Connect with us

URC

Owens to start for Scarlets..but not at hooker ?‍ ?‍♂️

The hooker has been asked to make an interesting positional change ahead of the fixture v Dragons.

Published

on

Photo by Andrew Surma/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Scarlets captain Ken Owens has been handed a different jersey than his usual No.2 for this weekends clash v Dragons.

The Scarlets are in the middle of an injury crisis particularly in the back-row so the 60 capped Welsh hooker has been asked to stand in at No.8 this weekend.

Scarlets were already missing Blade Thomson (concussion), Uzair Cassiem (shoulder), Aaron Shingler (knee), Lewis Rawlins (shoulder) and Josh Macleod (foot), Following the loss to Cardiff Blues last weekend they have been depleted even further with James Davies (foot) and Will Boyde (ribs) both unavilable.

Former Wales U20s captain Tom Phillips only just returning from concussion issues, so Owens is selected at 8 alongside Ed Kennedy and 20-year-old Dan Davis – the first time Wales’ first-choice hooker has started a game in that position in his professional career.

This hasn’t been the first experimental positional change coach Wayne Pivac has been forced to make this season. Hadleigh Parkes has ran at 10 for the last couple of games for the Scarlets. He returns to his normal in the midfield replacing injured Kieran Fonotia with Dan Evans coming back in to play 10.

Embed from Getty Images

Wayne Pivac still has no place in his team for flying winger Steff Evans. Pivac as honest as ever explained why he continues to omit the prolific try scorer from his team.

“At the moment it is about being a bit ball tough or tougher in the contact area.
“He has got the highest turnover rate and teams are targeting him with the high ball and that’s plain for everyone to see.

“He is working on those areas of his game and we would like to think he will be joining our ranks again after some more hard work behind the scenes which is ongoing.”

As for the Dan Jones selection at 10, Pivac again explained his reasoning.

“We went with Hadleigh over the last two weeks after looking at what the opposition we were playing and what was coming down that channel,” he added.

“One of our 10s is probably at the bottom of the competition for tackle completion and the other one was not far off.

“It was costing us in games and we went with Hadleigh to shore up that part of the game and it did and he plugged that gap quite nicely.

“The other aspect is game management. We have had a chat with Dan and he knows he played far from the perfect game when he came on last weekend.”

Refreshingly honest from the soon to be Welsh coach.


Champions Cup

Academy Trio Stepping Up & Contract News

Published

on

Munster Rugby and the IRFU are pleased to announce that Academy trio Tony Butler, Ethan Coughlan and Mark Donnelly will be promoted to the senior squad in the summer.

We can also confirm that hooker Scott Buckley, who graduated from the Academy to the senior squad in 2022, has signed a contract extension.

Out-half Butler, scrum-half Coughlan (both 21) and 22-year-old prop Donnelly have all signed on for the next two seasons after impressing over their three years in the Academy.

Butler and Coughlan become the first Ennis RFC players to earn senior Munster contracts.

As previously confirmed, Academy lock Edwin Edogbo (21), who also came up through the Munster Youths system with Cobh Pirates, will graduate from the Academy to the senior squad on a two-year deal next season.

Buckley, Butler, Coughlan and Donnelly all made their Munster debuts in the famous Champions Cup win over Wasps in December 2021.

Tony Butler in action against Dragons.

Tony Butler in action against Dragons.

Ennis out-half Tony Butler has earned his first senior contract after a very productive three years in the Academy.

He has made six senior appearances to date, including two starts so far this season against Dragons and Connacht.

A Grand Slam winner with the Ireland U20s in 2022, Butler now plays his AIL rugby with Young Munster having previously lined out for Garryowen.

He captained Ennis at underage level, teaming up with Coughlan in the half-backs as they enjoyed success in the Munster U16 and U18 Clubs competitions.

Scrum-half Ethan Coughlan is enjoying an excellent campaign with three starts so far this year and eight senior appearances in total since joining the Academy.

He enjoyed great success alongside Butler with Ennis RFC at underage level before captaining the Ireland U18 Clubs team.

He also won a Grand Slam with the Ireland U20s in 2022 and plays his AIL rugby with Shannon.

Prop Mark Donnelly has already made nine senior appearances for Munster after coming up through the ranks at Midleton RFC, Midleton College and CBC.

He was a Pinergy Munster Schools Senior Cup winner with CBC in 2019 and featured for the Ireland U20s in the 2021 Six Nations.

He joined the Academy that summer before making his Munster debut along with Buckley, Butler and Coughlan against Wasps in December 2021

Along with his nine senior Munster appearances, Donnelly has also played regularly for Garryowen in the AIL over the past three years.

Mark Donnelly at Munster training.

Mark Donnelly at Munster training.

Hooker Scott Buckley (23) has signed a one-year contract having made 25 appearances for Munster to date.

A product of the Munster Rugby Academy, Buckley started out with Kinsale RFC before captaining CBC to the Pinergy Munster Schools Senior Cup in 2019.

He was Player of the Match against Wasps on his Munster debut and made nine appearances last season as Munster won the URC title.

A UCC clubman, he scored the match-winning try against Crusaders at Páirc Ui Chaoimh earlier this month.

Scott Buckley scores a try against Leinster in pre-season.

Images & Content from Munster Rugby


Continue Reading

URC

Squad Update Ahead Of Zebre At Virgin Media Park

Published

on

The Munster squad are preparing at the HPC ahead of Friday night’s URC Round 11 clash against Zebre at Virgin Media Park (7.35pm).

There are a limited number of tickets available here.

25 players lined out in the thrilling encounter against Harlequins on Friday night, including eight Academy players and two young club players. Scroll down for match highlights.

The squad is boosted by the return of Tom Ahern, Craig Casey and Jeremy Loughman from international duty ahead of Friday night’s clash in Cork.

On the injury front, Academy back-row forward Ruadhán Quinn has completed the return to play protocols and is available for selection.

Following the game against Harlequins on Friday night, Academy duo Shay McCarthy (ankle) and Daniel Okeke (elbow) will go for scans and are unavailable this week.

Continuing to rehab: Simon Zebo (knee), Patrick Campbell (shoulder), John Hodnett (finger), Paddy Patterson (knee), Jack O’Donoghue (knee), Dave Kilcoyne (shoulder), Diarmuid Barron (foot), Jean Kleyn (eye/knee), Liam Coombes (shoulder), Roman Salanoa (knee).

Video | Harlequins v Munster Highlights

Tickets

URC Round 11: Friday, March 1

Munster v Zebre Parma, Virgin Media Park, 7.35pm; Buy final tickets here

U20s 6 Nations Round 5: Friday, March 15

Ireland v Scotland, Virgin Media Park, 7pm; Buy final tickets here

URC Round 13: Saturday, March 30

Munster v Cardiff Rugby, Thomond Park, 7.35pm; Buy tickets here

Women’s 6 Nations Round 3: Saturday, April 13

Ireland v Wales, Virgin Media Park, 4.45pm; Buy tickets here

URC Round 16: Saturday, May 11

Munster v Connacht, Thomond Park, 5.15pm; Buy tickets here

URC Round 18: Saturday, June 1

Munster v Ulster, Thomond Park, 5.15pm; Buy tickets here

Images & Content from Munster Rugby


Continue Reading

URC

Dan McFarland departs Ulster Rugby

Published

on

Dan McFarland departs Ulster Rugby

3 minutes ago

News

Ulster Rugby and the IRFU can confirm that Dan McFarland will step down from his position as Head Coach.

After joining the club in 2018, McFarland has been the longest-serving Head Coach for the province in the professional era, with the club reliably securing play-off rugby in URC and EPCR competitions during his time at the helm, including reaching the PRO14 final in 2020.

Ulster Rugby CEO, Jonny Petrie, said:

“We would like to thank Dan for his determination in driving forward the professional squad over the past six seasons, and I would like to wish him and his family the best for the future on behalf of all at Ulster Rugby.”

The change to the Senior Men’s coaching set-up is with immediate effect, with Ireland U20s Head Coach, Richie Murphy, to link-up with the province as interim Head Coach until the end of this season following the Under-20s Six Nations. Bryn Cunningham, Head of Rugby Operations and Recruitment at Ulster Rugby, will also assume greater management responsibilities within the performance function during this time.

Assistant Coach, Dan Soper, will oversee operations next week ahead of Ulster facing Dragons at Kingspan Stadium in Round 11 of the BKT United Rugby Championship.

Petrie continued: “With Richie coming to Ulster in the coming weeks, ahead of the squad travelling to South Africa, our focus will be on consistently performing to the best of our abilities at this crucial time of the year.”

Images & Content – Ulster Rugby


Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Trending