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Pro14

Leinster Ring the Changes for Kings Visit

Leinster have made a host of changes to their side for the weekend

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Photo By Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile via Getty Images

Leinster have named a much-changed team as they prepare to host the Southern Kings in the RDS on Friday at 19 55.

Only eight of the players that started last weekend’s 40-24 win over Zebre have remained in the XV with Ronan Kelleher set to make his debut at hooker.

Kelleher will be joined by Ed Byrne and Andrew Porter in the front-row with the latter hoping to impress on his time away from the Irish squad.

Ross Molony captains the side from the second-row and is partnered by Mick Kearney.

The back-row is unchanged from last weekend with Josh Murphy, Max Deegan and Caelan Doris all getting the nod after strong performances.

Hugh O’Sullivan comes in at scrum-half to replace Jamison Gibson-Park, who is out of the squad completely. O’Sullivan is paired with Ross Byrne in the half-backs.

Noel Reid starts at inside centre with Conor O’Brien moving to outside centre as Rory O’Loughlin drops to the bench having started last time out.

In the back three there is a much-welcomed return to action for Fergus McFadden, who has been side-lined since October with an injury. While James Lowe’s return to the left-wing means Barry Daly shifts to full-back.

Even with a number of player’s on international duty the Blues bench still brims of experience with the likes of James Tracy, Peter Dooley, Michael Bent, Scott Fardy and Rory O’Loughlin to call upon if needed.

Caelan Doris who will make his 11th appearance on Friday has told the media how he is looking forward to another run out in front of the home fans but is expecting a hard game.

“Another tough physical game, it will be nice to be back in the RDS on Friday, but the Kings, we saw how dangerous they can be when we were over there. Big tough pack, and a very speedy back-three in particular,” he said.

Speaking ahead of the game Kings head coach Deon Davids, who saw his side lose 43-0 to Munster last weekend, has called on his players to respond.

“The players know clearly where they stand and in what areas of their game, we seek improvements. It was encouraging to see a good start against Munster – we were quite physical and created a lot of momentum, however we were also our own enemy by giving the momentum away at crucial times,” he said.

Many will be expecting Leinster to gain another bonus-point here and continue their dominance at the top of Conference A. However, the Kings who need every point they can get will be hoping to cause an upset and win their first ever Pro14 away match in the process.

Whoever comes out on top will be one step closer to their goal at either end of the table.

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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(Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)

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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Pro14

Information for Final Round of PRO14 Confirmed

The fixtures, times and dates of the final round of this year’s PRO14 regular season have been announced

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(photo by Peter Fitzpatrick/Action Plus via Getty Images)

The Guinness PRO14 final round fixtures have been announced with all the information you need to know about them.

Round 21 of the regular season is set to kick-off on Friday May 29th with the Kings hosting rivals the Cheetahs

The last round is full of derby games and continues on May 30th with Welsh rivals Ospreys taking on the Scarlets at 13 00. 

At 15 00 two games will commence with current favourites Leinster heading to Belfast to play Ulster in what is a mouthwatering tie and the Dragons will welcome the Cardiff Blues

The last of the games will start at 17 15 as Munster take on Connacht, Benetton host Zebre and Edinburgh play Scottish rivals Glasgow Warriors in what is set to be a final day to remember. 

As of now the final day could see teams still with plenty to play for to decide play-off places and Conference standings. 

However, it remains to be seen whether the current coronavirus outbreak will have any effect on the final round with Italy already suspending all events as the country goes into lockdown in an attempt to prevent the spreading of the virus. 

Check Out the Full List of Round 21 Fixtures Below. 

Friday, May 29 –

Isuzu Southern Kings v Toyota Cheetahs, Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth, 7.10pm local time (live SuperSport)

Saturday, May 30 –

Ospreys v Scarlets, Liberty Stadium, 1pm (live Premier Sports)

Ulster v Leinster, Kingspan Stadium, 3pm (live Premier Sports)

Dragons v Cardiff Blues, Rodney Parade, 3pm (live Premier Sports)

Benetton Rugby v Zebre, Stadio di Monigo, 6.15pm local time (live DAZN)

Munster v Connacht, Thomond Park, 5.15pm (live eir Sport)

Edinburgh v Glasgow Warriors, BT Murrayfield, 5.15pm (live Premier Sports)

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