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Conor Oliver looking to grab the Bull by the horns

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Conor Oliver was one of the late arrivals to South Africa, which meant, missing the game on Saturday against the DHL Stormers. Fit and ready to go the back-rower is available for selection ahead of Friday’s Round 3 BKT United Rugby Championship tie against the Vodacom Bulls in Pretoria (k/o 5.30pm Irish time).

When on tours like this players know it’s two weeks of hard work in preparation for matches. Being with each other 24/7 this is the longest period of time the whole group will be in each others company, so what is it like to be on a tour like this?

“These tours to South Africa are tough but they are also really helpful for the team to bond more” said Oliver

“Lads get closer and learn a lot more about one another which you probably wouldn’t get in a week’s lead up to another match”

“For the new lads that have come in it gives them a real chance to get to know everyone better and I get the chance to know them better on and off the pitch which is great.

Loftus Versfeld is the venue on Friday, an iconic stadium and which Oliver and the rest of the Connacht players can’t wait to see.

“We discussed about how cool it will be to play there but we also said how cool it would be to get a win there”

“There’s real belief in the camp that we can come away with a win at Loftus and what a venue it would be to win after last weekend’s result”

“I’m buzzing and can’t wait for Friday, hopefully I’ll be named in the starting 15”

“I always want to be playing so missing last week was annoying”

Last weekend Connacht lost to the defending URC champions Stormers and will be hoping to bounce back and get their first win of the season.

“We’ve changed a lot of our attacking shapes with different principles in place compared to what we did last year”

“We know this takes a bit of time to gel but at the same time as players its up to us to put those wheels in motion quickly and get up to speed”

“From the opening two rounds we identified the amount of opportunities we’re creating especially last weekend but we didn’t take them and that’s something we need to change”

“We were a pass or two away from scoring a couple of tries, so that’s one of the main things we’ve noted as we know we’re almost there from what we are trying to do”

“Once we get past the teething stage of this its going to be very exciting”

Another man that joined Conor to South Africa late was club captain Jack Carty. The fly-half has missed the opening two games as he makes his way back to fitness, but, he may be available for Friday’s game in Pretoria.

Oliver spoke about his team mate and how he’s been around the squad since being announced captain.

“It’s his first season and its a bit of a pity that he hasn’t been involved in the first couple of games but he has been around the group for training and meetings making sure his presence is felt”

“Jack is a composed leader who is very calm in the way he delivers messages which I love from a captain”

“We have Jarrad Butler there who will guide Jack into the role and he’s another great man to have in the dressing room”

The Connacht team for Friday’s game against the Bulls will be named tomorrow at 12 midday.

Images & Content from – Connacht Rugby


Champions Cup

Squad Update | Munster Prepare For Toulouse At Thomond

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The Munster squad started their training week on Tuesday ahead of Sunday’s Champions Cup opener against Toulouse at Thomond Park (3.15pm).

A bumper crowd will attend the fixture with tickets from €25 available here. A Family Pack of 4 tickets costs just €50.

11 Munster players were in AIL action for their clubs at the weekend.

In Division 1A, Dan Goggin, Conor Phillips, Eoin O’Connor and Fionn Gibbons featured for Young Munster as they beat Shannon at Thomond Park with Phillips among the tries.

Ethan Coughlan, Kieran Ryan and Darragh McSweeney lined out for Shannon.

Cian Hurley and Jack Oliver lined out for Garryowen as they were defeated by Ballynahinch at Dooradoyle.

In Division 1B, James French helped Highfield defeat UCC at Woodleigh Park.

In Division 2A, Ruadhan Quinn was a try-scorer for Old Crescent as they defeated Ballymena.

Evan O’Connell featured for UL Bohemian as they were beaten by Navan.

On the injury front, Conor Murray returns to training this week after recovering from the groin injury he sustained on his 100th Ireland cap against South Africa last month.

Mike Haley is expected to complete his return to play protocols this week with a view to returning to full team training.

Simon Zebo sustained a low-grade knee injury against Edinburgh and will begin rehabilitation with the medical department. He will be unavailable for the coming weeks.

Continuing to rehab: Stephen Archer (ankle), Tom Ahern (shoulder), RG Snyman (knee), Fineen Wycherley (shoulder), Paddy Kelly (head), Jack Daly (knee), Jack O’Sullivan (knee), Andrew Conway (knee), Keynan Knox (knee).

Tickets

Champions Cup Round 1

Sunday, December 11

Munster Rugby v Stade Toulousain, Thomond Park, 3.15pm; Buy tickets here

URC Round 10

Monday, December 26

Munster v Leinster, Thomond Park, 7.35pm; Buy tickets here

URC Round 12

Friday, January 6

Munster v Emirates Lions, Musgrave Park, 7.35pm; Buy tickets here

Champions Cup Round 3

Saturday, January 14, 2023

Munster Rugby v Northampton Saints, Thomond Park, 3.15pm; Buy tickets here

URC Round 14

Friday, February 17, 2023

Munster Rugby v Ospreys, Thomond Park, 7.35pm; Buy tickets here

URC Round 15

Friday, March 3, 2023

Munster Rugby v Scarlets, Musgrave Park, 7.35pm; Buy tickets here

URC Round 16

Saturday, March 25, 2023

Munster Rugby v Glasgow Warriors, Thomond Park, 5.15pm; Buy tickets here

Images & Content from Munster Rugby


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URC

Rowlands to leave at end of season

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Dragons RFC can confirm that Wales international second row Will Rowlands will leave the club at the end of the current season.

The 31-year-old, who joined the Men of Gwent ahead of the 21/22 season and has made 16 appearances for the club, has agreed terms with a club outside of Wales for the 23/24 season.

Dai Flanagan, Head Coach of Dragons RFC, commented: “We’re obviously disappointed to be losing a player of Will’s quality, but despite the best efforts of ourselves, Will’s representative and the WRU over the last 12 months or so, we were unable to reach agreement on terms for the future.

“Since arriving in Gwent, Will has been a hugely positive influence on our group, captaining the side and being named Wales’ player of the year.

“We know that he’ll continue to give his absolute all to the club for the remainder of his time with us and he will always be welcome at Rodney Parade.”

Will Rowlands also commented: “I am sad to be leaving Dragons RFC at the end of this season but would like to thank everyone involved with the club for their support over the past 18 months.

“It has been a pleasure to play at Rodney Parade and I know that the future is bright for this club. It’s home to some truly talented players and I really believe in the vision of Dai and the other coaches. I have no doubt that we are just beginning to see the seeds of that in the performances of the team, and that they will go from strength to strength.

“It is still my great hope that I will be able to represent my country in the World Cup 2023, if called upon.”

Content & Images from – Dragons Rugby


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Owen Williams agrees deal with Ospreys as injury replacement

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Today, the Ospreys announced that Owen Williams will join the team as an injury replacement in a deal that will see the ex-Worcester man join the club as cover for Gareth Anscombe, who was regrettably injured on international duty.

With the injury to Gareth Anscombe and Stephen Myler also currently out injured, the agreement will give the Ospreys much needed depth at the fly-half position.

Capped three times at international level, Williams provides invaluable experience and leadership qualities that will contribute massively to the team as the second half of the season approaches.

Head Coach Toby Booth said: “For us to compete at the highest level, it is hugely important that we have quality depth where we need it. Signing Owen not only provides injury cover for us, but also improves us a group.

“Jack Walsh has done a great job stepping up at 10 in some huge games for us over the last few weeks, but ultimately with Gareth’s injury, we needed to reinforce in that area. Owen can play 10 or 12 and brings a wealth of experience with him from his time in Premiership. I have no doubt that he will make a positive impact in a variety of areas for us.”

Excited about the prospect of joining the Ospreys, Owen Williams said: “I’m really looking forward to getting started here, the Ospreys have a rich history and a great squad that are capable of going on and becoming a real force.

“I spoke with the coach before making my decision, and it was clear to me that he had a plan for how I will fit in to the wider vision for the team going forward. It’s been a while since I’ve played my rugby in Wales, but I can’t wait to be back in the region where it all started for me.”

The Ospreys are set for their first Heineken Champions Cup fixture against Leicester Tigers on Sunday, the same team where Williams made over 100 appearances and scored over 600 points during his time there.

Image & Content Source – Ospreys Rugby


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