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McFarland’s Men Produce Inspired Performance to Secure Home Play-Off

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Photo By Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile via Getty Images


A committed display by Ulster on Friday saw them overwhelm the hosts, Edinburgh, to secure a bonus point win and book a home play-off game in the knock-out stages of the Guinness Pro14.

McFarland acknowledged that his side’s disappointment following last weekend’s away defeat to Glasgow served as motivation ahead of Friday night’s important clash with Edinburgh.

“We had a big debrief on Monday, there was a bit of misery and a lot of humble pie, which was deserved. We came out, took what we could learn from it and moved on.”

Indeed, Ulster’s coach attributes his side’s focused and fierce performance as the product of hard work and mental preparation in the week preceding Friday’s must-win game.

“We knew we had a massive task this week, to come to our fellow Champions Cup quarter-finalists and win. In the end, the bonus point was a testament to the hard work and the mentality of the guys during the week and what they put on the pitch against a really good Edinburgh team.”

McFarland also highlighted the improvement made in Ulster’s set-piece which provided his side with a solid platform from which to attack.

“We were a bit messy last week around our set-piece but there was a big improvement. We did a lot of work on the scrum in the week. We knew that was going to be titanic — it was not going to win the game for us but could certainly lose the game if we let Edinburgh get on top of us.”

“We also needed possession. Last week, it did not look good, but we did play some really good rugby. The bottom line is that when you lose a lot of lineouts, as we did then, you cannot get a foothold in the game. In this game, we were consistently able to get a foothold.”

Ulster’s pack was bolstered by the return of man-of-the-match Iain Henderson, who put in a typically powerful and aggressive performance, helping the Ulster pack to dominate.

Ulster’s power up-front was matched by the ruthless finishing of Ulster’s young wingers, Rob Lyttle and Robert Baloucoune who both took their tries well.

McFarland praised his team’s performance, noting that the pride and purpose Ulster played with on Friday night signals a growing confidence in the squad.

“It is really important for the club, we are a team that wants consistently to compete for championships and to do that, you have to be in play-offs.

“There is the dual aspect of also getting Champions Cup qualification, which is done now. That is very important as well.”

Ulster’s big-game nous saw them in control and dominant in every department for most of the game. McFarland will hope his side are able to recreate this formidable form in their remaining important games this season – a challenge the squad will relish.

“We enjoyed the preparation for our Champions Cup quarter-final and we’ll enjoy preparing for a PRO14 quarter-final.”

Ulster will now focus their preparations on a huge game against Connacht in the quarter final of the Guinness Pro14 at the Kingspan stadium on 3-4 May.

Match Highlights:


URC

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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URC

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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URC

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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