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Pro14

Leinster Smash Glasgow in Another Win

Leinster have made it 13 wins in a row in the PRO14 this season with another impressive victory

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(Photo By Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Leinster have continued their winning streak this season with a dominant 55-19 victory over the Glasgow Warriors in the PRO14 at the RDS tonight.

A hat-trick of tries from man of the match second-row Ryan Baird along with another hat-trick for Dave Kearney and brace from James Lowe plus a try for Scott Fardy saw the hosts ease to victory once again. 

Leinster made the perfect start going through the phases following a scrum just outside the Glasgow 22 and youngster Ryan Baird barged over the line from close-range. Harry Byrne slotted over the conversion to make it 7-0 with only four minutes on the clock. 

Things only got worse for the visitors less than 10 minutes later as they gave the ball away near their own 22, allowing Leinster to bring the ball forward and after a number of phases with a penalty advantage coming Byrne sent a long-pass out to Dave Kearney who touched down in the right corner. Bryne couldn’t provide the extras this time around leaving it at 12-0. 

However, the Warriors had the better of the possession over the next few minutes and Leinster were punished on 26 minutes, as the away side broke from the back of scrum before a quick pass off a ruck found Tommy Seymour, who ran a beautiful line to race over the line and touch down. Peter Horne converted to cut the lead down to 12-7. 

Leinster came roaring back though and were in for their third try just after the half hour mark as they struck down the blindside with lovely hands from Byrne to Fardy, who sent it to James Lowe who waltzed in for the five-pointer. Byrne found his range from the tee once again to make it 19-7. 

With the clock in red the hosts secured the bonus-point try as they went through a couple of phases off the back of a line-out five-metres out from the opposition line with captain Fardy eventually barrelling over. Byrne was off target with the kick meaning it was 24-7 in favour of the home side come the half-time whistle. 

Despite Leinster’s dominance in the closing stages it was the Warriors who had the better opening in the second period and Kyle Steyn finished a lovely move down the left wing with some great hands from his teammates in the build-up to put him darting home. Horne couldn’t convert this time around to make it 24-12 with only three minutes gone in the half. 

Although that score was cancelled out on 52 minutes as Lowe was trundling down the left wing and despite the defence’s best efforts the No 11 held them off to put the ball down for his second try of the game. Byrne again misplaced his kick to leave it at 29-12. 

Five minutes later and they were further ahead as Baird was sent through a gap in the midfield just inside the opposition half and the second-row out paced everyone to touch-down under the posts. Byrne provided the extras this time around to extend the advantage. 

With 15 minutes remaining Baird secured a well deserved hat-trick as he broke down the short-side from five-meters out to score the try. Replacement fly-half Ciaran Frawley couldn’t squeeze the kick between the posts from the right-hand touchline meaning it stayed 41-12 heading into the closing stages. 

The Warriors managed to score another try as the clock ticked into the final 10 minutes as they made the most of a break in open play with a couple of lovely offloads ending up with prop Alex Allen running under the posts. Ruairidh Jackson kicked the conversion. 

Leinster weren’t finished in the try department however as they charged forward once again with less than five minutes left and Fardy fed Kearney down the left-wing to jog in for his second five-pointer of the match. Frawley converted this time making it 48-19. 

In the final moments Glasgow tried to play the ball inside their own try-line only to send a loose pass into the path of Kearney who pounced to secure a hat-trick of his own. Frawley smashed over the extra two with the last kick of the game to leave the final score at 55-19.

Next up for Conference A’s runaway leaders Leinster is a trip to South Africa to take on the Cheetahs in three weeks time as they look to maintain their winning streak, while Glasgow will head to Wales to play the Ospreys on the same day. 

Player Ratings

Starting XV:

Hugo Keenan (7), Dave Kearney (9), Jimmy O’Brien (7), Joe Tomane (8), James Lowe (8), Harry Bryne (8), Luke McGrath (8); Peter Dooley (7), Sean Cronin (7), Michael Bent (7), Ryan Baird (9), Scott Fardy (9), Josh Murphy (7), Will Connors (7), Max Deegan (8)

Premiership

Ulster to play Saracens in Pre-Season doubleheader.

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Photo By John Dickson/Sportsfile via Getty Images

Ulster Rugby will get the 2021/22 season underway with home and away pre-season friendlies against Saracens in September. 

The Ulster men will face the five-time Premiership and three-times Champions Cup winners at Kingspan Stadium on Friday 3 September (kick-off 7pm).

The squad will then make the journey to central London for the away clash on Thursday 9 September (kick-off 5pm) at the Honorary Artillery Company. 

This will be the first time the two sides have faced each other since the pool stages of the 2015/2016 Heineken Champions Cup.

Both matches against Sarries, who return to the Gallagher Premiership this season, will act as preparation for Ulster ahead of the newly launched United Rugby Championship, and the challenges they will face in this year’s Heineken Champions Cup.

Admission to the home pre-season friendly on 3 September is included in 2021/22 Season Tickets, as well as access to all home regular season fixtures in the United Rugby Championship and Heineken Champions Cup.

Existing Season Ticket holders have until 5pm this Friday (30 July) to renew their packages, and can do so online at ulsterrugby.com/seasontickets.

New purchasers can ensure they are notified first about new Season Tickets as they become available by registering their interest here.

The availability of match tickets sold individually will be dependent upon available capacity, in-line with government regulations. Further details will be released in due course.

Source – Ulster Rugby

** EXCLUSIVE DAVID LLOYD OFFER FOR ULSTER RUGBY FANS **

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Pro14

Sharks sign former Wallaby & Munster 2nd Row.

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The Cell C Sharks are delighted to welcome three new players to the Shark tank as we continue to build our squad ahead of the United Rugby Championship (URC), commencing in September.

Due to the longevity of the URC Tournament, in is important to bolster squad depth and have the talent to be a success in this grueling northern hemisphere competition, while balancing player welfare.

To this end, the Cell C Sharks will be welcoming both local and international flavour to Durban and are proud to announce the signings of centre Ben Tapuai, utility back Eduan Keyter and lock Gerbrandt Grobler.

Tapuai is a former Reds Super Rugby star who spent six years in Brisbane where he accumulated 64 appearances, before adding a further 12 with the Western Force. During that time, he made seven test appearances for the Wallabies between 2011 and 2012.

He has spent the last five years playing in the UK and will bring huge amounts of intellectual capital given his experiences of northern hemisphere rugby for Bath and Harlequins where he is approaching a combined 100 appearances for the English teams.

So highly rated was he as a youngster that he he was selected for the 2007 Australian Schoolboys team ahead of James O’Connor. No stranger to success, he played in the 2011 Super Rugby final won by the Reds and more recently in Harlequins’ Premiership final victory last month.

25-year-old Eduan Keyter recently impressed against the Cell C Sharks in the opening round of their Carling Currie Cup clash and is currently the top try-scorer in the competition with six touchdowns.

He made his senior debut against the Cell C Sharks two years ago in Griquas’ 37-13 victory over the Cell C Sharks and in the most recent match, won by the Cell C Sharks (30-16) in Kimberley, Keyter scored one of his team’s two tries.

The third signing, Gerbrandt Grobler, currently hails from Stade Francais. He is a local talent who started his junior career with the Bulls but moved to Western Province as a senior, representing the province at Currie Cup level and the Stormers in Super Rugby between 2012 and 2014 before making the move north.

He has played high profile rugby in both the UK and France, moving from Cape Town in South Africa to Racing 92 for two years before moving to Ireland where he turned out for Munster, then to England where he enjoyed two seasons with Gloucester, playing under former Sharks lock and Lions coach Johan Ackermann before returning to the Top 14 with Stade Francais last year.

We welcome the three new signings to a Cell C Sharks side committed to playing an awesome exciting and winning brand of rugby, with the aim of becoming an internationally acclaimed team that tastes success and wins silverware on a regular basis.

Source Cell C Sharks

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Pro14

Edinburgh Rugby appoint new Head Coach

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(Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Edinburgh Rugby have appointed Scotland Assistant Coach Mike Blair as the club’s new Head Coach.

The former Edinburgh and Scotland captain made over 150 appearances for the club (2001-2012) and returns from a five-year term with the national team, where he was recruited by Head Coach Gregor Townsend to occupy a dual role with Glasgow Warriors in 2017.

He joined Glasgow as Assistant Coach in 2016 and operated in that capacity for club and country until 2019 – helping the club reach the PRO14 semi-final and Grand Final (2018 and 2019) and two Champions Cup quarter-finals (2017 and 2019) – before focussing fully on national team matters for the past two years.

Blair’s contribution was recognised recently with his appointment as Interim Scotland Head Coach, only for the matches to be abandoned as coronavirus affected the camp and that of their opponents.

The recent departure of Richard Cockerill then presented a timely opportunity for Blair to take on the reins of the club he represented over a decade, having been born and bred in the capital city and schooled at Edinburgh Academy.

Mike Blair, said: “The first emotion is one of pride. I’ve lived in Edinburgh most of my life, played 11 seasons at the club and still live in the city, so having that attachment combine with the opportunity to lead the squad is really special for me.

“I’ve learned a lot from working with quality coaches like Dave Rennie, Jason O’Halloran and Gregor Townsend, in particular and over the years, and have been able to develop and adapt a philosophy that I feel should benefit the talent we have at the club.

“It’s a really exciting squad. There’s a good balance of experience and backgrounds and I’m looking forward to getting to know the players and their strengths better so we can mould that into making Edinburgh both good to watch and successful.

“It’s also a really good time to come in with all the excitement around the launch of the new stadium this summer. It’s a massive, watershed moment for the club. We all want to get that packed out with supporters from the outset and build an atmosphere the players deserve and the fans can be proud of.”

Edinburgh Rugby Managing Director, Douglas Struth, added: “We’re delighted to welcome Mike back to the club as our Head Coach, having watched his development into a first-rate coach over the past six years.

“Not only does he bring that expertise, but Mike is also a local man, a club centurion, and somebody who became a home-grown legend in an Edinburgh Rugby jersey.

“That’s really important to us and is a fantastic illustration of our ambition to promote and develop local stars of the future.

“It’s a new era for the club, with a new stadium and new tournament formats, and we believe Mike is the right man to continue the development of our tactical approach and winning mentality on the field, and our culture and connection to the wider rugby community off it.”

Prior to coaching, Blair was a player of worldwide repute.

He earned 85 caps for his country and toured with the British & Irish Lions in 2009 – the same year Edinburgh Rugby finished as runners-up in the then Magners League – and played a major role in the club’s storied run to the Heineken Cup semi-final in 2012.

He also played professional club rugby in England for Newcastle Falcons and in France with Brive, all experiences which contribute significantly to his depth of knowledge and understanding of the sport.

Scottish Rugby Chief Executive, Mark Dodson, said: “We’re really pleased to see Mike take this next step on his coaching journey with Edinburgh Rugby, recognising the excellent contribution he’s made at both Glasgow and Scotland over the past six years.

“He’s an exceptional Scottish coach who is hungry to deliver success for a club he cares a great deal about.

“He’s done a fantastic job of developing players in all of his roles, many of whom have shone on the biggest stage for Scotland and, more recently, the British & Irish Lions.

“We’re looking forward to watching him and the club develop further, together, as the beginning of this new era for Edinburgh Rugby, targeting a regular return to the knockout rounds of domestic and European Cup competitions and competing for silverware in the seasons ahead.

“His existing knowledge of the player group and lasting affinity with the club’s fanbase make this an excellent and exciting appointment.”

Source – Scotland Rugby

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