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Pro14

Sexton v Sexton in the Pro14 next season as brother makes Pro14 move.

Johnny Sexton’s brother will link up with Pro14 side next season following move from Jersey.

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Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Johnny Sexton will be chomping at the bit next season to be in the selection mix for Leinster v Southern Kings.

The Isuzu Southern Kings have made a giant leap in their efforts of building a competitive team with the signing exciting Irish lock, Jerry Sexton, brother of Johnny.

The 26-year-old Sexton is one of the first inspiring signings for the Isuzu Southern Kings, who are implementing an ambitious recruitment strategy that aims to attract high potential talent.

He will be joining the Port Elizabeth-based franchise as of 1 July 2019 until 30 June 2022.

The 118kg, 1.95m tall second-rower will be a notable recruit for the Isuzu Southern Kings where he will add firepower to the forwards pack, and will make for a thrilling exhibition when he squares up for the first time against older brother, Johnny – the reigning World Rugby Player of the Year, who is the incumbent Ireland and Leinster flyhalf.

Sexton is currently captain of Jersey Reds, who compete in the English Greene King IPA Championship, and is regarded as one of the top performers currently in the championship.

“We are pleased to confirm that we have acquired the services of Irish-born lock, Jerry Sexton,” Isuzu Southern Kings’ Director of High Performance, Robbi Kempson who is spearheading the recruitment process, confirmed.

“Jerry will join us in our pre-season preparations ahead of the start of the 2019/20 Guinness PRO14 season. His contract with us will run until the end of June 2022.

“It is part of our ambitious plan to bring quality players to assist us reach our goal of becoming a world-class side, and the inclusion of individuals like Jerry will bolster this process.”

Sexton has been an ever-present feature in the Jersey Reds’ league XV, starting all 43 Greene King IPA Championship games since moving to Jersey two years ago.

He has been highly regarded in leadership ranks as well, captaining the side in the majority of their matches in the time he has been at the Jersey Reds. He has scored a total of eight tries for the Channel Islands-based side.

“Jerry has contributed a huge amount during his time in Jersey and to see another player get the opportunity to play at the next level is very rewarding for the coaches and should also motivate the players to continue to work towards reaching their own goals,” said Uitenhage-born Jersey Reds Director of Rugby, Harvey Biljon.

“We will all enjoy watching Jerry play in the Pro 14 and potentially even see the ‘Sexton v Sexton’ match-up. I trust he will enjoy South Africa but we hope that we’ll see Jerry in Jersey again in the future.”

Sexton was part of the Ireland Under-20 side that played in the World Rugby Under-20 Championship in 2013 before plying his trade in England where he featured for top clubs Exeter Chiefs and London Irish before joining Jersey Reds in 2017.

“This is an exciting period in my career,” Sexton said.

“I have been following the Isuzu Southern Kings, particularly in the Guinness PRO14, and I am looking forward to be part of the team, the culture and the exciting new era that lies ahead for the franchise.

“I am grateful for the years spent at Jersey Reds and the role the club played in the growth of my career. I look forward to further growth and making a positive contribution at the Isuzu Southern Kings.”

His inclusion in the Isuzu Southern Kings squad follows that of Eastern Cape-born utility back, Courtney Winnaar, who joined the side a fortnight ago, returning to his home province after the 22-year-old spent two year at the Sharks in Durban.

Pro14

Munster confirm Zebo signing

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(Photo By Brendan Moran/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Munster Rugby and the IRFU are pleased to announce that Simon Zebo has signed a one-year contract to return to play with the province for the 2021/22 season.

This co-funded contract will see Munster’s all-time record try-scorer return from Racing 92 and line out for his home club where he made 144 appearances and scored 60 tries between 2010 and 2018.

In his third season with the Top 14 side, the 31-year-old has played 55 times and scored 21 tries to date.

Head Coach Johann van Graan said, “The opportunity to bring Simon back to Munster came about in early April following a final review of our squad’s budgetary position for season-end and with assistance from the IRFU to support what we believe is a really good deal for Munster and Irish Rugby.

“Simon’s desire to return to Ireland and play with his home club is illustrated by his willingness to sign at a level below his market value elsewhere. This has made bringing the province’s all-time leading try-scorer back home, possible.”

Simon Zebo said, “I am thrilled and honoured to be coming back home to play for Munster. My family and I have been so lucky to have enjoyed three incredible years with Racing 92 in Paris and I cannot thank the team there enough, I really have made friends for life and take with me some brilliant memories.

“However, as everyone knows, Munster holds a very special place in my heart and I’ve always said that I wanted to play for them and potentially Ireland again, so when this opportunity arose the lure of being close to home, family and friends and Munster fans, it outweighed all other options. I cannot wait to get back to the HPC with the team and hopefully a packed Thomond Park.”

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Pro14

Ulster Rugby agree to release Coetzee early

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Photo By Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Marcell Coetzee has played his last game for Ulster Rugby.

With back-row, Marcell Coetzee, currently side-lined with a hamstring injury, Ulster Rugby has agreed terms which will see the player released from the club at the end of this month, ahead of his planned departure at the conclusion of the 2020/21 season.

Given the need for several weeks of rehabilitation following the injury sustained by Coetzee in last month’s Guinness PRO14 fixture against Leinster, Ulster Rugby and the player have reached a mutual agreement to part ways on Friday 30 April.

Head of Rugby Operations and Recruitment, Bryn Cunningham, said: “We have come to an agreement that will allow Marcell the time and space required to continue his rehab.

“I’d like to thank Marcell for his contribution to the province over the past five years and we wish him and wife, Chanelle the very best for their upcoming return home to South Africa.”

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Pro14

Lowry retained at 10 for Ulster v Zebre

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Photo By Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile via Getty Images

The Ulster coaching team has named the match-day squad to host Zebre in tomorrow night’s final Guinness PRO14 regular season game (Kingspan Stadium, 8.15pm).

21-year-old, Cormac Izuchukwu will make his first start for the Ulster men as he is named in the second row alongside Kieran Treadwell. Marty Moore comes back into the starting front row at tighthead, with Eric O’Sullivan and John Andrew retaining their starting berths at loosehead and hooker. Jordi Murphy will captain the side at openside flanker, with Sean Reidy and David McCann being retained at blindside and Number Eight.

A youthful back line sees Ethan McIlroy coming into the  back three at full-back, with Rob Lyttle on the left wing and Robert Baloucoune returning on the right. Stewart Moore and James Hume will make up the midfield pairing, while John Cooney and Michael Lowry are named at half-back.

Brad Roberts, Callum Reid, Tom O’Toole, Alan O’Connor and Matty Rea are the forward reinforcements, with David Shanahan, Ian Madigan and Ben Moxham providing the back line options on the bench.

Ulster team to play Zebre Rugby, Guinness PRO14 Round 16, Friday 19 March at Kingspan Stadium (kick-off 8.15pm, live on Premier Sports / eir Sport):

(15-9) Ethan McIlroy, Robert Baloucoune, James Hume, Stewart Moore, Rob Lyttle, Michael Lowry, John Cooney;

(1-8) Eric O’Sullivan, John Andrew, Marty Moore, Cormac Izuchukwu, Kieran Treadwell, Sean Reidy, Jordy Murphy (Capt.), David McCann.

Replacements: Brad Roberts, Callum Reid, Tom O’Toole, Alan O’Connor, Matty Rea, David Shanahan, Ian Madigan, Ben Moxham.

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