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Leinster Switch Players for Dragons Clash

Leinster have rotated several players for their PRO14 fixture against the Dragons tomorrow night with some welcome returns to the squad



(Photo By Seb Daly/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Leinster head coach Leo Cullen has named a much changed team for his side’s PRO14 game against the Dragons in the RDS tomorrow night.

Following last week’s 3-0 victory over Zebre in Italy Cullen has decided to switch things up to try and continue the blues winning start to the season. 

There are first starts for lock Ryan Baird and young fly-half Harry Byrne who has impressed so far this season. While Conor O’Brien makes his first start of the season in the centre in place of Joe Tomane. 

In the front-row Peter Dooley and Michael Bent continue to start but will have Ronan Kelleher alongside them this week, with Devin Toner captaining the side for only the second time in his 235 appearances in the second-row and has Baird beside him. 

Max Deegan is at blindside-flanker, with Scott Penny yet again at openside, as Caelan Doris comes in to finish the pack at No 8. 

Jamison Gibson-Park continues as the first-choice scrum-half, having Bryne as his half-back partner this week, with the duo having O’Brien and Rory O’Loughlin outside them in the midfield. 

James Lowe takes up his place on the left-wing, with Dave Kearney on the right and Jimmy O’Brien completes the starting line-up from full-back. 

There is a mix of experience and youth on the bench with the likes of James Tracy and Ross Malony joining possible debutant Jack Aungier among the replacements. There is also a welcome return for fly-half Ciaran Frawley who takes a spot in the dugout. 

Speaking ahead of the game Cullen is hoping that his side can use their home advantage to put in another impressive performance in front of their own crowd. 

“We’ve had two really good outings so far at the RDS, the players tend to feed off the energy they get from the crowd, so we’ll be hoping for something similar on Friday against Dragons,” he said.

Leinster are looking to make it five wins from five at the start of their 2019/20 PRO14 season, in what has been another impressive opening to a season. They will face a Dragons side that have claimed two wins from their opening four games but they will want to make another statement with a big win as they continue their quest to win a third title on the bounce. 

Check Out the Full 23-Man Squad Below.

Starting XV:

15. Jimmy O’Brien (10)

14. Dave Kearney (138)

13. Rory O’Loughlin (65)

12. Conor O’Brien (18)

11. James Lowe (32)

10. Harry Byrne (3)

9. Jamison Gibson-Park (74)

1. Peter Dooley (65)

2. Rónan Kelleher (5)

3. Michael Bent (128)

4. Devin Toner (234) (C)

5. Ryan Baird (2)

6. Max Deegan (50)

7. Scott Penny (8)

8. Caelan Doris (20)


16. James Tracy (96)

17. Michael Milne (4)

18. Jack Aungier (0)

19. Ross Molony (86)

20. Will Connors (7)

21. Hugh O’Sullivan (16)

22. Ciarán Frawley (14)

23. Cian Kelleher (8)

Champions Cup

Ospreys Sign Super Rugby Star

Ospreys have had a difficult start to the season, missing a host of players due to the World Cup but they have now signed a man that they hope will help them turn the tide



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Ospreys have confirmed the signing of Super Rugby back-liner Marty McKenzie until the end of the 2019/20 season.

The 27-year-old, who can play at fly-half or full-back has played for Super Rugby franchises the Blues, the Crusaders and most recently the Chiefs, but failed to be handed a new deal for the 2020 season and has taken the opportunity to come overseas to play. 

Ospreys general manager Dan Griffiths is delighted to have signed a player of McKenzie’s quality and confirmed he will take the place of the injured Gareth Anscombe. 

“It was disappointing to lose Gareth, but our focus was to bring the right quality of player into the squad for the remainder of the season,” Ospreys general manager Dan Griffiths said in a statement. It’s been a challenging start with World Cup representation and a series of injuries having a significant impact, particularly to backline resources. With the addition of Marty we have recruited a player who has been a regular feature for the Chiefs in Super Rugby, playing with and against some of the world’s top players on a weekly basis. He will bring experience, creativity and a fresh perspective on and off the field. We are looking forward to seeing him in an Ospreys jersey,” he said. 

McKenzie is the older brother of All Blacks ace Damien, who has been suffering from a ruptured ACL since April, the same injury Anscombe picked up ahead of the World Cup. 

The Ospreys have also secured the signings of South African pair Marvin Orie and Shaun Venter and will be hoping that the addition of McKenzie will take them up the PRO14 table, where they currently sit in second-last in Conference A. 

However, they must turn their attention to the European stage once again this weekend as they prepare to take on Saracens in the Champions Cup.

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Champions Cup

Glasgow Confirm Rennie Replacement Already

Dave Rennie was revealed as the new head coach of the Wallabies last night, but current club Glasgow Warriors have taken little time to find his replacement



(Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Glasgow Warriors have announced that Danny Wilson will replace Dave Rennie as head coach come the end of the current season.

It was confirmed last night that Rennie will leave the Scottish giants at the end of the season to take up the role as Australian head coach, after Michael Cheika left the role following their Rugby World Cup exit. 

However, the PRO14 outfit have moved swiftly to fill the vacancy with current Scotland assistant coach Wilson set to take the reins once the season concludes. 

The 43-year-old forwards coach is delighted to be given the opportunity to work with the Warriors. 

“The opportunity to coach such an attractive club as Glasgow Warriors was too good to miss. I’ve been extremely impressed with the Scottish system in recent years and I’m looking forward to working with an exciting and talented squad of players at Warriors. I want to build on the high-tempo style of play that I know the fans love and pay to see week in, week out. The club has been challenging at the top end of the Guinness PRO14 on a regular basis and as a coach, it is that type of environment and culture you want to be involved in,” he said. 

Wilson comes into the role with a wealth of experience already to his name having coached the Cardiff Blues to a European Challenge Cup crown during a three-year stint, as well as roles with the Scarlets, the Dragons and with Wales’ U20 team, before his move to the Scottish national side. 

Speaking on the appointment Scottish Rugby chief executive Mark Dodson believes that Wilson’s prior experiences will help him in his new role. 

“We’re very pleased Danny has accepted this important role at Glasgow Warriors as it retains an excellent coach within the Scottish professional game. Danny has worked hard to develop Scotland’s set-piece into a real area of strength and his technical expertise, aligned with his working knowledge of many of the Warriors’ players, will be key to maintain the club’s progression in the coming years. He has a depth of experience from previous roles with PRO14 teams and we feel this, alongside his recent international coaching, makes him the right person for the club at this time. I’d like to thank Danny for his contribution to the Scotland team and wish him well as we continue our ambitious plans to make both Glasgow Warriors and Edinburgh as competitive and successful as possible in their respective competitions,” he said. 

Wilson will continue to work with the national side through their upcoming Six Nations campaign as they look to put a disappointing World Cup behind them, before he moves on to his new position with the Warriors. 

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Ulster secure another key man for 2 more years.

1 new contract and a bad injury update.



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Ulster Rugby is delighted to announce that fly-half Billy Burns has signed a two-year contract extension, keeping him at Kingspan Stadium until at least the summer of 2022.

Burns began his professional career as a 17-year-old at Gloucester, where he went on to make over 100 senior appearances for the Cherry and Whites before making the move to Ulster in the summer of 2018. Since then, he has cemented his place in the squad, amassing 28 appearances to date and contributing 54 points for the Province.

An exceptionally talented player, Burns quickly struck up a strong partnership with scrum-half John Cooney as Ulster’s first choice half-back pairing, and have already started together on 20 occasions. This season, Burns has started four of Ulster’s six games, including the home win over Cardiff when he captained the side for the first time.

Head Coach, Dan McFarland, said of the deal, “It is great news that Billy has committed to Ulster. He is still a young man who is desperate to keep learning and developing both as a player and athlete. He has already contributed hugely on the pitch throughout last year’s campaign and has demonstrated an excellent ability to lead a team. We’re all looking forward to Billy being a driving force in our group into the future.”

Burns commented on the extension,

“Since joining Ulster last summer, I’ve made it my home and have really enjoyed my time here. The support I’ve had has been incredible and we have a great group of players, so it was a no-brainer for me to extend my contract. Kingspan Stadium is a great place to play rugby and I’m really pleased that I’ve got at least another couple of years of that to look forward to.”

In injury news, it’s a bad update from the Ulster Medical department with several players set to spend time on the sidelines.

Sam Carter suffered a shoulder dislocation in last weekend’s Champions Cup Round 1 win over Bath. He will require surgery and is expected to be ruled out for approximately 3 months.

Jack McGrath is also due to undergo surgery for a thumb injury, and his availability to play will be monitored over the coming weeks.

Rob Lyttle sustained a shoulder injury, which will sideline him for an estimated 6-8 weeks.

Marcus Rea suffered a fractured jaw playing for Ballynahinch RFC. It is anticipated that he will return to play in approximately 6 weeks.

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