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Peel Praises Hundred-Cap Hero McCloskey

Ton.

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Photo by Athena Pictures/Getty Images

Stuart McCloskey put in a man of the match performance as Ulster edged out Ospreys 8-0 at Brewery field in Bridgend.

After 47 minutes, it was McCloskey who broke the deadlock with a crucial try, beating two defenders before finding full-back Pete Nelson with a clever off-load out of the back door. Nelson was stopped just short of the line but the ball was spread wide and McCloskey was in the right place to touch down in the corner.

Speaking after the game, Ulster backs coach, Dwayne Peel, heaped praise on McCloskey’s performance – his 100th cap for the province.

“He’s huge – a great leader for us. Anyone who watches us knows how big he is for us. He never takes a step backwards and he carries a lot of ball for us. He’s probably battered after every game but fair play to him. He’s key for us.”

Peel was quick to emphasise it is not only McCloskey’s physical presence, but his skill with ball-in-hand that makes him so dangerous in attack.

“If you watch him in training, his catch-pass stuff is excellent. He can pass a ball as well as anyone. Showing that in games, people are surprised but they shouldn’t be. He’s one of the best ball-players in our squad, definitely.”

Michael Lowry also earned plaudits from Peel, starting his first game at out-half for Ulster, having previously been primarily deployed at full-back.

“I actually thought he was excellent in his first start at 10. He’s played a lot at 15 but I thought he controlled the game really well. I’m really pleased with him. He’s brave. I thought defensively he was excellent.”

Following his impressive display pulling the strings for Ulster, unfortunately, Lowry was forced to leave the field early following a head injury.

Overall, Peel was happy with his team’s defensive performance but acknowledges his side could have been more clinical.

“It wasn’t a classic but held onto the ball well in that first half especially. We were disappointed not to finish in the corner but we created enough. We held onto the ball and we put a good Ospreys defence under pressure. They play a difficult style to break down.”

“We’re a bit disappointed not to score a few more tries but in terms of making chance, we’re pretty happy.”

“We were disappointed after the Treviso draw at home because we felt we didn’t fire any shots. Tonight we fired shots and that’s the biggest thing for me.”

Ulster now find themselves in 4th place in the Pool B table of the PRO 14. With an important block of games against Zebre, Dragons and Southern Kings to come during the Six Nations window, McFarland’s men will be hoping to pick up more crucial points as they look to secure an all-important top-three spot.


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Pete Wilkins: Preview to Benetton

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This Saturday Connacht Rugby welcome Benetton Rugby to The Sportsground. For Connacht, its a first home game since late October and one they will be aiming to win.

Head coach Pete Wilkins spoke to media before the game where he was first asked about last weekend’s defeat to Munster.

“Saturday wasn’t good enough and the scoreline reflects that”

“I’ve got mixed feelings from it, in the first half we put ourselves in contention but I don’t think Munster should have had ten points if we had been on our game as effectively as we should have been and in the second half I feel we gave them too many blocks of momentum”

“The key stat for me on Saturday was we got into their 22 six times and they got access to our 22 twelve times”

“Going into the game we were fairly even when it came to that stat per game”

The Connacht set piece has been very impressive so far this year and while Pete is happy with how that area is going he still believes there’s room for improvement.

“The forwards are showing great appetite for work and they have been top class but as a unit they know they haven’t reached their best yet which excites me so much”

“Lads are coming into training each day looking at specific details as to where they can improve and get the best out of each other”

“As coaches we’re seeing real competition in our scrum sessions, the lads are really pushing each other which is what’s needed to reach the level we want”

Benetton make their way to Galway on Saturday and the Italian side have had a decent season to date so Pete is expecting a massive challenge and one that should excite the players.

“Its an interesting challenge because they are pretty low in the rankings for possession, territory and points scored but yet they are very effective on their day and that is down to their goal kicking and taking opportunities when they come”

“If your discipline is poor they will punish you and they have powerful forwards who can cause damage”

“For us, we need to be effective when we have the ball and be clinical”

The Connacht team for Saturday will be named on Friday.

Tickets for the game are available HERE

Images & Content from – Connacht Rugby


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Young wants Cardiff to take another step forward against Bulls

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Dai Young has challenged Cardiff to take another step forward when they face Vodacom Bulls on Saturday night (18:00 GMT).

The Blue and Blacks go into the encounter on the back of an impressive 35-0 victory over Cell C Sharks in Durban – the first time a Welsh team had secured a BKT United Rugby Championship triumph in South Africa and the first time the Sharks or any of their predecessors at Kings Park had been nilled since 1972. 

Young hopes his players will be brimming with confidence when they run out at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday and he has challenged them to deliver a consistent level of performance as they continue their progression. 

He said: “You like to think you are going to grow in confidence and belief after good performances in exactly the same way as bad performances can draw that out. 

“I thought we played really well and you can’t take that away from the players – they did an excellent job and tactically we played the conditions really well. 

“We went into the game knowing the first 25 minutes was huge and whatever team got a lead in those conditions, it was always going to be hard for the other team to turn that around. 

“But we are not going to get ahead of ourselves. It was a great performance but one that is gone now and history. Hopefully we can take some confidence and belief out of it but we know we have another massive challenge on the weekend.”

While Cardiff have now notched up victories over the Sharks and reigning URC champions the DHL Stormers in the current campaign, their Arms Park defeat to the Bulls last season remains vivid. 

Young recalls the Pretoria-based outfit as the biggest side he has ever encountered and indeed they are currently second in the URC stats for metre gained, clean breaks and point scored. That points to the Bulls balance between size and attacking prowess and Young knows his side will need to be even better this weekend. 

He continued: “I’m sure there are a few more bumps in the road but we will take that performance and it should give us a lot of belief and confidence. The realism kicks in now and we know what a formidable outfit the Bulls are. 

“They are probably in a better position than the Sharks at the moment so we know we have to be better again to get anywhere near them.

“They don’t hide the way they want to play. Most South African teams play a very similar way. They have huge physicality up front and I remember playing them at the Arms Park where it was definitely the biggest pack of forwards I’ve ever come across. They were just huge.

“They also have real pace behind. They are comfortable moving the ball and playing from deep and they are comfortable sitting behind the ball. 

“If you look back to our game at the Arms Park we had a really good first half against them, caused lots of pressure and got ourselves in a decent position but in the second half they just shut the game down. They went to their scrum and driving line out, forced penalties, won field position and just out powered us. 

“We know they can play both ways and we have to bring the performance from the weekend. The target for us as a team is to consistently put these kind of performances in and if they are enough on the day great and if we’re not, we’re not. 

“I don’t want to get involved in this emotional rollercoaster that if you lose you’re really down and if you win you’re really up. Every game has to be about individual and collective improvement and that’s what we have talked about this week.”

Content & Images from – Cardiff Rugby


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Global broadcast information – Leinster Rugby v Ulster Rugby

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Leinster Rugby takes on Ulster at the RDS on Saturday, 3rd December in round 9 of the 2022/23 BKT United Rugby Championship with a 7.35 pm kick-off.

The Official Leinster Supporters Club (OLSC) has compiled the following broadcast information:

Ireland: LIVE on TG4 from 7.00 pm and Viaplay Sports 1 from 7.00 pm
UK:  LIVE on Viaplay Sports 1 from 7:00 pm
Italy: LIVE on Discovery + (please check your local area for coverage time)
South Africa: LIVE on SuperSport Rugby (please check your local area for coverage time)
USA: LIVE on FloSports (please check your local area for coverage time)
Canada: Sportsnet holds the broadcasting rights to show URC games in Canada, however, four games per round featuring the Irish Province teams will be available through URC TV as well should you
wish to use our service instead.
Australia: URC TV
New Zealand: Spark holds the broadcasting rights to show URC games in New Zealand, however, four games per round featuring non-South African teams will be available through URC TV as well should you wish to use our service instead.
Twitter: @leinsterrugby – a Twitter account is not required to view updates
For options outside of the above, check out URC TV which is an online streaming service giving fans the opportunity to watch every game live and on demand.
Full list of URC TV availability HERE

Images & Content from Leinster Rugby


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