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Munster Rugby: Incoming Player Profiles

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Greencore Munster Rugby Academy players Craig Casey, Gavin Coombes, Shane Daly and Seán O’Connor will be promoted to the senior squad ahead of the 2019/20 campaign with Nick McCarthy joining from Leinster Rugby.

All four Academy players have already made their debuts for the province, find out more about the five new additions to the senior squad below.

Craig Casey

Scrum-half Craig Casey spent two years in the Munster Rugby Academy and was named 2018/19 Academy Player of the Year in April.

The 20-year-old Limerick native was vice-captain of this season’s Grand Slam-winning Ireland U20s side and will resume that role for the upcoming U20 World Championships in Argentina.

A former Ardscoil Rís pupil, Casey made his All Ireland League debut with Shannon RFC earlier this season and made his Munster bow against Connacht at Thomond Park in April 2019.

Craig Casey in action for the Ireland U20s against Italy in February.

Craig Casey in action for the Ireland U20s against Italy in February.

Gavin Coombes

Gavin Coombes is a product of Skibbereen RFC and Bandon Grammar and spent three years in the Munster Rugby Academy.

The 21-year-old Young Munster back-row forward/lock made his Munster debut in the opening game of the 2018/19 season against the Cheetahs and went on to make eight Guinness PRO14 appearances over the campaign.

Coombes represented the Ireland U20s in the 2017 Six Nations and U20s World Championship and has scored six tries in 16 Munster A appearances.

Gavin Coombes in action for Munster A last September.

Gavin Coombes in action for Munster A last September.

Shane Daly

Shane Daly is a product of Highfield RFC, PBC and Cork Constitution and spent three years in the Munster Rugby Academy.

The 22-year-old starred for the Ireland U20s in the 2016 6 Nations and U20s World Championship and has also represented the Ireland 7s side.

The Cork native has won a number of senior honours with Cork Con and made his Guinness PRO14 debut against Cheetahs at Thomond Park in September 2018, going on to make six PRO14 appearances over the season.

Nick McCarthy

Scrum-half Nick McCarthy joins Munster this summer having scored four tries in 36 appearances for Leinster.

McCarthy made 18 appearances for the Ireland U20s and captained the side at the 2014 World Championship.

The 24-year-old is a former pupil of St Michael’s College and made his senior debut against Toulon in December 2015.

Nick McCarthy at Leinster training in April.

Nick McCarthy at Leinster training in April.

Seán O’Connor

Seán O’Connor made his senior debut against the Maori All Blacks in November 2016 and has made nine appearances for the province.

The 22-year-old represents Garryowen FC in the All Ireland League and is a product of Cashel RFC and Rockwell College.

In 2016 he helped the Ireland U20s to their best-ever finish as runners-up at the World Championship.

O’Connor can play in the second row and the back row, scored two tries in 19 Munster A appearances and spent three years in the Munster Rugby Academy.

Sean O’Connor in Guinness PRO14 action against the Ospreys in September 2017.

Sean O’Connor in Guinness PRO14 action against the Ospreys in September 2017.

The post Incoming Player Profiles appeared first on Munster.

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Match Report: Vodacom Bulls 28-14 Connacht

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Another tough day at the office for Connacht after a disappointing 28-14 defeat to the Vodacom Bulls at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria.

It’s a third defeat in-a-row for the Western province, having already lost their opening two matches which were both away to Ulster and the defending BKT URC Champions Stormers.

Coming up against the Bulls was always going to be a tough test and the home side looked to show their power early but were denied by the TMO after mauling over the try line where Johan Grobbelaar’s try was ruled out.

Not long after though, Connacht looked to attack and stretch the home sides defence but there was one pass too many when John Porch under pressure by Canan Moodie tried to set Oran McNulty off only for the ball to be misplaced, ending up with Bulls full-back Kurt-Lee Arendse who ran from his own half where no one could catch him from scoring the opening try.

The Bulls widened their advantage on the ten minute mark, second-row Walt Steenkamp powered his way to an inch of the try line where scrum-half Zak Burger finished off to make it Bulls 14-0 Connacht.

As the game went on Connacht started to get their hands more on the ball but couldn’t find a break through with some errors creeping into their game as they looked to claw back the lead.

Nearing 20 minutes on the clock, the Bulls were reduced to 14-men when Marco van Staden was sent to the sin-bin for a dangerous tackle. Despite having the extra man Connacht couldn’t make the numbers count.

Connacht showed plenty of glimpses of what they can do but the Bulls defence were ready to suffocate any danger that came their way.

The half came to an end with the Bulls getting their third try of the game, Marcell Coetzee bashing his way over the line, Goosen adding the extra two points to leave it 21-0 at the break.

Connacht showed a lot more promise and composure on the ball in the second forty but it was the Bulls who got the opening score of the half when Connacht were turned over. From the attack, second-row Ruan Nortje punched through a gap in the Connacht defence where he released Burger for his second try of the game. Another conversion by Goosen made it 28-0.

As the half went on the home side saw two further yellow cards, a high tackle from Goosen on Kieran Marmion just after 50mins and then Jan-Hendrick Wessels for a late hit on David Hawkshaw in the 65th minute.

Playing with an extra man Connacht took advantage, tries from Jack Aungier, his second of the season which both came in South Africa. Aungier showed great strength to power over from close range. Hawkshaw converted with ten minutes to go.

Hawkshaw making his first start for the club got his own try when blocking down Chris Smith’s attempted clearance, he gathered the loose ball before going under the posts. The conversion made it 28-14 to the home team which would be the final result.

Up next for Connacht is a massive Interprovincial-derby at home to Munster.

Images & Content from – Connacht Rugby


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Dweba on DHL Stormers debut against Edinburgh

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Springbok hooker Joseph Dweba will make his DHL Stormers debut in the Vodacom United Rugby Championship match against Edinburgh at DHL Stadium on Saturday.

Dweba’s inclusion is one of six changes to the team for the encounter with the Scottish outfit, which kicks off at 14h00 on Saturday. CLICK HERE to buy your match tickets now.

His fellow Springboks Damian Willemse, Deon Fourie and Salmaan Moerat all come straight into the starting line-up, with Herschel Jantjies among the replacements and Marvin Orie taking the captaincy.

There are two positional switches in the backline, with Dan du Plessis at outside centre and Suleiman Hartzenberg shifting to the wing in place of the injured Seabelo Senatla, while up front Neethling Fouche comes in at tighthead prop.

DHL Stormers Head Coach John Dobson said that the team is looking forward to their first match at DHL Stadium since the Vodacom United Rugby Championship Grand Final last season.

“It is great to have a few of our top players back from national duty and they have all slotted in seamlessly this week.

“We are all looking forward to getting out there at DHL Stadium in an early game which should be a great occasion for everyone,” he said.

DHL Stormers: 15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Suleiman Hartzenberg, 13 Dan du Plessis, 12 Damian Willemse, 11 Angelo Davids, 10 Manie Libbok, 9 Paul de Wet, 8 Evan Roos, 7 Hacjivah Dayimani, 6 Deon Fourie, 5 Marvin Orie (captain), 4 Salmaan Moerat, 3 Neethling Fouche, 2 Joseph Dweba, 1 Ali Vermaak.
Replacements: 16 Andre-Hugo Venter, 17 Brok Harris, 18 Sazi Sandi, 19 Adre Smith, 20 Ernst van Rhyn, 21 Junior Pokomela, 22 Herschel Jantjies, 23 Sacha Mngomezulu.

Content & Images from – Stormers Rugby


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Reed to start clash with Sharks

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Fly half Will Reed will make his first appearance of the season when Dragons RFC face Cell C Sharks in the BKT United Rugby Championship at Rodney Parade on Saturday (kick-off 7.35pm).

The Men of Gwent make a total of three changes to the side that defeated Munster Rugby in the first game of the season on home soil last weekend.

Reed is the only change to the back line, with JJ Hanrahan ruled out of the game as a precaution after picking up a knock in training. Hanrahan is expected to be fit for Round 4.

Lock Ben Carter is recalled to partner captain Will Rowlands in the second row. Carter’s return sees George Nott move into the back row to occupy the blindside flanker jersey.

The final change is a first start of the season for Wales international hooker Elliot Dee, with Bradley Roberts moving to the bench.

The return of lock Joe Davies is the only other change among the replacements.

Head Coach Dai Flanagan said: “Sharks will be physical and there is a lot of quality in their side. We need to make sure we match the physicality they bring and stay true to ourselves.

“It was a big result and performance by us against Munster last time out. Now we must replicate it, match it and ensure we get better week by week.

“We need to step forward as a squad again and if we you stay true to ourselves, work hard, we’ll be in this fight together.”

Dragons RFC: Angus O’Brien, Rio Dyer, Sio Tomkinson, Jack Dixon, Ashton Hewitt, Will Reed, Rhodri Williams; Aki Seiuli, Elliot Dee, Lloyd Fairbrother, Ben Carter, Will Rowlands (c), George Nott, Taine Basham, Ross Moriarty.

Replacements: Bradley Roberts, Rob Evans, Chris Coleman, Joe Davies, Aaron Wainwright, Lewis Jones, Max Clark, Jordan Williams.

Unavailable: Leon Brown (neck), Sam Davies (knee), Ollie Griffiths (back), JJ Hanrahan (knock), Rhodri Jones (calf), Harri Keddie (ankle), Aneurin Owen (hamstring).

Dragons RFC can confirm lock Huw Taylor and back row Lennon Greggains are set for loan spells in the English Championship.

Taylor, 26, has moved to Goldington Road to link-up with Bedford Blues while Greggains, 23, will have a spell with Hartpury University RFC to gain valuable game time.

Greggains joins team-mate Ellis Shipp, 25, who has been on loan at Hartpury this month. The hooker has started two of the club’s opening three league fixtures.

Content & Images from – Dragons Rugby


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