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Pro14

PREVIEW: Some Big Hitters Return for Leinster’s Clash with Glasgow

Leinster have welcomed back a few star men ahead of hosting the Glasgow Warriors

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Photo By Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile via Getty Images

Leinster have been able to call up a few international stars for their match with Glasgow Warriors at the RDS on Saturday at 15 00.

The most noticeable names on the team sheet are Robbie Henshaw and Devin Toner who both make their first appearances since Ireland’s loss to England in the Six Nations.

It provides the duo with an opportunity to prove their fitness ahead of next week’s Champions Cup semi-final against Toulouse.

Also returning to the set-up are the likes of Rob Kearney, Jordan Larmour, Ross Byrne and Sean O’Brien, who captains the side in what could be his last ever game in the RDS.

Ed Byrne, James Tracy, and Michael Bent start in the front-row, with many believing Ed Byrne could be not only the future of Leinster but Ireland rugby as Jack McGrath is set to head to Ulster in June and Cian Healy’s career ticks over.

Toner is joined by Jack Dunne in the engine room, with Dunne making his first start in blue. Behind them are Josh Murphy, O’Brien and Caelan Doris to complete the pack.

Jamison Gibson-Park is at nine and is partnered by Ross Byrne who has recovered from the cramp that forced him off against Ulster two weeks ago.

Outside them Henshaw opens at inside-centre with Joe Tomane on the outside at 13. Dave Kearney is on the left-wing, with Jordan Larmour on the right and Rob Kearney at full-back.

There is a mixture of youth and experience on the bench as Sean Cronin, Cian Healy and Tadhg Furlong are joined by Will Conors, who could play his first action of the season, Max Deegan, Hugh O’Sullivan, Ciaran Frawley and Adam Byrne.

Ahead of the game former Leinster No 10 and current backs coach Felipe Contepomi has spoken of his sides desire to win coming into the final stages of the season with places still up for grabs.

“Everyone’s hungry, it’s finals rugby now and everyone wants to be on the big dates. For you to be on the big dates you have to be performing well and the truth is that there’s a lot of competition here, so everyone is given their chance and there are a lot of hands up for places,” he said.

The home side will face a strong Glasgow team that are looking to secure top spot in Conference A.

Jamie Bhatti, Fraser Brown and Zander Fagerson take the first three places in the pack, with Scott Cummings and Jonny Gray slotting in behind them.

Rob Harley, Chris Fusaro and Matt Fagerson are at six, seven and eight respectively in what is a powerful pack.

The backs are equally as strong with Ali Price beginning the game at scrum-half alongside Adam Hastings who is at out-half. Sam Johnson and Kyle Steyn pair up outside them in the centre.

Nikola Matawalu and Tommy Seymour are on the wings, with Stuart Hogg at 15.

There is plenty to call on from the bench if needed too with players like Grant Stewart, D’Arcy Rae, Peter Horne and Huw Jones raring to go.

The game sees to the two conference leaders go head-to-head in the second-last regular season game of the competition for them. Leinster have been long guaranteed top spot in Conference B but will be looking to improve their domestic form before heading into next weekend’s Champions Cup semi-final. However, Glasgow will know that a win at Leinster coupled with a loss for Munster against Benetton would secure top spot in Conference A. So, everything is still to play for when these two titans come together on Saturday.

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Pro14

Ulster Rugby star suffers pre-season ACL tear

9 months out.

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(Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)

Not the news that any Ulster fans want.

Another new signing struck down by injury before the season has even started.

Gareth Milasinovich who joined the province from Worcester Warriors was struck down in the last couple of weeks with an ACL tear that will see him on the sidelines for approximately 9 months.

Ulster Rugby fans have become accustomed to similar situations over the last number of seasons with many new exciting signings being struck down very early into their Ulster careers with ‘big’ injuries’.

Jared Payne ruptured an achilles tendon very early in his Ulster career and other big-name casualties include Marcel Coetzee and Jean Dysell who also suffered ACL injuries in their opening seasons with Ulster Rugby.

We wish Gareth a speedy recovery and look forward to seeing him and the other new recruits at Ulster on the field really soon.

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Pro14

Cheetahs Make Four More Signings

After announcing the arrival of Ruan Pienaar last week the Cheetahs have added a further four players to their squad for next season

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(Photo by Steve Haag/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

The Free State Cheetahs have confirmed the signings of four more players ahead of the 2019/20 PRO14 season. 

Only last week they announced the signing of veteran scrum-half Ruan Pienaar but he will be joined at the club by Rhyno Smith, Chris Massyn, Chris Smit and Wilmar Arnoldi.

Smith currently plays for the Sharks and is a utility back who was on loan with the Cheetahs last season but has now made his switch permanent with a three-year contract.

Massyn on the other hand is a loose forward most frequently used as a flanker. The 25-year-old led the University of Stellenbosch Maties to the 2019 Varsity Cup and has signed a two-year deal.

Smit also claimed victory in the 2019 Varsity Cup and was named player of the tournament before signing for Griquas. He plays as a centre usually but can also play at fly-half if needed and joins on a two-year contract.

Hooker Arnoldi is also coming in from Griquas on another two-year contract.

All four will join up with the squad after finishing the Currie Cup campaign with their respective provinces, but things are certainly looking on the up heading into the new season for the Cheetahs.

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Premiership

Worcester Coach on the Move

Worcester Warriors head coach Rory Duncan could be set to leave the club very soon according to reports

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(Photo by Ashley Crowden - CameraSport via Getty Images)

Worcester Warriors head coach Rory Duncan has been given permission to speak to other clubs according to reports in the Worcester News. 

The news outlet claim that they have been informed by the club that they do not see Duncan as a part of their future plans.

“The club has put in place a strategic plan for the future of Warriors. We do not envisage Rory Duncan being part of those plans and, therefore, we have given Rory permission to seek opportunities elsewhere,” a club spokesperson said

Duncan has impressed with stints at the Cheetahs and the Warriors, and a return to the Cheetahs looked to be on the cards until the club announced Hawies Fourie as their new coach.

However, the Southern Kings are currently looking for a new head coach and Duncan is among a four-man list of coaches being considered for the position, with Steve Jackson, Corniel van Zyl and Pieter de Villiers being the others.

Duncan has experience with the Kings having played two Currie Cup seasons with them before his retirement from playing.

Both the Warriors and the Kings open up their respective campaigns for the 2019/20 season in September and one would imagine they will want a quick resolution if he is to depart for South Africa once again.

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