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Pro14

Ulster named side to take on Zebre

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Photo by Athena Pictures/Getty Images

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.

Pro14

Ulster star set for period on sidelines following ankle surgery

Big Loss.

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Photo By Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile via Getty Images

The Ulster Rugby Medical Performance Team this morning issued a squad update ahead of Friday’s fixture against Cardiff Blues at Kingspan Stadium.

Michael Lowry picked up an injury in South Africa and has since underwent ankle surgery and will be unavailable for 6-8 weeks.

Rob Lyttle is out of contention for this weekends game with a back injury and prop, Tommy O’Hagan is also out with a knee injury.

Cardiff will also be without star winger Owen Lane who has been called up to the Welsh squad following a tournament ending injury to Josh Navidi.

With Ireland making their exit last weekend, they will hoping that the likes of Rob Herring & Jordi Murphy will be available for selection soon although their presence against Cardiff is very unlikely.

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Pro14

Leinster Cruise to Victory Once Again

Leinster have continued their winning start to the 2019/20 PRO14 season with yet another impressive performance

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(Photo By Harry Murphy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Leinster have made it three bonus-point wins from three games at the start of the PRO14 season with a 40-14 victory over Edinburgh at the RDS tonight.

Tries from man of the match Jamison Gibson-Park, Michael Bent, Caelan Doris, Scott Penny, Vakh Abdaladze and Rowan Osbourne saw the hosts claim another impressive run-away win following their 53-5 dismissal of the Ospreys last weekend. 

Leinster had the best chances in the opening minutes, as Edinburgh struggled to get out of their own half. However, despite receiving two kickable penalties inside ten minutes Ross Byrne couldn’t find the target. 

Sandwiched in between the two penalty misses was a disallowed try as the hosts failed to make their territory count, but that changed in the 16th minute. Following a lovely break down the right by Dave Kearney, he tried a pass back inside to a teammate, but the ball instead hit James Lowe in the face inches out from the line. 

Gibson-Park pounced on the ball as it bounced over the try-line and after a TMO check the hosts had their first points of the game. Although Byrne was once again off colour from the tee leaving it at just 5-0. 

Edinburgh came roaring back, camping inside the Leinster 22 for the next 15 minutes, winning penalty after penalty at scrum-time. Eventually the hosts had Bent sent to the sin-bin for 10 minutes and a couple of minutes on things got worse. 

Following a number of scrums the Scottish side managed to get the ball out to the right-hand side where they found themselves in a two on two situation that miss as winger James Farndale dived in for the try. 

If Leinster thought things couldn’t get worse they were proved wrong as centre Joe Tomane followed Bent to the sin-bin after he slid into Farndale knee-first as the winger scored reducing Leinster to 13-men. Once the TMO review had taken place Jaco van der Walt knocked over the conversion to give the visitors a 7-5 lead. 

Despite their disadvantage it was Leinster that took control for the remainder of the half and just as they got back their full compliment of players Bent barged over from close-range deep into the red zone and Byrne added the extras to give the hosts a 12-7 half-time lead. 

Leinster began the second-half as they ended the first and just three minutes in they were over for their third try of the game with Doris barrelling over close to the line. Byrne made no mistake with his kick to push them further in front. 

Five minutes on and the hosts replicated the score with Penny the one to push over the line this time around to secure the bonus-point. Bryne smashed over the conversion from in front of the posts to make it 26-7 with less than 10 minutes gone in the second period. 

The boys in blue continued to push forward and were rewarded with little under 20 minutes left as they went through a few phases in the opposition 22 before substitute Abdaladze powered over to score his sides fifth try of the night. Byrne converted once again to give them another two points. 

Leinster only had to wait little over a minute for their sixth try as their replacements began to shine. Jimmy O’Brien took the ball at pace inside his own half and darted through a gap before offloading to Lowe, who in turn offloaded brilliantly to Osbourne as he raced over to score his first try for the province.

Ross Byrne was replaced by brother Harry in between the two scores but the result was the same from the tee making it 40-7 with 15 minutes to go. 

The visitors hit back with just under ten minutes remaining through replacement scrum-half Charlie Shiel who sprinted over off the back of a scrum five-metres out from the line. Simon Hickey converted with what turned out to be the final score of the game as it ended 40-14 to Leinster. 

Next up for the reigning back to back champions is a trip to Zebre where they will look to maintain their 100% start to the season, while Edinburgh will play host the Scarlets in round four in two weeks time. 

Leinster Player Ratings

Starting XV:

Hugo Keenan (7), Dave Kearney (7), Rory O’Loughlin (7), Joe Tomane (8), James Lowe (7), Ross Byrne (7), Jamison Gibson-Park (9); Peter Dooley (7), Rónan Kelleher (7), Michael Bent (7), Devin Toner (7), Scott Fardy (8), Max Deegan (8), Scott Penny (8), Caelan Doris (7)

Replacements (9)

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Pro14

Leinster Change Three for Edinburgh Clash

Leinster have made a total of three changes to their team to face Edinburgh tonight

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(Photo By Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Leinster head coach Leo Cullen has made only three changes to his side as they prepare to take on Edinburgh at the RDS at 19 35 tonight.

The changes see Dave Kearney come in on the right-wing, with Max Deegan starting at blindside-flanker and Scott Penny joins Deegan in the back-row making his first start of the season on the openside. 

Otherwise it’s as you were with Peter Dooley opening in the front-row alongside last weekend’s hat-trick hero Ronan Kelleher and Michael Bent, as Devin Toner links up with captain Scott Fardy in the engine-room. 

Deegan and Penny are on the flanks as mentioned above with the back-row being completed by the ever-improving Caelan Doris, who is at No 8. 

Jamison Gibson-Park and Ross Byrne continue their impressive half-back partnership, with Joe Tomane and Rory O’Loughlin outside them in the midfield as they too look to continue a fine start to the season as a pair. 

James Lowe retains his spot on the left-wing, with Kearney on the right as he looks to add to his hat-trick of tries from the opening weekend and Hugo Keenan completes the starting XV from full-back. 

Once again Michael Milne and Harry Byrne take places on the bench as they both seek to get on for their third caps after impressing in the opening two games, with an experienced duo of James Tracy and Ross Molony also among the replacements. 

Both the hosts and the away side have 100% records in the competition so far, however, Leinster put in a huge performance last weekend in what was there first home game of the season, blowing the Ospreys away 53-5 and will hope to pick up maximum points again as they bid to win a third PRO14 crown in a row.

Check Out the Full 23-Man Squad Below.

Starting XV:

15. Hugo Keenan (7)

14. Dave Kearney (137)

13. Rory O’Loughlin (63)

12. Joe Tomane (15)

11. James Lowe (31)

10. Ross Byrne (73)

9. Jamison Gibson-Park (72)

1. Peter Dooley (63)

2. Rónan Kelleher (4)

3. Michael Bent (126)

4. Devin Toner (233)

5. Scott Fardy (45) CAPTAIN 

6. Max Deegan (48)

7. Scott Penny (6)

8. Caelan Doris (18)

Replacements:

16. James Tracy (94)

17. Michael Milne (2)

18. Vakh Abdaladze (9)

19. Ross Molony (84)

20. Josh Murphy (23)

21. Rowan Osborne (1)

22. Harry Byrne (2)

23. Jimmy O’Brien (8)


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