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Ulster confirm coaching line up for next season, new forwards coach.

2 Extensions, 1 exit and 1 new arrival.

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Ulster Rugby today confirmed via their website that Roddy Grant will join the coaching ticket as Forwards Coach from this summer.

Grant was born in Botswana to Scottish parents, but grew up in South Africa and moved to Scotland to embark on a professional playing career that began in 2006 with Border Reivers. He later joined Edinburgh and went on to make 138 appearances for the club.

He was forced to retire due to injury in 2015 and he soon became a coach in the Scottish Rugby Academy. Grant was then appointed as Edinburgh’s Assistant Forwards Coach in May 2017 and last season he helped them to achieve their best league position since 2008/09.

Meanwhile, Ulster Rugby is pleased to announce that Assistant Coach Dwayne Peel and Skills Coach Dan Soper have signed new two-year contract extensions.

The Ulster coaching ticket now has an exceptionally youthful look with 3 of the main coaches still in their 30’s. Dwayne Peel (37), Jared Payne (33) and now Roddy Grant (31).

It has also been confirmed that Assistant Coach Aaron Dundon will leave the Province at the end of the current season to pursue other coaching opportunities.

Commenting on the announcements, Ulster Head Coach, Dan McFarland said:

“I’m delighted that Roddy will be on board with us from this summer. Having worked with Roddy in Scotland I know his skill set will compliment mine in terms of developing our overall forward play.

“It’s also great news that Dwayne and Dan are remaining at Ulster. They have both done a great job and we’ve seen how our players, from the younger guys through to seasoned internationals, have improved as a result of their coaching.

Former Ulster players Michael Allen and Paul Marshall were quick to give their approval to the announcement:

“I’d like to thank Aaron for his work across our set piece over the past two seasons. He has played a major role in the successful development of young players throughout our forward pack and I know that he will continue to do that in the coming months, as we aim to finish the season strongly.”

Ulster Rugby fans will also be hoping that the club will announce player signings in the coming weeks having being linked with moves for Super Rugby stars.

Pro14

Leinster Demolish Kings at RDS

Leinster continue their dominance at the top of Conference B

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photo by Peter Fitzpatrick/Action Plus via Getty Images

Leinster scored nine tries in a 59-19 win over the Kings at the RDS on Friday to stretch their lead at the top of Conference B.

The win moves Leinster 27 points clear at the top of Conference B for the time being.

The hosts started well and took the lead in the 5th minute through Noel Reid, who touched down close to the posts after a well-timed run. Ross Bryne kicked the extras to make it 7-0.

Within 15 minutes the game was turned upside down as Bjorn Basson scored in left corner, before No 9 Sarel Pretorius completed the turn around to make it 12-7 after 20 minutes.

Within seven minutes Leinster were back out in front by seven points thanks to two tries from man of the match Ed Byrne.

Both of the tries came from strong carries and Byrne converted the first but sent the second wide.

After a slick move between the backs, Reid was in for the bonus-point try with only 36 minutes on the clock. Byrne missed his second of the night to leave it at 24-12 to Leinster at half-time.

Two minutes into the second-half and the Kings had reduced the defecate with Badar Pretorius breaking a couple of tackles before handing over to
Ulrich Beyers to get over for their third try. It was converted to make it 24-19 heading into the 35 minutes.

With 46 minutes gone Leinster were over again, this time Byrne scored all seven points to stretch their lead out 12 points.

Eight minutes on and Andrew Porter was in for try six following sustained pressure from the Blues and Byrne added the two extras.

Max Deegan broke through the defence with 16 minutes left on the clock for his sixth try of the season.

Conor O’Brien and sub Rory O’Loughlin combined to send over RDS debutant scrum-half Paddy Patterson with five minutes left. With O’Loughlin touching down for a try of his own after 77 minutes to finish the try scoring for the hosts.

Byrne kicked conversion number seven and it remained 59-19 until the end.

The win now means that Leinster have won 14 of their 16 matches this season and are cruising to first in the conference while the Kings stay bottom with another big loss.

Leinster will take on the Cheetahs next weekend in what will be a tougher challenge for the reigning champions. The Kings are heading to Wales next to play the Cardiff Blues as they continue their search for a first away win in the competition.

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Pro14

Munster Beat Ospreys to Stay Top: Match Report

Munster remain top of Conference A after a win over the Ospreys

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Munster maintained their good form with a 19-13 win over the Ospreys at the Liberty Stadium on Friday.

Before the game there was one change to the line-up with Tadhg Beirne being named in the starting XV after Jean Kleyn missed out through illness.

The away side started the brighter and were rewarded for their efforts five minutes in when JJ Hanrahan sent a beautiful floated pass over to Darren Sweetnam on the left wing, who rushed past a couple of defenders to touch down.

Hanrahan added the extras and it was 7-0 in the blink of an eye.

18 minutes in and the Ospreys were level as Hanno Dirksen getting over following a Keelan Giles break and chip allowed him through the Munster defence.

Luke Price was on hand to slot over the conversion and the teams were level.

The hosts took the lead in the 32nd minute thanks to a Price penalty.

However, their lead didn’t last too long as Munster put on the pressure, with man of the match Beirne eventually breaking through and looking to touch down off the bottom off the post only for the ball to be knocked away by Sam Cross.

After a review from the TMO, a penalty try and yellow card were awarded and it was 14-10 to Munster at half-time.

The second-half was a tough affair and it took another Price penalty to open the scoring in the 62nd minute. At that stage the Ospreys were within a point of Munster, but the reds marched on.

With the pack making some hard yards, Bill Johnston sent the ball out wide left to Mike Haley, who recorded their third try of the night.

The conversion was missed, but Munster held out for a hard-fought 19-13 win.

The win means Munster remain top of Conference A, a point ahead of Glasgow Warriors, who defeated Connacht tonight. While the Ospreys stay fourth for now having played a game more than both the Cardiff Blues and the Cheetahs.

Next up for the Ospreys is a visit to Connacht next weekend, while Munster travel to the Scarlets seeking to keep pushing for that top spot come the end of the season.

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Pro14

Ulster named side to take on Zebre

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The Ulster team has been selected for Saturday’s crucial Guinness PRO14 clash against Zebre at Kingspan Stadium (7.35pm) via Ulster Rugby

Darren Cave will earn his 222nd cap to move him to second in Ulster’s all-time appearance list, overtaking Roger Wilson’s tally of 221. The 31-year-old will now have his sights on Andrew Trimble’s club record of 229.

Cave is again joined in midfield by Stuart McCloskey, who marked a milestone last week against Ospreys with a Man of the Match performance in his 100th provincial game.

There is a new half-back partnership with Dave Shanahan and Peter Nelson named at scrumhalf and flyhalf respectively. Robert Baloucoune has returned from injury and will line out on the right wing, with Rob Lyttle picked on the opposite flank and Louis Ludik moving to fullback.

The front row of Eric O’Sullivan, Rob Herring and Marty Moore is unchanged from last week’s win in Bridgend, while Kieran Treadwell comes into the second row alongside captain Alan O’Connor. Sean Reidy will start in the 7 jersey and is joined in the back row by Clive Ross and Nick Timoney.

The replacements bench is made up of John Andrew, Andy Warwick, Ross Kane, Ian Nagle, Greg Jones, Jonny Stewart, Johnny McPhillips and James Hume.

Ulster team to play Zebre, Guinness PRO14, Saturday 23rd February, Kingspan Stadium (7.35pm):
(15-9): L Ludik; R Baloucoune, D Cave, S McCloskey, R Lyttle; P Nelson, D Shanahan;
(1-8): E O’Sullivan, R Herring, M Moore, A O’Connor (captain), K Treadwell, C Ross, S Reidy, N Timoney;
Replacements (16-23): J Andrew, A Warwick, R Kane, I Nagle, G Jones, J Stewart, J McPhillips, J Hume.

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