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Current and Former Munster Men are Making Plans

Two Munster men have signed contract extensions while a former club legend is leaving his role at his current club

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Photo by Andrew Surma/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Munster are making all the headlines today with Joey Carbery and Alby Mathewson signing contract extensions while former player Paul O’Connell is set to leave Stade Francais.

Carbery, who joined from Leinster at the end of last season has extended his current contract with the IRFU and Munster by a further two years until 2022.

The out-half has been in tremendous form since joining the Reds with a chart-topping 68 points in the Champions Cup so far and leading the way for the golden boot in the Pro 14 with 87% kicking accuracy so far.

There had been talk of the 23-year-old Athy native heading back to Leinster when his contract ran out down south, but that talk has now been put to bed. It will put a smile on the face of Leinster No 10 Ross Bryne who has also been in impressive form since Carbery’s departure.

Fellow half-back Mathewson has also signed a contract extension with the province until after the World Cup, to help Johann van Graan’s men get through the tough period.

He originally joined as cover for Conor Murray while he was out injured but has gone on to become a key asset to the team and has two tries in 16 appearances so far.

Elsewhere, Munster and Ireland legend Paul O’Connell has confirmed he will be leaving Stade Francias at the end of the season. However, having been linked with a role at Toulan, O’Connell has announced he does not plan to join another club for next season.

“I have decided not to stay beyond my contract year with the club and do not plan to join another club next season either. I had a great adventure at the Stade Français Paris. I am grateful to the club for the opportunity they gave me to live and work in Paris. I was delighted to be able to work alongside Heyneke Meyer, the staff and all the club’s players. Finally, I am looking forward to the end of the season and I hope to be able to help the club during the eventual finals of the Top 14,” he said.

With players like Carbery committing to his former club, could O’Connell be planning a move back home soon or could he join Ronan O’Gara in a possible French national team role?

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BBC Sport NI to live-stream Ulster Rugby’s pre-season game with Saracens

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Photo By Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)
Ulster Rugby’s pre-season friendly match against Gallagher Premiership side Saracens on Friday 3 September (KO 7pm) will be streamed live on BBC iPlayer and the BBC Sport NI website.

The game kicks off at 7pm with Jim Neilly on commentary alongside former Ulster Rugby, Leicester Tigers and London Irish out-half, Ian Humphreys.

The news of the streamed match follows the announcement that BBC Sport NI will broadcast six of Ulster Rugby’s nine home matches in this season’s inaugural United Rugby Championship live on television.

Up to 10,000 supporters will be allowed into the Kingspan Stadium for the Saracens game making it the first major crowd at the venue since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020.

Saracens are coached by former Ulster player and Head Coach, Mark McCall, who, along with David Humphreys lifted the European Cup in Dublin in 1999.

Ulster will play Saracens twice in the coming weeks with a return game in Honourable Artillery Company (HAC) in London pencilled in for Thursday 9 September.

Source – Ulster Rugby

** EXCLUSIVE DAVID LLOYD OFFER FOR ULSTER RUGBY FANS **

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Wallabies make changes for Bledisloe II

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Photo by Mark Tantrum/Getty Images

Wallabies coach Dave Rennie has named Lachlan Swinton and Marika Koroibete in the starting side for the second Bledisloe Cup Test in Auckland on Saturday night.  

They are two of the four changes to the XV, with the experienced Matt To’omua elevated to inside centre for the must win match at Eden Park while Matt Philip starts in the second row.

The front row remains the same for the third consecutive week, James Slipper the starting loosehead prop alongside hooker Brandon Paenga-Amosa with the reliable Allan Alaalatoa at tighthead prop.

Philip will partner Darcy Swain in their first Test start together in the second row, while Swinton’s inclusion has forced a reshuffle of the loose forwards that sees Rob Valetini move to no. 8. Michael Hooper will skipper the side for the 57th time at openside flanker.

The young halves pairing of Tate McDermott and Noah Lolesio get another chance to build on their combination, with Hunter Paisami moving to outside centre to partner To’omua in the midfield.

After an impressive Bledisloe Cup debut, Rebels flyer Andrew Kellaway earns his second start in Wallaby gold alongside Koroibete and fullback Tom Banks in the back three.

67-Test capped prop Scott Sio has been named in his first Wallabies side of 2021 as the finishing loosehead. Jordan Uelese is the replacement hooker with Taniela Tupou set to share the minutes with Alaalatoa at tighthead prop. 

Reds duo Lukhan Salakaia-Loto and Harry Wilson will cover the second and backrow.

Brumbies number nine Nic White is also set for his first appearance for the Wallabies in 2021 after recovering from a knee injury.  He’s joined on the pine by club teammate Len Ikitau and the versatile Reece Hodge who rounds out the matchday 23.

Wallabies coach Dave Rennie said: “Eden Park is a place that most teams fear but we’re excited to get another crack after last weekend’s disappointment.”

“To beat New Zealand, you have to win the collisions and be clinical for 80 minutes and we didn’t do that.

“We’ve got a lot more in us and we’ll show that on Saturday night.”

Stan Sport will showcase Saturday night’s Bledisloe Cup Test ad-free, live and on demand while it will also be simulcast on 9Gem.

Very limited tickets will be available for the Bledisloe Cup Test at Optus Stadium in Perth on Saturday 28 August and available via Ticketmaster.

Wallabies team to play New Zealand at Eden Park, Auckland on Saturday 14 August, 7:05pm NZST
1. James Slipper (104 Tests)
2. Brandon Paenga-Amosa (13 Tests)
3. Allan Alaalatoa (47 Tests)
4. Darcy Swain (4 Tests)
5. Matt Philip (13 Tests)
6. Lachlan Swinton (2 Tests)
7. Michael Hooper (c) (109 Tests)
8. Rob Valetini (8 Tests)
9. Tate McDermott (6 Tests)
10. Noah Lolesio (6 Tests)
11. Marika Koroibete (37 Tests)
12. Matt To’omua (58 Tests)
13. Hunter Paisami (10 Tests)
14. Andrew Kellaway (3 Tests)
15. Tom Banks (15 Tests)
Replacements
16. Jordan Uelese (14 Tests)
17. Scott Sio (68 Tests)
18. Taniela Tupou (29 Tests)
19. Lukhan Salakaia-Loto (29 Tests)
20. Harry Wilson (9 Tests)
21. Nic White (37 Tests)
22. Len Ikitau (3 Tests)
23. Reece Hodge (47 Tests)

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Lions Make Changes For Series Decider

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Photo By Ian Rutherford/Sportsfile Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile via Getty Images

British & Irish Lions head coach Warren Gatland has made six changes to the starting XV which lost to the Springboks last Saturday in Cape Town.

The defeat sees the Castle Lager Lions Series level at 1-1 going into this weekend’s final Test match.

The Tour’s leading try-scorer, Josh Adams (Cardiff Rugby, Wales), makes his Lions Test debut on the right wing joining Duhan van der Merwe (Worcester Warriors, Scotland) who keeps his place on the left. Liam Williams (Scarlets, Wales) is added at full back to complete the back three.

Bundee Aki (Connacht Rugby, Ireland) is included at inside centre to win his first Test cap, joining Robbie Henshaw (Leinster Rugby, Ireland) who switches to 13.

Dan Biggar (Northampton Saints, Wales) is retained at fly-half with Ali Price (Glasgow Warriors, Scotland) starting at scrum half having been named as a replacement last weekend.

In the pack, there are two changes to the front-row with injury-free Wyn Jones (Scarlets, Wales) taking his place on the loosehead to make his Lions Test debut alongside Ken Owens (Scarlets, Wales), who is promoted from the bench to start his first Test of the Tour at hooker. Tadhg Furlong (Leinster Rugby, Ireland) continues on the tighthead to win his sixth-successive Test cap.

Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys, Wales) is named as captain to win his 12th consecutive cap moving him alongside Graham Price (1977 – 1983) and Mike Gibson (1966 – 1974) in the list of most Lions Test appearances. The iconic Welshman is again partnered in the second row by Maro Itoje (Saracens, England).

The back row remains the same with Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints, England) at blind side flanker, Tom Curry (Sale Sharks, England) on the open side and Jack Conan (Leinster Rugby, Ireland) at No. 8.

On the bench, Adam Beard (Ospreys, Wales), Finn Russell (Racing 92, Scotland), and Sam Simmonds (Exeter Chiefs, England) feature for the first time in the Test Series and will all win their first Lions cap should they take the field. Kyle Sinckler (Bristol Bears, England) is included subject to the outcome of a disciplinary hearing.

“The matchday 23 have an incredibly special opportunity in front of them – to seal a Lions Series victory in South Africa,” said Gatland.

“It doesn’t get much bigger than this and we’re excited by the challenge that faces us on Saturday.

“We’ve no excuses from last week, the Springboks put us under pressure in the second half and deserved the win. We have to be much better than that second half performance, and I believe we will be.”

Saturday’s clash against the reigning World Champions is the final Test match in the 2021 Castle Lager Lions Series and will be shown live and exclusively on Sky Sports.

SOUTH AFRICA v THE BRITISH & IRISH LIONS

15. Liam Williams (Scarlets, Wales) #833

14. Josh Adams (Cardiff Rugby, Wales) #836

13. Robbie Henshaw (Leinster Rugby, Ireland) #824

12. Bundee Aki (Connacht Rugby, Ireland) #837

11. Duhan van der Merwe (Worcester Warriors, Scotland) #841

10. Dan Biggar (Northampton Saints, Wales) #821

9. Ali Price (Glasgow Warriors, Scotland) #843

1. Wyn Jones (Scarlets, Wales) #842

2. Ken Owens (Scarlets, Wales) #829

3. Tadhg Furlong (Leinster Rugby, Ireland) #818

4. Maro Itoje (Saracens, England) #825

5. Alun Wyn Jones – captain (Ospreys, Wales) #761

6. Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints, England) #826

7. Tom Curry (Sale Sharks, England) #853

8. Jack Conan (Leinster Rugby, Ireland) #839

Replacements:

16. Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs, England) #851

17. Mako Vunipola (Saracens, England) #787

18. *Kyle Sinckler (Bristol Bears, England) #814 – subject to outcome of disciplinary hearing.

19. Adam Beard (Ospreys, Wales) #852

20. Sam Simmonds (Exeter Chiefs, England) #849

21. Conor Murray (Munster Rugby, Ireland) #790

22. Finn Russell (Racing 92, Scotland) #835

23. Elliot Daly (Saracens, England) #822

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