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International signings in line to feature in Blue and Blacks’ URC opener

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Cardiff’s new signings and international contingent are in line to feature in next week’s BKT United Rugby Championship opener against Munster at Cardiff Arms Park (Friday, September 16, KO 7.35pm).

Rhys Carré, Willis Halaholo and Lopeti Timani are all named on the bench for the final pre-season encounter against Zebre Parma on Friday, but Dai Young is set to be boosted by the presence of Taulupe Faletau, Liam Williams, Tomos Williams and Josh Adams – amongst others – for the campaign’s curtain raiser.

While Josh Navidi is set to miss out due a recent neck injury suffered in the third Test match against South Africa over the summer, the director of rugby is pleased to be able to call on a fit and firing international contingent.

Young revealed: “I’m really pleased with how the internationals have turned up for pre-season in really good condition.

“They’ve recharged their batteries but they’ve also done the work and we’re really happy with where they’re at.

“Apart from Josh Navidi they’re all – in agreement with the WRU and Wales coach Wayne Pivac – available for the Munster game and will all be involved in the 23, maybe with the exception of James (Ratti) who has a bit of a strain and probably has an outside chance of being available.

“We want to start well. It’s important after the way we ended last season that we start as well as possible. 

“Obviously, they can’t all play every game in the first block, so we will have to manage that process. But my intention would be to go as strong as we can for the first game at home.

Halaholo and new signing Timani will feature as replacements against Zebre on Friday, having recovered from recent niggles.

Young insists they will carefully manage the duo as he gave further updates on the injuries of Ellis Jenkins and fellow back row Navidi.

The former Wales prop added: “Timani has come on board, but neither him nor Willis have done too much training. They picked up little niggles and that’s why they’re on the bench.

“I don’t see them getting too much game time but we want to get them out there. 

“They’re two quality players in their own rights. They’ve had niggles, but have been training for two weeks so they’re not a million miles away.

“Ellis has had a little bit of a problematic knee or niggle during pre-season. He’s back in modified training this week but is still probably two or three weeks away from being available for selection.

“He’s dipped his toe in a little bit this week, will do more again next week and is probably three weeks away from full training if everything goes to plan.

“Josh has had two injections in his neck to settle the injury down, so the next week or so will determine where he is, because it takes a little bit of time for it to actually work.

“Realistically, even if we get the response we would like, he’s probably still around three or four weeks away. Josh could be anything from three to six weeks.”

“Everyone is confident, and he’s seen the specialist, who felt he needed two injection which had to be a week apart. Normally that takes seven to ten days to really kick in and then he can start his rehab.

“Depending on how quickly that goes will determine how quickly he comes back. But we have no reason to suggest any different.”

Another player set for his first involvement of the season is Thomas Young, who will wear the Blue and Black jersey for the first time since his summer move from Wasps.

The openside flanker starts alongside James Botham and skipper Josh Turnbull in the Cardiff back row, which kicks off his latest chapter at the Arms Park.

“It’s well documented that Thomas has been here from boy to man. When I was here before he was a ball boy, then went into the academy,” explained the director of rugby.

“That didn’t quite work out for him, but he went away and proved himself.

“The important thing, to be fair to him, was that he went to Wasps as my son but came away having scored the most tries by any Wasps forward ever.

“He’s more than made his own mark, it’s nothing to do with me.

“We’re pleased to have him back here. He’s really proud of his roots and he’s really looking forward to running out at the Arms Park again.”

Tickets are available now for Cardiff’s BKT United Rugby Championship opener against Munster at Cardiff Arms Park. Join us under Friday Night Lights at the capital on September 16 by purchasing your ticket NOW

Content & Images from – Cardiff Rugby


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Squad Update | Team News Ahead Of Zebre At Musgrave Park

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The Munster squad returned to training at the HPC today (Tuesday) ahead of Saturday’s BKT United Rugby Championship round 3 game against Zebre at Musgrave Park (5.05pm).

Buy match tickets here.

Nine Munster players are in Bloemfontein with Emerging Ireland: Thomas Ahern, Diarmuid Barron, Jack Crowley, Shane Daly, Antoine Frisch, John Hodnett, Calvin Nash, Roman Salanoa and Josh Wycherley.

As confirmed by the IRFU at the weekend, Alex Kendellen has been ruled out of the Emerging Ireland tour and will complete his return-to-play protocols.

Injury Update in association with Laya Healthcare

Jean Kleyn sustained a concussion against Dragons on Sunday and will follow the graduated return-to-play protocols.

Peter O’Mahony (ankle) is expected to return to training later this week.

Keith Earls was removed with a suspected hamstring injury. He will be further assessed by the medical team this week.

In a positive update, Rory Scannell (nose) will return to squad training this week.

Unavailable: Gavin Coombes (groin), RG Snyman (knee), Jack Daly (knee), Andrew Conway (knee).

Images & Content from Munster Rugby


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Additional terracing confirmed for October interpros

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Following huge demand for tickets, Connacht Rugby can confirm that temporary terracing will be installed for both BKT United Rugby Championship interpros against Munster and Leinster next month.

The game against Munster on Friday 7th October is set to be a momentous occasion as the club plays its first fixture on the new state-of-the-art, artificial surface.

Just seven days later neighbours Leinster visit the West of Ireland, in what will be another crucial game in the context of the overall season.

The terraces will be located at the Bohermore and College Road ends of the ground, bringing the capacity of The Sportsground up to 8,129.

Tickets for both games are on sale now at connachtrugby.ie/tickets, and supporters are urged to act quickly to avoid disappointment.

We are also now offering our fans a special October Interpros bundle. This bundle will guarantee your place in The Sportsground for these can’t-miss October games.

Images & Content from – Connacht Rugby


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Academy Update | September 2022

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We spoke to Greencore Munster Rugby Academy Manager Ian Costello last week for the first update of the new season from the Greencore Munster Rugby Academy.

New recruits Fionn Gibbons, Darragh McSweeney, Evan O’Connell, Jack Oliver, Ruadhan Quinn and Kieran Ryan have all hit the ground running and seen game-time at various levels over the past number of weeks.

19-year-old second year Academy member and UCC clubman Edwin Edogbo made his senior debut against Dragons on Sunday becoming the first Cobh Pirates player to line out for Munster in the professional era. Edwin missed all of last year due to an achilles injury but impressed in pre-season and was rewarded with a debut in Wales.

Hear the latest from Costello below.

Munster A v Connacht A last week…

“It was a good run-out. They had played a game the week before and our game against Ulster had been cancelled so they were a bit more clinical.

“We dominated possession and territory but they were more accurate, we were a little bit rusty at key times but it was a good exercise overall.”

New recruits…

“Kieran Ryan and Darragh McSweeney, the two props, are getting on really well. Ruadhan Quinn obviously hit the ground running with 78 minutes against Gloucester in pre-season, which was great for him to get a senior run-out. Evan O’Connell was released back to the Munster U19s and he played the Interpros with them and they won two out of three.

“Jack Oliver played his first game for Munster in a long time against Connacht A and he had a club run-out with Garryowen the week before. It was his first time playing in seven months so it was great to have him back as well. Fionn Gibbons had his first run-out since joining us against Connacht too.”

Academy players Tony Butler, Edwin Edogbo, Cian Hurley, Daniel Okeke, Conor Phillips getting game-time in pre-season games…

“It’s fantastic. And to have so many players away with Emerging Ireland now, it gives our lads the chance to push for a squad spot in the URC for the next three games.

“We’ll be stretched a bit at senior level with the 10 guys selected for Emerging Ireland so we’d be hopeful there will be a couple of Academy players in the mix over the next couple of weeks and anyone who isn’t in the mix will be playing with their club.

“On the injury front, Patrick Campbell (toe) was injured with the Ireland U20s over the summer and he’s a couple of weeks away.

“Daniel Okeke tweaked his hamstring in the A game last weekend so hopefully he won’t be out for too long.”

AIL season kicking off this weekend…

“The players will all go back to their clubs this week and hopefully the majority of the lads will be playing in AIL round one, if they’re not involved in the URC.

“We have been drip-feeding the lads back with their clubs so a number of guys have been training with their clubs over the last few Tuesdays so we try to keep them connected to their club as much as possible.”

Summer training camps for underage sides…

“We had a residential camp in UL over the summer. We put a lot of time, effort and resources into a three-week residential camp. We brought 15 under-20 players to train with the U19s. The U20s don’t have an Interprovincial tournament so they’re essentially the guys we’re looking at to move onto the next level. Guys like Daniel Hurley trained with them, he’s back from a cruciate injury, Shay McCarthy who had gone away with the Ireland U20s…these are the kind of guys we’re looking at long-term as well.

“We brought that group of 15 to train with 30 U19s so that was class. Off the back of those training camps, the Munster U18s won the Interpros, the U19s won two out of three so there’s a lot of good players emerging out of that and it was good to validate it with winning an Interpro as well.”

Images & Content from Munster Rugby


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