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Leinster Battle Past Stubborn Zebre

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Photo By Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile via Getty Images

Leinster survived a comeback from Zebre with a couple of late scores of their own to run out 40-24 winners at the Stadio Luigi Zaffanella on Saturday.

With the away side naming a strong team, some thought that this could be a walk-over as Zebre currently sit bottom of Conference A and have lost all 11 of their previous meetings with Leinster.

The strength of the visitor’s side showed in the opening stages of the match and they raced into a 21-0 lead within 21 minutes.

Max Deegan scored the first try of the game after six minutes, getting over following a rolling maul. Ross Bryne converted to make it 7-0.

Another six minutes on and their lead was doubled. Young Mullingar centre Conor O’Brien was at the core of a fine passing move that ended with Byrne sending Dave Kearney in for try number two. Again, Byrne struck the extras.

Byrne then found himself scoring a seven pointer after a fine pass from Jamison Gibson-Park allowing him to touch down before he added another two points to his tally.

Zebre held through 10 minutes with only 14 men on the pitch as Jimmy Tuivaiti was sent to the bin and held Leinster scoreless through that period.

At that stage it looked as though Leinster could be heading towards a cricket score win only for Zebre to come to life in the final 10 minutes of the first-half.

A knock-on in midfield lead to Francois Brummer to score the hosts opening try, which Carlo Canna converted to make it a 14-point game.

Two minutes later and they were through again. This time Jamie Elliott intercepted and raced in for the try, Canna made it two kicks from two and it was 21-14.

In the 37th minute it looked as though Zebre had completed the most remarkable of comebacks, as Gabriele Di Giulio went over for try number three, although Canna missed the kick.

All of which meant they went in at 21-19 at half-time.

The visitors got back on track in the second-half, as man of the match, Gibson-Park was instrumental once more to get captain Scott Fardy over to secure the bonus-point. Byrne made it 28-19 with 25 minutes remaining.

On the hour mark, Zebre bounced-back again, with Brummer going in for his second try of the game and his team’s fourth, securing a bonus-point. The conversion was missed leaving the score at 28-24 heading into the final quarter.

O’Brien settled Leinster nerves in the 74th minute as he got in for a well-deserved try. The extras were missed this time but gave them a 33-24 lead.

Deegan finished what he started in the final minute. Substitute Michael Bent set-up the youngster for his second try, with Byrne kicking the conversion once more and the reigning champions marched to a hard-fought 40-24 victory.

After the game, captain Fardy spoke about his delight with winning but admitted his frustration at allowing the opposition back into the game.

“To go out to 21 nil we’re pretty disappointed in probably that second-half of the first-half, the second 20 minutes was probably not up to our standard, but we dug in there in the second-half and happy to come away from Zebre with a result,” he said.

The win means that Leinster have extended their lead at the top of Conference B to 22 points, ahead of second-placed Edinburgh, while Zebre remain bottom of Conference A with only 17 points overall.

Leinster will host the Southern Kings in their next game and hope to build on their incredible lead at the top. Zebre head to Ulster next but will take some encouragement from the spirit shown in their performance against one of the best teams around.


URC

Vodacom URC and CVC shining a light on Community Upliftment Projects

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The Vodacom United Rugby Championship are launching the URC Unity Awards on Tuesday, to recognise the great work done by players and teams within their communities and for charitable causes.

Rugby World Cup final referee Nigel Owens will be part of the judging panel that will consider the candidates and come up with two worthy winners.

The Unity Awards, which are sponsored by the CVC Foundation, are associated with Vodacom URC’s Take on Tomorrow campaign, which looks to inspire change through the power of rugby and acknowledge the impact players and teams from the 16-side league make off the field.

The programme oversees projects aimed at engaging directly with communities across the five Vodacom URC territories – Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Italy and South Africa.

To shine a light on the work players and teams are doing to uplift their communities and support their chosen charities, the Vodacom URC has now introduced the following Unity Awards.

  • The Difference Maker Award – presented to the player who has been recognised for outstanding commitment to a charitable or social cause.
  • The Community Impact Award – presented to the team whose community programme has been recognised for its impact in their region/province.

The winners of these awards will receive £5,000 from CVC Foundation to donate to their cause of choice (player) or to invest in their community programme (team).

As well as Nigel Owens, the independent judging panel is a dedicated group that also features Jane Howard, CSR Manager at CVC, Sports Broadcaster Emma Dodds and URC Head of Operations Amy Monaghan.

CVC CSR Manager Jane Howard said: “The CVC Foundation is delighted to be able to support the Vodacom United Rugby Championship in their efforts to shine a light on the incredible work the clubs and players are doing to make an impact in their communities.

“As a member on the Judging Panel, I have read through the submissions and have been so impressed by the incredible work being done. CVC applauds the Vodacom URC clubs and players in their efforts.”

The nominees for the awards will be announced on Tuesday, 6 December, with the winners to be revealed on Wednesday, 21 December. The award presentation to the winning club and player will then take place ahead of Christmas derby games in Round 10.

United Rugby Championship CEO Martin Anayi said: “We are acutely aware of the fantastic community programmes that our clubs have established locally and the deserving causes that our players contribute to as well. As a league, our mission is to celebrate and highlight their successes across our platforms so that our fans can appreciate their impact away from the pitch.”

About Take On Tomorrow

The Take on Tomorrow programme is inspired by the mission to celebrate the diversity and national cultures of the URC while using the league’s platform to champion for a healthier, stronger, unified next generation. 

The programme will advance and celebrate the power of URC rugby as a tool for social change by using our international platform to support the efforts of clubs, players, fans and leading charities as they change lives of young people across the five territories in which we play.

Content & Images from – Vodacom Bulls Rugby


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URC

Hooker Roberts joins tour in South Africa

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Wales international hooker Bradley Roberts has officially linked up with the Dragons RFC tour party in South Africa.

Roberts, who featured for Wales in the international Test with Georgia this autumn, flew out to link-up with the Men of Gwent on Monday.

Dragons have now travelled south as they prepare to face reigning champions the DHL Stormers in Round 9 of the BKT United Rugby Championship this Saturday afternoon (kick-off 12noon UK).

Head Coach Dai Flanagan said: “Bradley met up with the squad in Johannesburg and joined us on the flight to Port Elizabeth. He will be around the match day squad.

“It’s great to have him with us. The more quality players we can have around the group the better and we expect a few more to join us for the European game.

“Several boys were involved in three or four games for Wales so it’s important they get some down time.

“With the intensity of international rugby, we must manage them for the rest of the season.

“It’s the mental stress and expectation that takes it out of you so they will go away and take some time before they come back into the group in the coming weeks.”

Content & Images from – Dragons Rugby


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URC

Squad Update | Preparations Begin For Edinburgh Away

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The Munster squad started preparations at the HPC today ahead of Friday night’s URC round 9 game away to Edinburgh at the Dam Health Stadium.

Along with the 23-man squad involved in the win over Connacht, there were 10 Munster players in AIL action for their clubs at the weekend.

Patrick Campbell, Conor Phillips, Eoin O’Connor, Dan Goggin and Fionn Gibbons featured for Young Munster in their win over Dublin University with Phillips scoring the match-winning try.

Ethan Coughlan and Kieran Ryan helped Shannon defeat UCD with Ryan touching down in the victory.

Jack Oliver was in action for Garryowen as they were defeated by Lansdowne.

In Division 1B, James French lined out for Highfield in their loss to Malone.

In Division 2A, Evan O’Connell was in action for UL Bohs as they were defeated by Blackrock College.

On the injury front, Mike Haley failed his HIA on Saturday night and will enter the graded return to play protocols.

Peter O’Mahony passed his HIA but was removed due to a facial/blood injury and will return to training this week.

Jack Crowley will go for a scan today for a lower leg/calf complaint.

Continuing to rehab: Conor Murray (groin), 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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