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Rugby

Leinster & Glasgow name sides for RDS battle.

Sean O’Brien set to lead Leinster.

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Photo By Seb Daly/Sportsfile via Getty Images

Leinster:

The Leinster Rugby team, as sponsored by Bank of Ireland, to take on Glasgow Warriors tomorrow in the Guinness PRO14 has been named by head Coach Leo Cullen (KO: 3.00pm – live on Eir Sport).

It is the last regular season home game to be played by Leinster in the Guinness PRO14 and sees them take on a Glasgow team that are also top of their Conference.

Séan O’Brien will lead out the team and there is also a welcome return from injury for a number of players.

In the back three, Rob Kearney is joined by Jordan Larmour and Dave Kearney, with the returning Robbie Henshaw paired with Joe Tomane in the centre.

Jamison Gibson-Park and Ross Byrne are the half backs.

Ed Byrne, James Tracy and Michael Bent start in the front row, with Devin Toner back from injury to take his place in the second row alongside Academy forward Jack Dunne. It will be a first Leinster start for 20 year old Dunne.

The back row sees Josh Murphy, captain Seán O’Brien and Caelan Doris pack down.

On the bench there is the potential for a seasonal debut for Will Connors. Connors injured his ACL against Newcastle Falcons in the pre-season friendly back in August and has been out injured since. Should he come on he will become the 56th player used by Cullen this season.

Glasgow:

Dave Rennie has made two changes to his starting side for their trip to face the reigning Guinness PRO14 and Heineken Champions Cup Champions, Leinster in Dublin this weekend.

Glasgow beat Ulster 30-7 at Scotstoun last Friday to earn maximum points and name an unchanged backline, including try-scorers that night Adam Hastings and Tommy Seymour.

Up front Scott Cummings comes into the second-row with Rob Harley shifting to six and Jamie Bhatti starting at loose-head.

Huw Jones has been named amongst the replacements and will play his first game since picking up a knee injury whilst playing for Scotland against Ireland in this year’s Guinness Six Nations in February.

Glasgow Warriors Head Coach Dave Rennie said: “We’re looking forward to testing ourselves against the best team in Europe.

“It’s an exciting challenge and exactly the kind of game we need as we gear towards knock out footy.

“We’ve prepared well and 1-23 expect to see the same levels of desperation and brutality that we saw against Ulster on Friday night.”

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Pro14

Munster Go Top of Conference A with Benetton Win

Munster have gone top of Conference A for at least tonight after fending off a dogged Benetton side

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Photo By Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile via Getty Images

Munster secured a hard-fought 37-28 win in Treviso over Benetton to go to the summit of Conference A on Friday night.

The win puts Munster two points ahead of Glasgow Warriors for tonight at least as the Scottish side face Leinster on Saturday.

The home side got off to the better start with Tomasso Allan slotting over an early penalty to settle the nerves. After seven minutes Benetton were 10-0 up as Ratuva Tavuyarto broke the line before Tomasso Benvenuti touched down. Allan kicked the extras.

Munster responded immediately through Rhys Marshall after he received a lovely pass from scrum-half Alby Mathewson. JJ Hanrahan knocked over the conversion to make it 10-7.

After 12 minutes the men in red were ahead as Dan Goggin scored under the posts and Hanrahan again slotted home the extra two to leave it at 14-10 to the away side.

The game slowed down a little after the energetic start, with Allan kicking two penalties and Hanrahan scoring one to make it 17-16 to Munster come the 25th minute.

However, Benetton went into half-time with the lead with Jayden Hayward breaking away and Monty Ioane getting in for the try on 38 minutes. Allan couldn’t push them ahead any further as he missed his conversion to leave the score at 21-17 come the whistle.

Benetton started the second-half where they left off. They were awarded a penalty try four minutes into the half after Darren Sweetnam deliberately knocked-on the ball. Sweetnam was sent to the bin for 10 minutes following the incident.

Although they had the man advantage the hosts failed to capitalise, as Munster scored a penalty five minutes later through Hanrahan to make it 28-20.

Benvenuti was then shown yellow for the home side for a high tackle on Stephen Archer in the 52nd minute.

Munster took full advantage with Hanrahan kicking another penalty two minutes later before Shane Daly scored in the corner to pull them level. Hanrahan’s perfect kick meant they went into the lead once more at 30-28 with a quarter of the match remaining.

Hanrahan was at the thick of things again when he broke through the Benetton defence and Alby Mathewson was on hand to finish the move. A seventh kick from seven for man of the match Hanrahan stretched the lead out to 37-28.

The final 12 minutes where spent in the Munster half as Benetton went in search of a score, but they were unable to break through as it finished 37-28.

The win puts Munster first in Conference A with one game to go in the regular season having played a game more than second-placed Glasgow. It also gives the side another confidence boost before their crunch clash with Saracens in the Champions Cup semi-finals next weekend. On the other hand, the loss means Benetton head into the final round of fixtures a point ahead of Edinburgh in Conference B as they hope to secure the last play-off spot in the conference.

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Pro14

Munster coach Van Graan confirms future.

The news comes off the back of a number of recent player contract extensions and is another huge boost for the province.

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Munster Rugby and the IRFU are pleased to confirm that Munster Rugby Head Coach Johann van Graan has extended his contract for a further two years, and will remain with the province until June 2022.

The news comes off the back of a number of recent player contract extensions and is another huge boost for the province.

Leaving his role as the Springboks Forwards Coach, van Graan and family made the move to Limerick in November 2017. His impact was immediate as he and the coaching staff of Jerry Flannery, Felix Jones and JP Ferreira guided the squad to the semi-final stages of the Champions Cup and Guinness PRO14 last season.

A year later and the 39-year-old has once again paved the way for Munster to reach knock-out rugby in both competitions, with a Champions Cup semi-final against Saracens first up on Saturday week.

Commenting on the news, Munster Rugby Acting CEO Philip Quinn said: “We are delighted Johann has committed his future to the province. There was a significant amount of interest from other clubs so it was always going to be a challenge to retain the services of a coach of Johann’s calibre. However, Johann is fully committed to Munster Rugby and I believe it is a statement of intent from the province that we have finalised this deal.

“Johann brought with him a wealth of experience and a track record with the Springboks and the Bulls in Super Rugby. He has put his own stamp on this squad over the past 18 months and has enhanced the Munster environment further. Working closely with his backroom staff he continues to drive the standards on and off the field, and we look forward to seeing the progress continue over the next three years.”

Head Coach Johann van Graan added:

“I am very happy and grateful to be in this position, knowing that I can continue to work with this incredible group of people and play my part in shaping Munster’s future. Coming to Munster I wanted to become part of the community, and every day I get to experience that sense of belonging with my family and I settling in from the very beginning.

“Moments and scenes such as last Saturday week in Edinburgh with the Munster supporters, players and management make for amazing memories, they can never be taken for granted. This is a special place, a special club to be part of and I look forward to continuing the journey together.”

Article from Munster Rugby

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Rugby

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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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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