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Scarlets Confirm Trio of Young Signings

The Scarlets have signed three new players following their announcement of the re-signings of a host of players

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(Photo by Athena Pictures/Getty Images)

Scarlets have announced the signings of Danny Drake, Dane Blacker and Alex Jeffries ahead of the 2019/20 season.

Second-row Drake signs from New Zealand provincial side North Harbour and has been on the fringes of Super Rugby franchise the Blues.

The 24-year-old is looking forward to starting his new chapter in Wales with the Scarlets.

“I’m really excited to touch down on Welsh soil, fizzing to get stuck into the Scarlets culture and give it my all for the club and its supporters,” he said.

Meanwhile, 20-year-old scrum-half Blacker joins from the Cardiff Blues and will face stiff competition for a place in the Scarlets team where he will have to battle Gareth Davies, Kieran Hardy and Jonathan Evans for a spot.

However, the youngster is happy to have signed his first professional contract, having been given some chances at Cardiff last year to impress.

“I’m delighted to sign my first professional contract with the Scarlets. It’s an honour to be a part of an exciting club and I am looking forward to the coming season,” he said.

Jefferies, a 24-year-old tight-head prop switches the Ospreys for Scarlets, having spent three years with his former club and is excited by the future.

“I am really looking forward to the next chapter in my rugby career at the Scarlets. I’m excited to work alongside a talented group players and coaches and the opportunity to make my own mark at the club. I am also looking forward to developing my game and with the right opportunities showing what I am capable of,” he said.

The young trio will add to the host of players that have re-signed with the Welsh region recently, including the likes of Jonathan Davies, Johnny McNicholl, Rob Evans and Ken Owens.

General manager of rugby at the club Jon Daniels is glad to welcome them on board and is encouraged for what the future holds.

“Danny, Dane and Alex are talented young players who will be excellent additions to our squad. We have worked hard to ensure we have put together a group of players capable of competing for silverware and re-signing players of the calibre of Johnny McNicholl, Jon Davies, Ken Owens, Rob Evans and others have been crucial to that. We are happy with the strength of the squad we have put together, but are always open to adding further players if they are the quality and right fit that we are looking for to move the Scarlets forwards. We are looking forward to welcoming the boys back for pre-season next week,” he said.

The Scarlets will be hoping to improve after a rather disappointing season and these new editions are definitely a step in the right direction.

Pro14

Ulster to welcome 1,000 fans for Scarlets clash

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(Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)

Ulster Rugby last night announced that 1,000 supporters will be welcomed to the Kingspan Stadium this weekend. Statement from Ulster Rugby below:

The doors of Kingspan Stadium will open to 1,000 supporters this weekend when Ulster Rugby welcome Scarlets in Round 7 of the Guinness PRO14 (Sunday 22 November, kick-off 7.35pm).

The Ulster Men have played behind closed doors since the opening game of the season against Benetton Rugby when the club successfully trialled the safe return of spectators following extensive consultation with the IRFU, Belfast City Council and the Northern Ireland Executive.

All 500 pairs of tickets will be made available to #TogetherUlster Members only via an online ballot process. Members who applied for tickets to the Benetton match but missed out due to limited availability will receive priority in the ballot.

Sunday night’s match will feature a mix of seating and terracing in operation across all four stands and the East Terrace. Tickets are again priced at £20 each, allocated in groups of two with two-metre physical distancing factored in.

The online ballot will be open for 24 hours from 1pm on Tuesday 17 November on the Ulster Rugby Ticket Account Manager, and account holders can apply for one pair of tickets per every Adult #TogetherUlster Membership held. All successful applicants will be notified on Wednesday evening once the ballot has closed and tickets have been allocated. Members will then have until 1pm on Thursday 19 November to confirm their ticket purchase and process payment.

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Pro14

Bad news on the injury front for Munster back-rower

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(Photo By Brendan Moran/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Munster medical department have issued the latest player update with Liam Coombes, John Hodnett and Alex McHenry all ruled out due to respective injuries.

The young trio sustained knocks in different training sessions and will not be available for this weekend’s clash.

Alex McHenry underwent surgery for a thumb injury and will not be available for the coming weeks, while Liam Coombes has sustained a minor hamstring injury.

Unfortunately, it is a longer-term outlook for John Hodnett who sustained an achilles tendon injury.  The Academy back row will undergo surgery early next week before commencing his rehabilitation programme.

A fourth player is already self-isolating after returning a positive test result from Monday’s PCR testing.  The player remains well, and no other players have been identified as close contacts.

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Pro14

Rea to win 50th cap v Cardiff

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Photo By Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile via Getty Images

Matty Rea is set to make his 50th Ulster appearance in the Guinness PRO14 Round 4 clash against Cardiff Blues at Rodney Parade on Monday (kick-off 6pm).

The 27-year-old Ballymena man made his Ulster debut against the Toyota Cheetahs in September 2017, and has already shown some excellent form this year when collecting the Player of the Match award in the season opener versus Benetton.

Rea will start at blindside flanker, with Jordi Murphy being retained at openside and Nick Timoney coming in to start at number eight. Adam McBurney will make his first start this season at hooker and is joined in the front row by Eric O’Sullivan – who scored his first Ulster try last week – and Marty Moore. Alan O’Connor retains his starting berth in the second row, and will be partnered with Kieran Treadwell, who is also making his first start this season.

Billy Burns will make his return from injury to captain the side at fly-half, alongside John Cooney – who has been released from the Ireland Six Nations squad – at scrum-half.

Burns is one of four changes to the back line, with Stuart McCloskey also being released from international duties to start alongside Stewart Moore in midfield. Michael Lowry comes in to start at full-back, and he will be joined on the wings by Louis Ludik and the returning Craig Gilroy.

Luke Marshall is set to make his return from injury to make his first appearance this season as he is included among the replacements. Alby Mathewson and Academy back three prospect Ethan McIlroy will cover the backline along with Marshall. John Andrew, Jack McGrath, Ross Kane, Sam Carter, and Sean Reidy provide the forward options on the bench.

Ulster team to play Cardiff Blues, Guinness PRO14 Round 4, Monday 2 November 2020, at Rodney Parade (kick-off 6pm, live on Premier Sports):  

Issued by Ulster Rugby

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