drive-through facility to test staff for the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and help us get our teams back in to work on the front line. The testing site is located at Rodney Parade in Newport and we ask that everyone practises the stay-at-home guidance and does not visit the site.

“Everyone at Aneurin Bevan University Health Board would like to thank the team at Rodney Parade for their community-focused approach and accommodating us during these difficult times.”

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Pro14

Ulster Star Commits Future to Province

Ulster have announced that one of their key men has signed a contract extension with the northern province

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Ulster have announced that Ireland prop Jack McGrath has committed his future to the club after signing a contract extension.

The 30-year-old has put pen to paper on a two-year deal that will see him remain with the province until 2022. 

Having joined Ulster from Leinster before this season McGrath is delighted to have his future sorted. 

“On arriving at Ulster, I was welcomed with open arms and I have very much settled here since joining at the start of this season. It’s a fantastic set-up in terms of the players, coaches and support staff that I get to work alongside every day – and I look forward to what the future holds for the province over the course of the next two years,” he said. 

The 56-cap Ireland international and a British and Irish Lion McGrath has a huge amount of experience behind him and head coach Dan McFarland thinks he has a big role to play in the future of the province. 

“Jack’s reliably strong performances and vast international experience make him a great asset to Ulster – so I’m delighted that he is chosen to continue his career here with us. By renewing the contracts of players such as Jack, we are continuing to strengthen our squad now, and also into the future, given the important leadership he provides for our young talent starting out in their careers. I’m confident that Jack will play an important role in Ulster’s successes in the years ahead,” he said. 

It is a huge boost for Ulster to have his services to rely upon over the coming seasons as they look to continue to build on their brilliant season to date.

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Pro14

Scarlets Sign Future Wales Ace

Scarlets have confirmed the arrival of one of Wales future stars ahead of next season

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(Photo by Athena Pictures/Getty Images)

PRO14 outfit the Scarlets have announced the signing of Wales U20 fly-half Sam Costelow from Leicester Tigers ahead of next season.

The 19-year-old is predicted to have a bright future ahead and starred for his U20’s side last weekend when he earned the man of the match against England’s youngsters and is delighted to have the opportunity to play in Wales next season. 

“I’m really excited to be playing in Wales with the Scarlets next season. Scarlets are a really good side who have been playing some great rugby which I think will suit me. I feel it is the right move for me in how I am going to develop into the player that I want to be and also to fulfil the targets and hopes I want to fulfil in my career. I’m extremely grateful for the opportunities that Leicester have provided me. I’ve learnt a huge amount there, especially from a player of the quality of George Ford. Hopefully, I can now keep developing at the Scarlets,” he said. 

Having played for the Ospreys U16’s he made the move to England to play for the Tigers and earned a couple of appearances in Europe for the East Midlands side this season. 

He has since been on loan at Championship side Ampthill for the rest of the season, where he has impressed once more and will be a huge boost for the Scarlets and their future.

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