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Match Report – Harlequins 21 Leinster Rugby 26



Leinster Rugby’s young guns came and conquered Harlequins in a really competitive pre-season friendly at The Stoop.

Head coach Leo Cullen used the occasion to have a look at a host of novice professionals, while managing to squeeze out a victory from Scott Penny’s try in the final quarter.

A pinpoint kick-off by Ross Byrne forced an immediate penalty and a lineout in the corner where Jason Jenkins claimed the throw. The pack gathered around for hooker John McKee to make the line, Ross Byrne nailing the conversion in the second minute.

It wasn’t long before Charlie Ngatai and Jenkins were taking the ball up and Byrne was looking to the aerial strength of Rob Russell.

An alert block by Jamie Osborne and grab of the loose ball by Max O’Reilly allied to Ngatai’s cover tackle kept Harlequins in check.

Dave Kearney had to stop lock George Hammond and Will Connors was a nuisance at the breakdown in a watertight defence.

All the while, Leinster were stretched in defence and, from a scrum, Lewis Gjaltema shot between defenders for a fine try, converted by Tommy Allan in the 18th minute.

Leinster looked to Byrne’s boot and the lineout to recover territory where back-to-back turnovers by Vakhtang Abdaladze and Alex Dombrandt provided counter-attack options.

The agility of Ross Molony out of touch on both sides of the throw was eye-catching in allowing the three-quarters to move the ball left and right.

A tremendous piece of skill by O’Reilly stalled a ‘Quins foray forward. But, the patience of Lennox Anyanwu in the centre was forcing Leinster into making decisions in defence.

O’Reilly did well to deal with Dombrandt on the charge. The ball was recycled at speed for Allan to feed Cadan Murley with a superb pass, Allan’s extras making it 14-7 in the 34th minute.

No matter, Leinster bounded forward through the footwork of O’Reilly and the support of Rhys Ruddock and Scott Penny to generate much-needed field position.

A hard-line by Ngatai was supplemented by Michael Milne’s first carry for a try, converted by another replacement Sam Prendergast, on his senior debut, for 14-all at the break.

A period of kicking from both sides in tandem with a number of errors was followed by the kind of lineout athleticism of Alex Soroka and Max Deegan which almost led to a Leinster lead.

It came along soon enough when Deegan’s dummy, acceleration and offload allowed scrum-half Nick McCarthy to slide over for 19-14 in the 51st minute.

Straight away, Harlequins were back on the front-foot. Tom Lawday’s ball out the back was taken to the right corner by Nick David, converted by Allan for a two-point edge in the 55th minute.

The clutch hands of Brian Deeny at the ruck, Prendergast’s lovely tumbling kick and Osborne’s chase and capture of Tyrone Green forced a five-metre lineout.

Soroka was secure from Lee Barron’s throw. Martin Moloney careered away from the maul and Penny, back on, grounded the try for Prendergast to convert for 26-21 in the 68th minute.

The thin Blue line was strong enough to repel the next attack and McCarthy had the gas to hold off Will Evans from a chip.

Increasingly, Leinster were having to work without the ball as the home club

looked to give their supporters what they wanted.

However, an absolute rocket-launcher of a kick from Osborne turned defence into attack and they had the composure to close out the game.

Scorers – Harlequins: L Gjaltema, C Murley, N David try each; T Allan three cons. Leinster: J McKee, M Milne, N McCarthy, S Penny try each; S Prendergast two cons; R Byrne con.

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Ulster ready for Dragons in Origin Round at Kingspan Stadium



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:

(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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Darcy Graham injury update



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



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.


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


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.


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.


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.”


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.


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


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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