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Pete Wilkins: Big challenge awaits on Friday

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This Friday Connacht welcome Leinster to The Sportsground in Round 5 of the BKT United Rugby Championship for what will be a mouth watering Interprovincial-derby (k/o 7.35pm).

Connacht got their season up and running after last weeks win over Munster in Galway. While there were brilliant individual performances along with the teams performance, there is still plenty of improvement to be made for the boys in green.

Connacht Head coach Pete Wilkins spoke to the media about the mood in the camp heading into Friday.

“Its a different feeling we’re having going into work on a this week for sure”

“We have the spring in the step and bounce coming off the back of a good weekend”

“At the same time though, win or lose we look at the things we need to do better after every game”

“We can acknowledge the good bits and parts that played a key role in helping us win but at the same time we are aware of what’s needed to keep improving”

“With the opposition this week we know we’ve got to be better again”

It was a much needed win for the Western province after three tough games away from home with nothing got. Pete spoke about what changed for Connacht last Friday to the previous games played in the BKT URC.

“I think our accuracy to exploit space when we saw it and pull the trigger to get those rewards for our efforts was a big part in not getting anything in the first three games”

“I think we were more successful with our final passes on Friday which we weren’t in the previous games”

“These first four weeks were a growing process for us but we can’t use that as an excuse as we’ve got to keep getting better and get results”

Pete discussed about some of the big positives from Connacht’s play against Munster were.

“I think our game management was very good particularly around the half-way during half-time when we used a bit of fuel our decision making was good”

“Having Jack Carty back is great and when you have one of the best players in Ireland on the field that’s going to help your controlling of the game, plus Conor Fitzgerald at full-back and David Hawkshaw at 12 really adds to that”

“We had three sets of eyes and three brains there looking at how we use the ball”

With all eyes now solely focused on the challenge on Leinster, what is Pete expecting to see from Leo Cullen’s men?

“Its a big challenge”

“All aspects of your game need to be in good order against them and then you need to make sure you nullify their strengths”

“We’re well aware of what there strengths are, whether that’s the team or individual players”

“When Leinster attack and defend there is a relentless effectiveness and accuracy about them”

“They are a team that wan’t to play possession, so that means at some point they will concede turn overs but we’ve got to apply the right kind of pressure to get those turn overs”

Tickets for Friday’s game against Leinster can be got HERE

Images & Content from – Connacht Rugby


Champions Cup

Squad Update | Munster Prepare For Toulouse At Thomond

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The Munster squad started their training week on Tuesday ahead of Sunday’s Champions Cup opener against Toulouse at Thomond Park (3.15pm).

A bumper crowd will attend the fixture with tickets from €25 available here. A Family Pack of 4 tickets costs just €50.

11 Munster players were in AIL action for their clubs at the weekend.

In Division 1A, Dan Goggin, Conor Phillips, Eoin O’Connor and Fionn Gibbons featured for Young Munster as they beat Shannon at Thomond Park with Phillips among the tries.

Ethan Coughlan, Kieran Ryan and Darragh McSweeney lined out for Shannon.

Cian Hurley and Jack Oliver lined out for Garryowen as they were defeated by Ballynahinch at Dooradoyle.

In Division 1B, James French helped Highfield defeat UCC at Woodleigh Park.

In Division 2A, Ruadhan Quinn was a try-scorer for Old Crescent as they defeated Ballymena.

Evan O’Connell featured for UL Bohemian as they were beaten by Navan.

On the injury front, Conor Murray returns to training this week after recovering from the groin injury he sustained on his 100th Ireland cap against South Africa last month.

Mike Haley is expected to complete his return to play protocols this week with a view to returning to full team training.

Simon Zebo sustained a low-grade knee injury against Edinburgh and will begin rehabilitation with the medical department. He will be unavailable for the coming weeks.

Continuing to rehab: Stephen Archer (ankle), Tom Ahern (shoulder), RG Snyman (knee), Fineen Wycherley (shoulder), Paddy Kelly (head), Jack Daly (knee), Jack O’Sullivan (knee), Andrew Conway (knee), Keynan Knox (knee).

Tickets

Champions Cup Round 1

Sunday, December 11

Munster Rugby v Stade Toulousain, Thomond Park, 3.15pm; Buy tickets here

URC Round 10

Monday, December 26

Munster v Leinster, Thomond Park, 7.35pm; Buy tickets here

URC Round 12

Friday, January 6

Munster v Emirates Lions, Musgrave Park, 7.35pm; Buy tickets here

Champions Cup Round 3

Saturday, January 14, 2023

Munster Rugby v Northampton Saints, Thomond Park, 3.15pm; Buy tickets here

URC Round 14

Friday, February 17, 2023

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

URC Round 15

Friday, March 3, 2023

Munster Rugby v Scarlets, Musgrave Park, 7.35pm; Buy tickets here

URC Round 16

Saturday, March 25, 2023

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

Images & Content from Munster Rugby


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URC

Rowlands to leave at end of season

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Dragons RFC can confirm that Wales international second row Will Rowlands will leave the club at the end of the current season.

The 31-year-old, who joined the Men of Gwent ahead of the 21/22 season and has made 16 appearances for the club, has agreed terms with a club outside of Wales for the 23/24 season.

Dai Flanagan, Head Coach of Dragons RFC, commented: “We’re obviously disappointed to be losing a player of Will’s quality, but despite the best efforts of ourselves, Will’s representative and the WRU over the last 12 months or so, we were unable to reach agreement on terms for the future.

“Since arriving in Gwent, Will has been a hugely positive influence on our group, captaining the side and being named Wales’ player of the year.

“We know that he’ll continue to give his absolute all to the club for the remainder of his time with us and he will always be welcome at Rodney Parade.”

Will Rowlands also commented: “I am sad to be leaving Dragons RFC at the end of this season but would like to thank everyone involved with the club for their support over the past 18 months.

“It has been a pleasure to play at Rodney Parade and I know that the future is bright for this club. It’s home to some truly talented players and I really believe in the vision of Dai and the other coaches. I have no doubt that we are just beginning to see the seeds of that in the performances of the team, and that they will go from strength to strength.

“It is still my great hope that I will be able to represent my country in the World Cup 2023, if called upon.”

Content & Images from – Dragons Rugby


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Owen Williams agrees deal with Ospreys as injury replacement

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Today, the Ospreys announced that Owen Williams will join the team as an injury replacement in a deal that will see the ex-Worcester man join the club as cover for Gareth Anscombe, who was regrettably injured on international duty.

With the injury to Gareth Anscombe and Stephen Myler also currently out injured, the agreement will give the Ospreys much needed depth at the fly-half position.

Capped three times at international level, Williams provides invaluable experience and leadership qualities that will contribute massively to the team as the second half of the season approaches.

Head Coach Toby Booth said: “For us to compete at the highest level, it is hugely important that we have quality depth where we need it. Signing Owen not only provides injury cover for us, but also improves us a group.

“Jack Walsh has done a great job stepping up at 10 in some huge games for us over the last few weeks, but ultimately with Gareth’s injury, we needed to reinforce in that area. Owen can play 10 or 12 and brings a wealth of experience with him from his time in Premiership. I have no doubt that he will make a positive impact in a variety of areas for us.”

Excited about the prospect of joining the Ospreys, Owen Williams said: “I’m really looking forward to getting started here, the Ospreys have a rich history and a great squad that are capable of going on and becoming a real force.

“I spoke with the coach before making my decision, and it was clear to me that he had a plan for how I will fit in to the wider vision for the team going forward. It’s been a while since I’ve played my rugby in Wales, but I can’t wait to be back in the region where it all started for me.”

The Ospreys are set for their first Heineken Champions Cup fixture against Leicester Tigers on Sunday, the same team where Williams made over 100 appearances and scored over 600 points during his time there.

Image & Content Source – Ospreys Rugby


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