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Minimal changes for Leinster



The Cell C Sharks take an almost unchanged line-up into Saturday’s Vodacom United Rugby Championship clash against Leinster, as they look to finish their three match European tour on a high.

It’s still early in the competition and the Cell C Sharks know they are not yet the finished product, but there is regular and meaningful improvement each week.

Assistant coach Warren Whiteley, speaking from the team’s base this week admitted that, “We’ve been working really hard over the last two weeks or so, we were disappointed in certain aspects of play in the first game [against Zebre] particularly, but we felt we made improvements against the Dragons.

“However, we haven’t reached the standards we’ve set for ourselves so there is an emphasis on improvements.”

There are just two changes to the starting line-up, both rotational, with Hyron Andrews and Reniel Hugo swapping jersey numbers in the second row, likewise Sikhumbuzo Notshe and Phepsi Buthelezi at eighthman.

With a Cell C Sharks loose-forward trio that leans towards mobility and athleticism, rather than big, heavy ball-carriers, Notshe fits the bill perfectly, alongside flankers James Venter and Dylan Richardson.

“As coaches, we’re really excited with what we’ve seen [with the loose trio] over the last couple of weeks, it’s been phenomenal, and we know there’s going to be even more improvement in that department as we progress in the competition.

“What’s most important for us is the cohesion of the players which is really important and that does take time, especially in a loose trio and they’ll find each other the more they play together.

“And we have our Springboks as well as guys coming back from injury who will join the squad. But it’s really all about cohesion, guys playing together and finding combinations that work best for the team.”

Although the weather in Ireland can be wet, for the Cell C Sharks, it’s more about how they want to play, rather than being dictated to by good or bad weather.

“We have a specific game model that we trust and believe in,” Whitely explained, “and we want to keep it simple. The boys will make certain decisions on the day and in the moment, according to our game model and the plan for that weekend.”

Looking at the opposition, he admitted that it’s going to be a real test for the Cell C Sharks, but a challenge they embrace fully.

“We know Leinster have a powerful pack and a very strong maul – amongst other things – and this week is another great opportunity for us to keep improving.”

Cell C Sharks

1. Ntuthuko Mchunu

2. Kerron van Vuuren

3. Thomas du Toit (c)

4. Justin Basson

5. Hyron Andrews

6. James Venter

7. Dylan Richardson

8. Sikhumbuzo Notshe

9. Grant Williams

10. Boeta Chamberlain

11. Thaakir Abrahams

12. Ben Tapuai

13. Rohan Janse Van Rensburg

14. Werner Kok

15. Aphelele Fassi


16. Dan Jooste

17. Dian Bleuler

18. Carlu Sadie

19. Reniel Hugo

20. Phepsi Buthelezi

21. Cameron Wright

22. Nevaldo Fleurs*

23. Marnus Potgieter

*Denotes possible debut for the Cell C Sharks, if the player comes on from the bench.

Content & Images from – Cell C Sharks Rugby


Squad Update | Preparations Continue For Glasgow At Thomond



The Munster squad continued their training schedule at the HPC on Monday morning as preparations continue for Saturday evening’s vital URC clash against Glasgow Warriors at Thomond Park (5.15pm).

It is our final home game of the URC regular season with tickets available here.

See the state of play in the URC ahead of round 16 here.

On the senior international front, Peter O’Mahony and Conor Murray helped Ireland to a Grand Slam-clinching victory over England in Dublin on Saturday.

Tadhg Beirne, Craig Casey, Jack Crowley and Dave Kilcoyne also featured during the successful campaign. Joey Carbery, Gavin Coombes, Keith Earls and Roman Salanoa were part of the squad at different stages over the past two months.

Ben Healy made his Scotland debut as a replacement on Saturday, steering the team to victory over Italy at Murrayfield.

Academy player Ruadhán Quinn (Old Crescent) and fellow Munster men Brian Gleeson (Garryowen) and Danny Sheahan (UCC) helped the Ireland U20s to their second Grand Slam in-a-row with a victory over England at Musgrave Park on Sunday. Gleeson picked up his second Player of the Match award of the campaign after another excellent display.

Academy man Evan O’Connell (UL Bohemian) and Jacob Sheahan (UCC) also featured over the campaign with Academy player Jack Oliver (Garryowen) and Conall Henchy (DUFC) part of the squad.

Craig Casey, Gavin Coombes, Jack Crowley, Dave Kilcoyne, Roman Salanoa and Ben Healy have returned to training at the HPC ahead of Munster v Glasgow.

Peter O’Mahony and Conor Murray are on a down week after both playing in all five games of Ireland’s 6 Nations campaign and will return to the HPC next week.

There is good news on the injury front for Tom Ahern (shoulder) and Mike Haley (ankle) as they both return to full team training this week.

On the Academy front, there is a similarly positive injury update for Edwin Edogbo (ankle) as he also returns to full team training.

Continuing to rehab: Niall Scannell (shoulder), Liam Coombes (thigh), Jeremy Loughman (thigh), Keith Earls (calf), Tadhg Beirne (ankle), Liam O’Connor (neck), Chris Moore (neck), Eoin O’Connor (shoulder), Paddy Kelly (head), Jack Daly (knee), Andrew Conway (knee).


URC Round 16 – Saturday, March 25

Munster Rugby v Glasgow Warriors, Thomond Park, 5.15pm; Buy tickets here

Images & Content from Munster Rugby

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Munster Rugby Unveil Plans For Limerick Centre of Excellence



Munster Rugby have submitted a planning application to Limerick City and County Council for the development of a new sports facility in Rosbrien, Limerick.

The proposed new facility would be built primarily for Munster’s underage and development sides, and the surrounding community with local clubs, schools and community groups set to benefit.

Incorporated into the plan is an indoor full-size pitch; a state-of-the-art artificial full-size pitch and grass training pitch, both of which will be floodlit; a gym; clubhouse and administration building. The proposal also makes provision for an amenity walkway, greenspace, secure bicycle parking and limited parking.

This development is hailed as a major expansion of the sports facilities available to the grassroots game and the sporting community across the province, and it will be available for use to a wide range of clubs, schools, and organisations in the region and beyond.

The province, with a base for the elite game at the High Performance Centre in the University of Limerick, is already progressing with a Centre of Excellence in Musgrave Park with work to commence later this year, and last year partnered with Fethard Town Park in establishing a Regional Centre of Excellence.

Commenting on the exciting plans, Munster Rugby CEO Ian Flanagan said, “We are always looking to develop our infrastructure across the province in ensuring we can develop and resource our grassroots game leading to further participation in sport.

“This is an ongoing strategic objective of ours and we believe a facility such as this, in the heartland of Limerick, will hugely benefit the local clubs and schools and ensure young people have access to world class facilities.

“The plans we are submitting will not only benefit rugby, but this development will also improve the sporting and recreational facilities available to the surrounding community and we are hopeful of a positive planning outcome.”

Images & Content from Munster Rugby

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Squad Update | Preparations Begin For Glasgow At Thomond



The Munster team have started preparations for our URC round 16 clash against Glasgow Warriors on Saturday, March 25, at Thomond Park (5.15pm).

You can purchase a Family Pack of four tickets for €40 with adult tickets from €20 available here.

Fourth-placed Glasgow are two points and one place ahead of Munster in the URC table.

See the state of play in the race for the URC play-offs here.

There were four Munster players in action for Ireland and the Ireland U20s in Scotland at the weekend with both sides aiming to win a Grand Slam on home soil next weekend.

Peter O’Mahony and Conor Murray started for the Ireland senior men as they won at Murrayfield to make it four wins from four ahead of Ireland v England in Dublin next Saturday (5pm).

Player of the Match Ruadhán Quinn and Evan O’Connell were the Munster Academy members in action for the Ireland U20s along with fellow Munster men Brian Gleeson and Danny Sheahan. Quinn scored a hat-trick of tries and Sheahan also touched down.

Their Grand Slam decider against England at Musgrave Park takes place on Sunday at 5pm with the game selling out weeks in advance.

In player news, it was confirmed last week that Malakai Fekitoa will join Benetton at the end of the season on completion of his Munster contract.

French club Oyonnax have announced the signing of Chris Farrell after the centre departed the province earlier this month.

Final Home Game Of Regular Season

Saturday, March 25

URC Round 16: Munster v Glasgow Warriors, Thomond Park, 5.15pm; Buy tickets from €20 here

Images & Content from Munster Rugby

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