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Pro14

Marcell Coetzee signs 3 year extension with Ulster

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Ulster Rugby today announced that Springbok backrower Marcell Coetzee has signed a 3 year extension with the club keeping him at the club until at least 2022.

This news will be a massive boost to the Irish reward province who have reaped the benefits of having the huge powerful ball backrow back fit again.

Commenting on the deal Coetzee said;

“First of all, I want to thank the players, staff and supporters of Ulster Rugby for standing by my side over the past three seasons. It was a really tough mental and physical battle for me with the injuries, but I’m grateful for the support I had during that time and I’m determined to repay the faith shown in me.

“I can’t wait to see what the next three years holds for me and my wife personally, and for the club. We have a young, hungry squad that is clearly moving in the right direction under our coaching team. We have a lot of hard work to do, but I know that the entire organisation is focused on delivering success.”

The 28-capped Springbok has been massive for Ulster in this season’s European and domestic campaigns to date.

Coetzee has had a very frustrating start to his Ulster career. He joined Ulster in 2016-17, and while he made a huge impression at the start of his first year, he was sidelined after just four games suffering an ACL injury.

He returned the following season 2017/18, but made only one appearance before suffering another similar knee injury.

It was thought at one stage the 27-year-old may have to consider retirement, but he had made a successful return to play this season playing in 17 out of 20 games and racking up some impressive stats in the process.

His ball carrying ability has been at the fore averaging 12.5 carries a game and he has been Ulster’s most successful man at the breakdown with 25 turnovers. His defensive efforts have also been impressive with 212 tackles made across his 17 appearances.

There was speculation Coetzee may leave the Province at the end of this season when his contract expired with suitors in France and also his native South Africa apparently keen for his signature, but he has remained loyal to a club who stuck by him in his tough times as he recovered from 2 massive injury setbacks.

In a recent interview, Coetzee said he was cherishing every moment when he was playing now.

“That is one thing I have learned from being injured – it is important to enjoy every moment when I play,” he said.

Pro14

Leinster Demolish Kings at RDS

Leinster continue their dominance at the top of Conference B

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photo by Peter Fitzpatrick/Action Plus via Getty Images

Leinster scored nine tries in a 59-19 win over the Kings at the RDS on Friday to stretch their lead at the top of Conference B.

The win moves Leinster 27 points clear at the top of Conference B for the time being.

The hosts started well and took the lead in the 5th minute through Noel Reid, who touched down close to the posts after a well-timed run. Ross Bryne kicked the extras to make it 7-0.

Within 15 minutes the game was turned upside down as Bjorn Basson scored in left corner, before No 9 Sarel Pretorius completed the turn around to make it 12-7 after 20 minutes.

Within seven minutes Leinster were back out in front by seven points thanks to two tries from man of the match Ed Byrne.

Both of the tries came from strong carries and Byrne converted the first but sent the second wide.

After a slick move between the backs, Reid was in for the bonus-point try with only 36 minutes on the clock. Byrne missed his second of the night to leave it at 24-12 to Leinster at half-time.

Two minutes into the second-half and the Kings had reduced the defecate with Badar Pretorius breaking a couple of tackles before handing over to
Ulrich Beyers to get over for their third try. It was converted to make it 24-19 heading into the 35 minutes.

With 46 minutes gone Leinster were over again, this time Byrne scored all seven points to stretch their lead out 12 points.

Eight minutes on and Andrew Porter was in for try six following sustained pressure from the Blues and Byrne added the two extras.

Max Deegan broke through the defence with 16 minutes left on the clock for his sixth try of the season.

Conor O’Brien and sub Rory O’Loughlin combined to send over RDS debutant scrum-half Paddy Patterson with five minutes left. With O’Loughlin touching down for a try of his own after 77 minutes to finish the try scoring for the hosts.

Byrne kicked conversion number seven and it remained 59-19 until the end.

The win now means that Leinster have won 14 of their 16 matches this season and are cruising to first in the conference while the Kings stay bottom with another big loss.

Leinster will take on the Cheetahs next weekend in what will be a tougher challenge for the reigning champions. The Kings are heading to Wales next to play the Cardiff Blues as they continue their search for a first away win in the competition.

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Pro14

Munster Beat Ospreys to Stay Top: Match Report

Munster remain top of Conference A after a win over the Ospreys

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Photo By Brendan Moran/Sportsfile via Getty Images

Munster maintained their good form with a 19-13 win over the Ospreys at the Liberty Stadium on Friday.

Before the game there was one change to the line-up with Tadhg Beirne being named in the starting XV after Jean Kleyn missed out through illness.

The away side started the brighter and were rewarded for their efforts five minutes in when JJ Hanrahan sent a beautiful floated pass over to Darren Sweetnam on the left wing, who rushed past a couple of defenders to touch down.

Hanrahan added the extras and it was 7-0 in the blink of an eye.

18 minutes in and the Ospreys were level as Hanno Dirksen getting over following a Keelan Giles break and chip allowed him through the Munster defence.

Luke Price was on hand to slot over the conversion and the teams were level.

The hosts took the lead in the 32nd minute thanks to a Price penalty.

However, their lead didn’t last too long as Munster put on the pressure, with man of the match Beirne eventually breaking through and looking to touch down off the bottom off the post only for the ball to be knocked away by Sam Cross.

After a review from the TMO, a penalty try and yellow card were awarded and it was 14-10 to Munster at half-time.

The second-half was a tough affair and it took another Price penalty to open the scoring in the 62nd minute. At that stage the Ospreys were within a point of Munster, but the reds marched on.

With the pack making some hard yards, Bill Johnston sent the ball out wide left to Mike Haley, who recorded their third try of the night.

The conversion was missed, but Munster held out for a hard-fought 19-13 win.

The win means Munster remain top of Conference A, a point ahead of Glasgow Warriors, who defeated Connacht tonight. While the Ospreys stay fourth for now having played a game more than both the Cardiff Blues and the Cheetahs.

Next up for the Ospreys is a visit to Connacht next weekend, while Munster travel to the Scarlets seeking to keep pushing for that top spot come the end of the season.

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Pro14

Ulster named side to take on Zebre

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Photo by Athena Pictures/Getty Images

The Ulster team has been selected for Saturday’s crucial Guinness PRO14 clash against Zebre at Kingspan Stadium (7.35pm) via Ulster Rugby

Darren Cave will earn his 222nd cap to move him to second in Ulster’s all-time appearance list, overtaking Roger Wilson’s tally of 221. The 31-year-old will now have his sights on Andrew Trimble’s club record of 229.

Cave is again joined in midfield by Stuart McCloskey, who marked a milestone last week against Ospreys with a Man of the Match performance in his 100th provincial game.

There is a new half-back partnership with Dave Shanahan and Peter Nelson named at scrumhalf and flyhalf respectively. Robert Baloucoune has returned from injury and will line out on the right wing, with Rob Lyttle picked on the opposite flank and Louis Ludik moving to fullback.

The front row of Eric O’Sullivan, Rob Herring and Marty Moore is unchanged from last week’s win in Bridgend, while Kieran Treadwell comes into the second row alongside captain Alan O’Connor. Sean Reidy will start in the 7 jersey and is joined in the back row by Clive Ross and Nick Timoney.

The replacements bench is made up of John Andrew, Andy Warwick, Ross Kane, Ian Nagle, Greg Jones, Jonny Stewart, Johnny McPhillips and James Hume.

Ulster team to play Zebre, Guinness PRO14, Saturday 23rd February, Kingspan Stadium (7.35pm):
(15-9): L Ludik; R Baloucoune, D Cave, S McCloskey, R Lyttle; P Nelson, D Shanahan;
(1-8): E O’Sullivan, R Herring, M Moore, A O’Connor (captain), K Treadwell, C Ross, S Reidy, N Timoney;
Replacements (16-23): J Andrew, A Warwick, R Kane, I Nagle, G Jones, J Stewart, J McPhillips, J Hume.

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