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Leo Cullen on the return to pre-season

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Pre-season training ahead of the 2022/23 season began this week with the Leinster Rugby squad having their first pitch session at Energia Park on Monday.

Leinster Rugby Head Coach, Leo Cullen says that the entire group is looking forward to the new season. “Everyone is very excited to get back in. I think for all of us watching the Ireland games over the last three weeks, seeing how well so many of the guys did out there, in achieving something incredibly special, it was great to see that.

“So, for a lot of the players here, some guys were very close to going on that tour and narrowly missed out. So, they want to get back and get working and try to improve.

“We also have a host of younger players here with us as well. So a lot of academy players that would have strong aspirations to go on and achieve great things in the game. So, first day back and it’s good to see the guys in pretty good shape overall.”

There were also a number of new faces at the first training session of the year and Cullen is looking forward to seeing what they can add to the group. “It’s great to welcome the new players as you need that bit of energy.

“Charlie Ngatai is a player that’s played for the All-Blacks and he’s been in France with Lyon for the last few years. He’s a player that we have followed quite closely. He’s a more mature player, which I think is good for the group that we have here at the moment.

“He can pass on some of his experience, and hopefully he’ll be able to deliver some big performance to the team as well. I think it was a great acquisition for us to be able to get Charlie in.”

“Jason Jenkins has played for South Africa in the past. A huge, physical man. So we’re looking forward to him getting up and running as well.

“We’ve also had a few guys coming in from AIL clubs, which I think is important because some guys have gone well during the club season. So we’ve a couple of guys in to help boost numbers and it’s also a great opportunity for them to showcase what they can do as well.

 “We also have the young guys coming into the academy, as is normally the case, but we have a number of those Academy players still to return because they were away with the Irish U-20’s over the summer.

“So it’s a very nice mix that we have. Every year you’re here, you’re a year older. But, the players seem to stay at the same age!”

There was also a well known face back in the blue of Leinster as Sean O’Brien began his new role as Contact Skills Coach.

“It was great to see him deliver his first coaching session, and hopefully he has a bright future in coaching as well.” Says Leo Cullen.

“He had such a great career as a player, and hopefully he will be able to transfer some of the great knowledge that he has accumulated in the game and he’ll be able to pass that onto the younger guys, but some of the older guys as well who would have such great respect for him.

Hopefully he goes on to have a great career in coaching. We’re looking forward to see what he can add to the group.”

Leinster Rugby will play Harlequins in London in a pre-season friendly on Friday, 2 September, with a 7.30pm kick-off time.

Images & Content from Leinster Rugby

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Munster Squad Update

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Munster’s Ireland internationals have all commenced their pre-season training programmes at the HPC.

Tadhg Beirne, Joey Carbery, Craig Casey, Gavin Coombes, Keith Earls, Jeremy Loughman, Conor Murray, Peter O’Mahony and Niall Scannell were all part of the Ireland squad for their tour to New Zealand.

Along with the nine senior internationals, six Greencore Munster Rugby Academy players have completed their off-season after featuring for the Ireland U20s over the summer.

Year two Academy players Tony Butler, Ethan Coughlan and Patrick Campbell return to the HPC with Academy recruits Fionn Gibbons, Darragh McSweeney and Kieran Ryan joining their new team-mates.

In player news, Shannon RFC prop Luke Rigney has been taking part in the pre-season programme on a short-term training contract with the province.

Pre-Season Fixtures

Adult 2-match bundle: €25 – Click here to buy

Friday, August 26

Munster Rugby v Gloucester, Musgrave Park, 7.30pm; Click here to buy tickets

Friday, September 2

Munster Rugby v London Irish, Musgrave Park, 7.30pm; Click here to buy tickets

Images & Content from Munster Rugby

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Cardiff confirm captain for 2022-23 season

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Josh Turnbull has once again been named Cardiff Rugby’s captain ahead of the 2022-23 season. 

The versatile forward was named club captain last season, having led the Blue and Blacks on numerous occasions previously.

Turnbull has now made 171 first team appearances for Cardiff, including 14 last season, and is closing in on the URC appearance record of 252.

He retains the captaincy honour once again as Cardiff look to bounce back from a disappointing United Rugby Championship season last time out. 

Turnbull said: “To be captain of this rugby club is a massive honour. There’s a rich tradition of captains here and when I got the job last year, we mentioned all the names who’ve gone before me.

“I’m chuffed to get it again and to lead this group of boys but I’m under no illusions of what kind of job I’ve got to do. First and foremost, I’ve got to make sure I’m playing well and make sure i’m in the squad and playing.  

“We’ve got a real good, strong and competitive back five of the scrum and we’ve made some quality signings in that area as well, so first and foremost I have to get my own my own form right.  

“It was disappointing from my end how last season finished – thumped twice by the Scarlets, beaten well by the Ospreys, Sarries as well and then obviously going out Treviso and finishing that game off was real tough to take.  

“After everything we went through last year, (looking back) I think (subconsciously) we just wanted to get it over and done with as quickly as possible. But what I’ve really pleased about is the way the boys have come back in refreshed, everyone’s been really energised and wants to get into work and get on with the new task in front of us. 

“We have to put a bit of respect back into that jersey and this squad is ready to do that.” 

There are plenty of other players who have regularly led Cardiff in the past, including the likes of Kristian Dacey, Ellis Jenkins, Josh Navidi and Lloyd Williams, while Thomas Young has led Wasps on numerous times.

With these players and the usual leadership roles in key positions, Turnbull believes he has plenty of support in the role and will lead by example rather than being overly vocal.

He continued:  “I probably see myself more as a captain that leads by example and by my actions rather than having to say too much. 

“There’s plenty of leaders within the squad who can do that. The game drivers in terms of nines and your 10s, your defensive captains, your attack captains. So, I’ll try and lead by what I do on the field and what I do in around the environment. Melon was pretty similar to that, he leads by example.”

Cardiff kick-off the URC season against Munster on Friday, September 16 (7.35pm), and will warm up with pre-season friendlies against Gloucester on September 2, and Zebre Parma on September 9.

As pre-season preparations intensify and the focus on rugby sharpens, Turnbull expects the ante to rise continually, and he is relishing the opener against the Irish outfit at what he hopes will be a packed Arms Park.

He added: “It’s very rewarding when you start getting closer to the games because all that hard work starts to come to fruition. We’re going into week six of pre-season and we’re all eager to keep the momentum going and start building towards Gloucester game in a couple of weeks when we have that first pre-season hit out. 

“Friday night under the lights in Arms Park, it doesn’t get much better than that. Everyone wants to be involved in that first fixture, everyone is going to be working real hard now the next couple of weeks to get in there.  

“We had a real good, ding-dong battle with Munster for about 60 minutes last season over there and we’ve got a little bit of form on this pitch against the Irish teams so hopefully, we can take that into the start the season against them.” 

Match tickets for the pre-season friendly against Zebre on Friday, September 9, and the first FIVE home games of the URC season are now available. Click here to purchase match tickets of Season Memberships.

Content & Images from – Cardiff Rugby

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Cardiff Rugby Board Meeting Summary – July 2022

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Corporate | 8th August 2022


Cardiff Rugby Board Meeting Summary – July 2022

The previous minutes were approved and actions discussed.

The board were joined by Malcolm Wall, PRB Chairman, to review and discuss the latest 2022/23 funding model proposal from the WRU. 

Richard Holland’s Executive Summary:

  • WRU Premiership proposal to reduce from 12 teams to 9 was presented and discussed
  • Feedback workshops have been held with all non-rugby staff to review positives and negatives from an off-field perspective. 
  • Ongoing work to further develop a positive and effective culture throughout the organisation
  • The rugby sub-board held a 21/22 season review meeting with Dai Young. 
  • Dai has also been holding ‘think tank’ sessions with the rugby department throughout pre-season
  • Pentwyn and CAP updates were given
  • PRB funding proposal impact was discussed
  • Discussion of issues regarding supporting women’s rugby

 

Neil Bryan’s Finance Summary:

  • 2021-22 quarter 4 (for the 11 months ended 31st May 2022) profit and loss, balance sheet and cashflow 
  • Still awaiting discussions between the PRB and WRU to conclude to establish Cardiff Rugby’s cash position moving forward

 

Rhys Blumberg’s COO’s Summary:

  • Kat Czekaj has resigned from her position as Key Account Manager. Gavin Vaughan-Evans has proven to be an asset to the commercial team and has been promoted to Commercial Manager to oversee the entire department
  • Sponsorship – new agreement secured with JAR Site as Front Row Club sponsor 
  • Two Circles conference feedback and subsequent actions
  • Matchday experience feedback – report from second visit yet to be received

 

Nadine Griffiths’ Foundation Summary:

  • Summer schedule has seen the delivery of 52 events and counting
  • Staffing update and recent individual achievements
  • Commercial, grants and fundraising update, including new commercial agreement secured with BBI and £25,000 donation from the Wasps Legends golf event at La Manga (supported by the Foundation)
  • Delivery and engagement overview

 

Supporters:

  • Representatives would be sought for the Sustainability and Accessible Stadium working groups
  • Pre-board meetings now established involving all supporter groups
  • Potential changes in supporter group structure in autumn
  • Supporter groups tasked to identify KPIs for Supporter Advisor

 

For the May Board Meeting Summary click here.

Content & Images from – Cardiff Rugby

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