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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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Scarlets ready for big breakdown battle in ‘Derby Day Part III’

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(Photo by Athena Pictures/Getty Images)

It’s Derby Day: Part III  this evening as the Scarlets take on Cardiff Blues at the Arms Park (7.35).

Ahead of the sold-out Guinness PRO14 clash Scarlets caught up with forwards coach Ioan Cunningham for his thoughts on what promises to be a mouthwatering contest between two sides stacked with talent.

Ioan, first of all you must have been delighted with the forward display against the Ospreys?

IC: “I was, we are all we are working really hard in getting those combinations working together, but the guys who don’t take the field are also putting a huge amount of work in and they deserve as much credit as the boys who put in the performances on the field.”

Sam Lousi and Tex Ratuva have both made a big impact since arriving

IC: “Both Sam and Tex have been excellent, they have bought in really well, they are enjoying the environment and also bringing their ideas from that they have learned. It is great to have them here and see them express themselves.”

What about the challenge of the Blues on Friday?

IC: “We know how tough it is going to be from what happened last year. They are a good side, well coached, but we are excited by the challenge and the prospect of playing in front of a packed crowd in the capital. The Conference standings also add a bit of extra spice on it. You can see how tight it is by the points on the league table.”

The contact area is always key when you take on the Blues, are you expecting the same again? 

IC: “It has been a massive focus for us, it is going to be a big  battle of the breakdown when you come up against the likes of Josh Navidi, Will Boyde, Josh Navidi and Olly Robinson. They are excellent at that type of game, we are going to have to be really hot on the contact area, how we ball carry and how we clear those rucks.

“But both sides have some awesome talent across the field. It should be a great game.”

It is also the start of three huge weeks ahead at the beginning of the New Year?

IC: “It is a massive period. After this game, we then have Toulon at Parc y Scarlets, a battle at the top of the pool, followed by another big European game against London Irish.

“But as a group we will take each week as it comes. There is confidence and enjoyment in the ranks, the boys are enjoying coming into work every week and are enjoying being challenged.

“Brad is massive on ‘how do we get better?’  That is what we are striving for, to get better every week.”

Source Scarlets Rugby

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International

Furlong signs contract extension with IRFU

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(Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)

Ireland and Leinster Rugby tighthead prop Tadhg Furlong has extended his IRFU contract up to the end of the 2021/22 season.

During his time with Leinster Rugby, Tadhg has made 113 appearances for Leinster, and has contributed to a Heineken Champions Cup in 2018 along with five Guinness PRO12/14 titles since his debut in November 2013.

Furlong made his Ireland debut against Wales in a warm-up fixture ahead of the 2015 Rugby World Cup. He has won 49 caps to date for Ireland and started all three Tests of the 2017 British and Irish Lions tour of New Zealand and was last week named in the touring party for this summer’s series against South Africa.

Furlong commented, “Happy to sign on for one more year. There has been some tough days of late but I believe the squads we have in both Leinster and Ireland are able to compete for trophies in the future. I look forward to hopefully playing at a packed out RDS or Aviva Stadium in the months ahead.”

David Nucifora, IRFU Performance Director, commented, “Tadhg was a long time out of the game but showed upon his return in January what a positive influence he can be for both Ireland and Leinster. He has grown as a senior voice in the Ireland squad and his recent performances reminded everyone why he is rated as one of the best tighthead’s in world rugby.”

Images & Content from Leinster Rugby

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Ireland Sevens Squads Named For International Rugby 7s

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Photo By Brendan Moran/Sportsfile via Getty Images

IRFU Director of Sevens and Women’s Rugby, Anthony Eddy, has today named the Ireland Men’s and Women’s Sevens squads for this weekend’s International Rugby 7s tournament at St George’s Park.

Ulster’s Claire Boles, Brittany Hogan and Maeve Liston have been named in the Women’s side, and Aaron Sexton, Ben Moxham and Jude Postlethwaite have been selected for the Men’s team.

The three-day tournament is being hosted by GB Sevens and will take place between 15-17 May at the Football Association’s National Training Centre at St George’s Park.

A return to competition rugby is a welcome boost for the Ireland squads and an important building block as they gear up towards a busy summer schedule, with Ireland Men preparing for June’s World Rugby Sevens Repechage, the final qualification event for the Tokyo Olympic Games.

Billy Dardis will once again captain the Ireland Men, with Eddy selecting a 16-player squad for this weekend’s tournament.

Munster Academy Players Alex Kendellen, Conor Phillips and Jack Crowley, who starred for Ireland U20s last season and this year made his senior debut for the Province, are all included for the first time having trained with the squad at the IRFU High Performance Centre in recent months.

Former Leinster centre Gavin Mullin, is named in the panel alongside the likes of Dardis, Jordan Conroy, Terry Kennedy, Aaron O’Sullivan and Hugo Lennox, who have all featured for Ireland on the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series.

Ireland Men will face hosts Great Britain and USA, with each team playing two games per day and points to be gained towards the final standings throughout the three days.

Lucy Mulhall, meanwhile, will lead an exciting 16-player Ireland Women’s squad into their first competitive action of the season, as they go head-to-head with hosts Great Britain and France.

Having recently featured in the Women’s Six Nations for Adam Griggs’ Ireland, Brittany Hogan, Stacey Flood, Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe, Eve Higgins, Grace Moore and Emily Lane are all included, while Méabh Deely, Aoibheann Reilly and Kate Farrell McCabe, who have all come through the IRFU Women’s Development Pathway, will hope to impress further on the international stage.

Commenting ahead of the tournament, Eddy said: “We are really looking forward to getting back to international competition and actually play some matches.

“This tournament provides a great opportunity to build towards the summer ahead and it is great preparation for the Men’s team leading into Monaco and the Olympic Repechage Tournament in June. Both our Men’s and Women’s teams will be exposed to some quality opposition throughout the tournament and the competition should be intense.

“We are very grateful for the opportunity and thankful for all the work that has taken place behind the scenes to allow us to participate in the tournament.”

The International Rugby 7s will be played behind-closed-doors and there will be a live stream on England Rugby channels, while there will be full coverage on IrishRugby.ie.

Ireland Men’s Sevens Squad For International Rugby 7s:

Alex Kendellen (Cork Constitution/Munster)
Aaron O’Sullivan (Blackrock College/Leinster)
Gavin Mullin (UCD)
Ian Fitzpatrick (Lansdowne)
Jude Postlethwaite (Banbridge/Ulster)
Conor Phillips (Young Munster/Munster)
Billy Dardis (Terenure College)(Captain)
Sean Cribbin (Suttonians)
Hugo Lennox (Skerries)
Jack Crowley (Cork Constitution/Munster)
Ben Moxham (Ballymena/Ulster)
Terry Kennedy (St Mary’s College)
Rory Scholes (Irish Sevens)
Jordan Conroy (Buccaneers)
Duran Krummeck (Irish Sevens)
Aaron Sexton (Malone/Ulster).

Ireland Women’s Sevens Squad For International Rugby 7s:

Claire Boles (Railway Union/Ulster)
Megan Burns (Tullamore/Leinster)
Amee Leigh Murphy-Crowe (Railway Union/Munster)
Méabh Deely (Blackrock/Connacht)
Katie Fitzhenry (Blackrock/Leinster)
Stacey Flood (Railway Union/Leinster)
Katie Heffernan (Mullingar/Railway Union/Leinster)
Eve Higgins (Railway Union/Leinster)
Brittany Hogan (DCU/Ulster)
Emily Lane (Blackrock/Munster)
Maeve Liston (Blackrock/Ulster)
Kate Farrell McCabe (Suttonians/Leinster)
Grace Moore (Railway Union/IQ Rugby)
Lucy Mulhall (Rathdrum/Leinster)(Captain)
Deirbhile Nic a Bhaird (Old Belvedere/Munster)
Aoibheann Reilly (Blackrock/Connacht).

International Rugby 7s Schedule:

Saturday 15th May:

Men:

  • Ireland v Great Britain, 10am
  • Ireland v USA, 1pm
  • Great Britain v USA, 4pm

Women:

  • Ireland v France, 10.22am
  • Great Britain v France, 1.22pm
  • Great Britain v Ireland, 4.22pm

Sunday 16th May:

Men:

  • Ireland v USA, 10am
  • Great Britain v USA, 1pm
  • Great Britain v Ireland, 4pm

Women:

  • Great Britain v France, 10.22am
  • Ireland v France, 1.22pm
  • Great Britain v Ireland, 4.22pm

Monday 17th May: 

Men:

  • Ireland v USA, 10am
  • Great Britain v Ireland, 1pm
  • Great Britain v USA, 4pm

Women:

  • Ireland v France, 10.22am
  • Great Britain v Ireland, 1.22pm
  • Great Britain v France, 4.22pm.

Source – Ulster Rugby

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