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Pro14

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

Joey Carbery set for return this weekend for Munster

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(Photo by Andrew Surma/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

The Munster team has been named for Friday night’s Guinness PRO14 clash against Cardiff Blues at the Cardiff Arms Park (8pm).

There are six changes to the starting XV that defeated Edinburgh last time out, while in the replacements there is the welcome return of Joey Carbery who is named in his first match-day squad since January 2020.

The opening try scorer in Murrayfield last weekend, Jack O’Donoghue captains the side for Friday night’s encounter as he and Chris Cloete are joined by Jack O’Sullivan in the back row.

Fineen Wycherley scrums down next to Jean Kleyn in the engine room with Kevin O’Byrne stepping into the front row in between James Cronin and John Ryan.

Shane Daly returns from Ireland camp to retain his position on the left wing with Calvin Nash named on the opposite flank as Mike Haley completes the back three at full-back.

The centre partnership sees Rory Scannell lining up next to Damian de Allende and Nick McCarthy joins JJ Hanrahan in the half-back pairing.

If sprung from the bench Billy Holland will move ahead of Ronan O’Gara for all-time Munster appearances and become the second most capped player for the province for his 241st appearance in red.

Paddy Patterson is in line to make his Munster debut as he provides the scrum-half cover.

Find out you need to know ahead of the game here.

Munster: Mike Haley; Calvin Nash, Rory Scannell, Damian de Allende, Shane Daly; JJ Hanrahan, Nick McCarthy; James Cronin, Kevin O’Byrne, John Ryan; Jean Kleyn, Fineen Wycherley; Jack O’Donoghue (C), Chris Cloete, Jack O’Sullivan.

Replacements: Niall Scannell, Liam O’Connor, Roman Salanoa, Billy Holland, Gavin Coombes, Paddy Patterson, Joey Carbery, Darren Sweetnam.

Player News: Academy lock Thomas Ahern was unavailable for selection after picking up a knock in training this week.

Video | Press Pass

Hear from Defence Coach JP Ferreira and Liam O’Connor ahead of the game.

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6 Nations

Huge boost for Ulster & Ireland as Henderson signs new deal

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Photo By Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile via Getty Images

Ulster captain, Iain Henderson, who has represented the province on 116 occasions, has secured his future with the club for the next two years.

Craigavon-born Henderson, who took up the role of Ulster captain in 2019, has progressed through the Ulster development system. Starting with mini rugby at Academy RFC, his early playing career saw him reach the final of the Danske Bank Schools Cup in 2010 with Belfast Royal Academy, represent Queen’s University Belfast as well as Ireland at Age-Grade level, before quickly rising through the ranks of senior professional rugby in the province.

Iain, who captained Ireland for the first time against France in this year’s Guinness Six Nations, made his international debut against South Africa in November 2012 and has won 60 caps to date for his country. 

A Lions tourist in 2017, Iain succeeded Rory Best as Ulster captain in 2019.  

David Nucifora, IRFU Performance Director, commented,

“Over the past few seasons Iain has really developed into a leader within both the Ireland and Ulster squads. He is part of the national leadership group, captaining Ireland recently for the first time and we are delighted to have ensured that he continues his career in Ireland.”

Iain Henderson, commented,

“It has been a great honour to captain both Ulster and Ireland in recent times. Irish rugby is in a good place despite the disruption the sport has experienced during the pandemic. As professionals, we have been in a privileged position to be able to continue playing and I know we all hope to see supporters back in the Aviva and Kingspan in the near future.”

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Pro14

Ulster issue positive update on Coetzee injury

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Photo By Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Many Ulster fans feared they may have seen the last appearance of Springbok Marcell Coetzee in an Ulster shirt after he was helped from the field on Friday night but a medical update has been issued which appears to be more positive than what was initially feared.

Update below:

The Ulster Rugby Medical Performance Team has issued a squad update ahead of Friday’s Guinness PRO14 Round 13 fixture against Ospreys at Kingspan Stadium.

Marcell Coetzee suffered a thigh muscle contusion in Ulster Rugby’s Guinness PRO14 Round 12 match against Glasgow Warriors. His availability for selection for the upcoming game against Ospreys will be assessed through the coming week.

There are no other new injury concerns arising from Friday night’s game at Scotstoun Stadium.

Squad updates in association with The Ulster Independent Clinic.

Update ends.

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