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Leinster Overcome Under-strength Ulster Side

Leinster have continued their perfect start to the season with yet another brilliant win and another high-score

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Leinster have made it 12 wins from 12 at the start of the season with a win over rivals Ulster in the PRO14 at the RDS tonight. 

Leinster’s Max Deegan and Scott Penny both scored a brace of tries to add to five-pointers from Robbie Henshaw, Fergus McFadden, Cian Kelleher and Rob Kearney to wrap-up a comprehensive victory. 

Leinster had the perfect start to the game as Deegan scored the opening try of the night when he powered over from close range after just over three-minutes. Harry Byrne sent the conversion between the posts to make it 7-0. 

Ulster came flying back and were camped in the Leinster 22, as the home side conceded penalty after penalty, with the visitors refusing to take the three-points from a kickable position. 

They were rewarded for their patience when they spread the ball wide to winger Angus Kernohan from a scrum and he bolted over the line to touch-down. Bill Johnston sent over a lovely conversion to level the scores with 10 minutes on the clock. 

However, just as Ulster had done, Leinster hit back right after the restart and held onto the ball for the next five minutes, edging closer and closer to the try-line, before eventually flanker Penny drove over for his team’s second try. Byrne made it two from two from the tee to make it 14-7. 

Things got worse for the northern province heading towards the end of the first quarter as centre Matt Faddes was sent to the sin-bin for a high tackle on Leinster debutant Tommy O’Brien. 

Leinster took full advantage of the extra man and had their third try with 23-minutes on the clock as they powered forward, going through the phases before Penny again pushed over the line from close-range. Byrne smashed the extras over from the right-hand side of the posts to stretch the lead to 21-7, with Ulster full-back Rob Lyttle going off injured following the kick. 

The home side had the bonus-point wrapped up before the half-hour mark as they took the ball up the field before Byrne chipped a perfectly weighted ball over to the right side of the pitch to Henshaw, who collected and strolled over for the fourth try. Byrne slotted a brilliant kick over from the right-touchline. 

Ulster got another try on the board when Deegan sent a poor pass to Jamison Gibson-Park from a scrum near half-way and from there Faddes picked up the loose ball, sprinting forward and out-running the Leinster defence to score. Johnston hit the extras to cut Leinster’s lead to 28-14 with 36-minutes gone. 

Although it was Leinster that had the last laugh of the half as Byrne showed some fantastic dancing feet to break through the opposition defence, before getting tapped to the ground, but got the pop-pass away. From there McFadden had the easy task of picking the ball up from a ruck in front of the try-line and bursting over. Byrne couldn’t add the extra two, but the hosts went in 33-14 up at the half-time whistle. 

Leinster started where they left off in the first-half at the opening of the second-half, as they burst into the Ulster half before Byrne sent a long-pass out to Kearney, who stepped inside from the right-wing and barrelled over for the try. Byrne made no mistake with the kick to make it 40-14 with only five-minutes gone in the second-half. 

Four-minutes later and they had their seventh try as McFadden showed some brilliant vision and skill as he took a quick penalty in his own half, kicking the ball from the right-wing to the left. Henshaw plucked the ball out of the sky and sent the ball left to Kelleher, who raced forward to score his try. Byrne made it six kicks from seven making it 47-14 with half and hour to go. 

Ulster got a lucky third-try of the game as they approached the hour-mark, as Penny sent a loose pass toward the left-wing which Craig Gilroy intercepted and bolted over the line. Johnston again scored the conversion to make it 47-21. 

With 63-minutes on the clock Leinster were in once again as Deegan picked from the back of a scrum and charged under the posts for his second try of the night. Byrne converted once more. 

The scoring continued as the away side went over through Greg Jones which secured a bonus-point for them. Johnston maintained his 100% record from the tee with his fourth conversion of the game to make it 54-28. 

Ulster’s fight-back continued as Jones went over for another try with eight minutes left. Johnston kicked a brilliant conversion from the left of the posts to cut into the lead late on. 

Josh Murphy was shown a yellow-card after an accumulation of penalties from the home side in the final minute. From the resulting scrum replacement scrum-half darted over for his side’s sixth try of the game. Johnston converted with the final kick of the match to leave it at 54-42. 

The win pushes Leinster further ahead at the top of Conference A with eight wins from eight in the PRO14, while Ulster will be encouraged by their late rally from their youngsters. Next up for Leinster is a trip to Munster on December 28th, while Ulster face Connacht the day before as they continue the inter-provincial derbies over the Christmas period. 

Player Ratings

Leinster Starting XV:

Rob Kearney (7), Fergus McFadden (8), Tommy O’Brien (7), Robbie Henshaw (8), Cian Kelleher (7), Harry Byrne (9), Jamison Gibson-Park (7); Peter Dooley (7), Sean Cronin (7), Andrew Porter (7), Scott Fardy (7), Josh Murphy (8), Will Connors (7), Scott Penny (9), Max Deegan (9)

Replacements (7)

Ulster Starting XV:

Rob Lyttle (5), Craig Gilroy (7), Matt Faddes (6), Angus Curtis (6), Angus Kernohan (6), Bill Johnston (7), David Shanahan (7); Andrew Warwick (6), Adam McBurney (6), Tom O’Toole (7), David O’Connor (6), Alan O’Connor (6), Matthew Rea (6), Nick Timoney (7), Greg Jones (7)

Replacements (8)


URC

Ulster ready for Dragons in Origin Round at Kingspan Stadium

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Ulster ready for Dragons in Origin Round at Kingspan Stadium

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Assistant Coach, Dan Soper, has named the Ulster team to take on Dragons RFC at Kingspan Stadium in Round 11 of the BKT United Rugby Championship (KO 7 35pm).

The province returns to URC action at home for the first time since the Interprovincial derby victory over Connacht at Kingspan Stadium before Christmas.

Ulster Rugby Academy graduate, James Hume, will captain his province from a centre partnership that sees him paired with 21-year-old Jude Postlethwaite.

Springbok and double Rugby World Cup winner, Steven Kitshoff, starts at loosehead prop and is joined by hooker, Tom Stewart, and fellow prop, Tom O’Toole, who returns to the team for the first time since being called up to Ireland Head Coach Andy Farrell’s Guinness Six Nations squad.

The second row sees young talents Cormac Izuchukwu and Harry Sheridan come together as the two locks.

The back row is unchanged from last time out against Ospreys, with David McCann, Marcus Rea and Nick Timoney retaining their places.

Ulster opts for the experienced half-back partnership of John Cooney and Billy Burns.

Academy products, Mike Lowry and Ethan McIlroy, start on the right and left wing respectively.

Will Addison completes the back field as he starts at full-back.

The bench sees a welcome return to action for lock, Kieran Treadwell, who returns after an injury sustained against Harlequins in January.

John Andrew, Andrew Warwick, Scott Wilson, Kieran Treadwell, Sean Reffell, Nathan Doak, Luke Marshall, Jacob Stockdale form the replacement options from the bench.

Ulster Rugby v Dragons RFC, Origin Round 11, BKT United Rugby Championship, 7 35pm, Saturday 2 March, live on Viaplay and BBC Radio Ulster.

With the URC celebrating the people and communities behind the professional players competing in the league through its Origin Round this week, Ulster Rugby will be celebrating the important role of clubs and schools in player development with a programme of events at Saturday’s home game. For more info, visit: https://ulster.rugby/content/ulster-rugby-celebrates-urc-origins-round-against-dragons

(15-9) Will Addison (Upper Eden RUFC), Ethan McIlroy (Ballynahinch RFC), James Hume (C) (Instonians RFC), Jude Postlethwaite (Lisburn RFC), Mike Lowry (Dromore RFC), Billy Burns (Walcot RFC), John Cooney (Gonzaga College);

(1-8) Steven Kitshoff (Maties RFC), Tom Stewart (Belfast Academy), Tom O’Toole (Ashbourne RFC), Cormac Izuchukwu (Tullamore RFC), Harry Sheridan (Civil Service NI RFC), David McCann (Cooke RFC), Marcus Rea (Ballymena RFC), Nick Timoney (Blackrock College).

Replacements: John Andrew (Ballymena RFC), Andrew Warwick (Ballymena RFC), Scott Wilson (Dromore RFC), Kieran Treadwell (Chipstead RFC), Sean Reffell (Bromley RFC), Nathan Doak (Lisburn RFC), Luke Marshall (Ballymena RFC), Jacob Stockdale (Ballynahinch RFC).

Images & Content – Ulster Rugby


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URC

Darcy Graham injury update

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Darcy Graham injury update

Darcy Graham will be out of action for three to four months with the Scotland internationalist set to undergo surgery to repair a groin injury next week.

Edinburgh Rugby Head Coach Sean Everitt said: “We really feel for Darcy [Graham] because he is a player that puts his heart and soul into rugby. He loves playing for this club while he is a proud Scotsman who takes great pride in representing his country.

“We’ve got every confidence Darcy will work his way back from next week’s surgery with the same drive and determination in which he trains and plays.”

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Match Preview: Ospreys

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Match Preview: Ospreys

Get set for Friday night’s crucial BKT United Rugby Championship clash against Ospreys at Hive Stadium (1 March, kick-off 7.35pm) with our match preview.

GET TICKETS

Tickets can be purchased right up until kick-off HERE. Gates open at 6pm ahead of a 7.35pm kick-off.

WHAT’S ON

There’s plenty on the go at Hive Stadium as match night returns to the capital!

  • Live music from Dead Sea Souls
  • Support our Services activity in the Fan Zone
  • Live URC action in the Clubhouse
  • Get a photo with the Calcutta & Doddie Weir Cups in The Clubhouse

Read our What’s on Guide HERE.

TEAM NEWS

Mark Bennett makes his 100th appearance for the club as one of four changes made to the capital XV for the visit of Ospreys.

Mark Bennett takes the place of James Lang who drops to the bench, with Matt Currie moving to the 12 jersey.

Ben Vellacott – who skippers the side – starts in place of Ali Price, with the British & Irish Lion selected on the bench.

Sam Skinner returns from Scotland camp taking the place of Marshall Sykes, who is also named among the replacements.

Tom Dodd starts at blindside flanker in place of Jamie Ritchie who is retained by Scotland.

Full team news can be read HERE.

WHAT’S BEEN SAID

Head Coach Sean Everitt said: “We’re excited to be back home at Hive Stadium for what is a hugely important fixture for the club.

“With the log so tight and teams around us playing each other this weekend, a win is imperative in maintaining our push for a top-eight finish.

“Ospreys are playing with no fear, and they’ll travel north with plenty of confidence, but we’re at home where we love to play under the lights. It’s Friday night and the Edinburgh supporters will be out in full force – it’s set to be a brilliant occasion.”

He continued: “We’re delighted to see Mark [Bennett] make his 100th appearance for the club. He’s been a brilliant servant to Edinburgh Rugby and thoroughly deserves a start on a special night for him personally.”

THE STORY SO FAR

Its’s tight at the top…

With a 7-3 record, Edinburgh sit in fifth place in the Championship on 30 points.

With a 6-4 record, Ospreys sit in seventh place in the Championship on 29 points.

That makes Friday night’s clash at Hive Stadium massive in terms of each team’s aspirations for a top eight finish.

Ospreys are flying high having won 5-in-a-row, while Edinburgh have lost just one game at home so far this season and will be hoping for a massive win to keep momentum going heading into the business end of the year.

LAST TIME OUT

Edinburgh claimed a decisive 45-21 victory over the Welsh region in the final home game of last season – check out highlights below:

DID YOU KNOW

Edinburgh Rugby’s only two defeats in the last seven rounds of the BKT United Rugby Championship were at home to Benetton in Round 6 and away at Glasgow in Round 8.

Edinburgh’s only defeat in their last five fixtures against Welsh regions in the Championship was 14-42 at Scarlets in February 2023.

Ospreys have won their last five first team fixtures since their 5-38 defeat at Montpellier in Round 2 of the EPCR Challenge Cup.

Ospreys only victory outside of Wales in the BKT United Rugby Championship since October 2021 was on their visit to Zebre in January 2023.

Ospreys have won just once in Scotland since March 2017: 25-10 against today’s opponents, Edinburgh, at Scottish Gas Murrayfield in October 2020.

Edinburgh won 45-21 the last time the two sides met, at Hive Stadium in April 2023.

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Content & Images from – Edinburgh Rugby


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