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Pro14

Leinster Survive Scarlets Challenge to Hold on for Win

Both teams put in a good showing without a host of regulars with Leinster coming out on top

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Photo By Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile via Getty Images

Leinster withstood large periods of pressure to secure a 22-17 win over the Scarlets, in the RDS on Friday night.

The win moves Leinster 21 points clear at the top of conference B at least overnight while the Scarlets remain in fourth.

On a night when both teams were missing the vast majority of their star men, it was the Scarlets that put the pressure on early.

They built up phases only to be let down by loose passes forward and knock-ons which caused the game to stop and start.

An injury to Scarlet’s David Bulbring brought the game to a halt in the first half.

Leinster registered the opening score of the game in the 31st minute through a Ciaran Frawley penalty.

They went into the break 10-0 up thanks to a bit of fortune. Mick Kearney had a loose pass picked up by Conor O’Brien, who released to centre partner Rory O’Loughlin, who in turn dodged tackles from Johnny McNicholl and Phil Price to go over for the game’s opening try.

Ciaran Frawley added the extras before they left the field,

The Scarlets once more started the half well and were rewarded in the 52nd minute. Dan Davis broke away from Rob Kearney on halfway, before passing to Kieran Hardy to touch down.

Dan Jones slotted home the conversion, before bringing the sides level on the hour mark with a penalty.

With 11 minutes remaining the home side scored again through James Lowe, with replacement and fellow Kiwi, Jamison Gibson-Park setting him up. However, Frawley missed the chance of putting seven between the two missing the kick.

Four minutes on substitute Vakh Abdaladze broke into the Scarlets 22, with fellow sub Noel Reid kicking, ahead for Barry Daly to cross the whitewash. Frawley kicked over the conversion this time to mwhitewash10.

Scarlets ensured a nervy finish scoring a minute later with Kieran Hardy completing his brace thanks to fine work from McNicholl. Dan Jones converted to put five between the teams with five minutes left.

However, Leinster kept the Scarlets out to hold on for the win and maintain their 100% home record this season.

After the game Scarlets head coach Wayne Pivac reflected on his sides missed opportunities in the opening half.

“We created some opportunities in the first half and didn’t convert. We had three clean line-breaks and need to convert at least one of those. So, to be 10 points down at half time was pretty disappointing,” he said.

The loss will be tough on the Scarlets who will feel it was one that got away, but they must pick themselves up as they head to current second placed Treviso next.

Leinster head to Zebre as they look to continue their quest for back to back titles.

Pro14

Guinness PRO14 make exciting statement regarding SA Rugby

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Getty Images - Sportsfile - Brendan Macken

The Guinness PRO14 this morning made the below statement regarding SA Rugby and the PRO14 which contains exciting news for the competition and South African Rugby.

Statement begins.

“On August 25, PRO14 Rugby acknowledged that under current international travel restrictions it is not possible for South African teams to fulfil Guinness PRO14 fixtures until 2021.

PRO14 Rugby welcomes the news that the South African Rugby Union (SA Rugby) has been able to arrange a domestic schedule for its professional teams and that this is the first step in the return of their teams to on-field action.

SA Rugby’s long-standing commitments are to field two teams in the Guinness PRO14 and in light of the withdrawal of the Southern Kings, discussions are on-going about fulfilling this agreement from 2021 using a replacement team from its current professional franchises.

Additionally, both PRO14 Rugby and SA Rugby are in early discussions about potentially expanding the tournament and deepening our partnership to include more South African franchises from 2021.”

Statement ends.

The board of SA Super Rugby (Pty) Ltd – which trades as the Southern Kings placed the insolvent company into voluntary liquidation to secure the longer-term financial future of rugby in Eastern Province.

The shareholders – the Eastern Province Rugby Union (EPRU) and SA Rugby – took the decision in the face of an accumulated deficit of R55m, and with zero income in prospect for the remainder of 2020.

The loss of the Southern Kings will not be seen as a huge loss to the competition with them rarely upsetting the Betway odds.

Active discussions are ongoing with other South African teams to fill the void left by the Kings and also the potential of adding further franchises to expand the league.

PRO14 confirmed in August that the South African based sides will not play in the PRO14 for the rest of this calendar year, missing the start of the 2020-21 season, but PRO14 are still hopeful they will be able to compete in the 2020/21 season.

The remaining 12 teams from Wales, Ireland, Scotland and Italy will begin the new campaign in early October with the first round of 11 fixtures not involving the South African sides. It’s no surprise who the bookies favourites are for next season, and surely this will drive many fans to place bets on Rugby at Betway hoping for their side to come out on top.

As a result of COVID-19 and the impact it is has had and will have on rugby’s global competition structures, the PRO14 is the most likely home for more South African teams.

Over the last few months New Zealand Rugby has plans for their future club pathway did not include the Bulls, Lions, Stormers or Sharks.

An interesting few months certainly ly ahead.

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Pro14

Ringrose to captain Leinster v Ulster

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Photo By Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile via Getty Images

The Leinster Rugby team, as sponsored by Bank of Ireland, to face Ulster Rugby in the Final of the Guinness PRO14 tomorrow in the Aviva Stadium has been named by Leinster Head Coach Leo Cullen (KO 7.35pm – live on eir Sport, TG4 & RTÉ Radio).

Cullen has made a number of changes from the team that accounted for Munster Rugby in the semi-final with Garry Ringrose named as captain of the senior side for the first time.

The back three is the same that started against Munster last week with Jordan Larmour selected at full back having come through the graduated return to play protocols successfully this week and Hugo Keenan on the right wing and James Lowe on the left.

Robbie Henshaw is again selected at inside centre with captain Ringrose outside him in the number 13 jersey.

Ringrose made his Leinster debut in September 2015 on the wing against Cardiff Blues and tomorrow’s Guinness PRO14 Final will be his 75th appearance in a Leinster jersey. In that time he has scored 25 tries and has 29 Ireland caps to his name.

The half back partnership sees Jamison Gibson-Park and Ross Byrne start at nine and 10.

In the pack there is no change in the front row with Cian Healy, Rónan Kelleher and Andrew Porter again selected. In winning his 219th cap, Cian Healy joins Leo Cullen and Rob Kearney as the joint 4th most capped player in Leinster history.

James Ryan has recovered from injury to take his place in the second row alongside Devin Toner.

Finally in the back row, Guinness Player of the Match from last week Caelan Doris is again selected at blindside flanker with Josh van der Flier at openside and finally Jack Conan is selected in the number eight jersey.

Leinster Rugby (caps in brackets):

15. Jordan Larmour (48)
14. Hugo Keenan (16)
13. Garry Ringrose (74) CAPTAIN
12. Robbie Henshaw (46)
11. James Lowe (45)
10. Ross Byrne (87)
9. Jamison Gibson-Park (91)
1. Cian Healy (218)
2. Rónan Kelleher (13)
3.Andrew Porter (64)
4. Devin Toner (247)
5. James Ryan (37)
6. Caelan Doris (31)
7. Josh van der Flier (82)
8. Jack Conan (91)

16. James Tracy (109)
17. Ed Byrne (55)
18. Michael Bent (138)
19. Scott Fardy (60)
20. Will Connors (18)
21. Luke McGrath (125)
22. Johnny Sexton (165)
23. Rory O’Loughlin (69)

Referee: Andrew Brace (IRFU)

Press Release from Leinster Rugby

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Pro14

Ulster make big changes for Leinster Final

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Ulster Head Coach, Dan McFarland, has confirmed the match-day squad for Saturday’s Guinness PRO14 Final versus Leinster (Aviva Stadium, 7.35pm).

The Ulster men will be boosted by the return of club captain, Iain Henderson, who will be making his first appearance since the season resumption, and is one of four changes to the side that defeated Edinburgh in last week’s thrilling Semi-Final at BT Murrayfield.

Alan O’Connor will partner Henderson in the second row, while the front row of Eric O’Sullivan, Rob Herring and Tom O’Toole is retained. The back row sees one change, with Sean Reidy coming into the starting line-up at openside flanker. Matthew Rea takes the blindside flanker position and Marcell Coetzee packs down at number eight.

The back three sees two positional switches, with Jacob Stockdale moving to the left wing, while Rob Lyttle swaps over to the right. Joining them at full-back is Michael Lowry, returning to the starting XV. Stuart McCloskey – who, along with John Cooney, was named in the Guinness PRO14 Dream Team earlier this week – continues his midfield partnership with James Hume. All Black scrum-half, Alby Mathewson, will make his first start for Ulster alongside Billy Burns at fly-half.

McFarland has opted for a 6-2 split on the bench where John Andrew, Jack McGrath, Marty Moore, Sam Carter, Jordi Murphy and Nick Timoney will offer the forward backup, and the backline cover is provided by John Cooney and Ian Madigan.

Ulster team to play Leinster Rugby, Guinness PRO14 Final, Aviva Stadium, Saturday 12 September (7.35pm, live on Premier Sports / eir Sport):

(15-9) Michael Lowry, Rob Lyttle, James Hume, Stuart McCloskey, Jacob Stockdale, Billy Burns, Alby Mathewson.

(1-8) Eric O’Sullivan, Rob Herring, Tom O’Toole, Alan O’Connor, Iain Henderson (Capt.), Matthew Rea, Sean Reidy, Marcell Coetzee.

Replacements (16-23): John Andrew, Jack McGrath, Marty Moore, Sam Carter, Jordi Murphy, John Cooney, Ian Madigan, Nick Timoney.

Press Release from Ulster Rugby

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