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PREVIEW: Leinster Make Changes for Cheetahs

Leinster have switched up their team for the weekend with some big names coming back in

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Photo By Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile via Getty Images

Leinster have welcomed back some stars for the visit of the Cheetahs to the RDS on Friday at 19 35.

Leo Cullen has been able to recall the likes of Rhys Ruddock, Dave Kearney and Adam Byrne to the starting XV as his side prepare for the Cheetahs challenge.

The front-row sees a complete overhaul to last weekend’s 59-19 win over the Southern Kings with Peter Dooley, Bryan Byrne, and Michael Bent replacing Ed Byrne, Ronan Kelleher and Andrew Porter.

Byrne and Porter take up places on the bench.

Ross Molony retains his place once more following a fine run of form but is joined by Scott Fardy in the second-row who comes in for Mick Kearney.

Captain Ruddock is at six, with Josh Murphy moving to the bench, while Max Deegan and Caelin Doris continue in the back-row to complete the pack.

Jamison Gibson-Park is back to partner Ross Byrne in the half-backs, with scrum-half Hugh O’Sullivan taking the No 21 jersey for this weekend.

Conor O’Brien switches back to 12 after being at 13 last week and is partnered by Rory O’Loughlin, with Noel Reid heading to the bench.

The back three sees Fergus McFadden go to 11, with Adam Byrne coming in at 14, and Dave Kearney returning at full-back. James Lowe is out of this week’s team while Barry Daly, who was at full-back last weekend, is the 23rd man this time around.

With Leinster’s next game not for another three weeks and the conclusion of the 6 Nations before then Rory O’Loughlin has spoken of his views on the past few weeks.

“It’s a nice way to finish this block. I think there’s been a smaller group around here for the last month probably and a lot of academy lads have gotten to train with us a consistent basis and a good few have got to play with us,” he said.

He also talked about his hopes to finish this block of games on a high.

“I’m looking forward to getting a good crack in front of the home crowd and putting in a bit of a performance,” he said.

While Leinster have already secured a semi-final place thanks to their incredible lead at the top of Conference B, the Cheetahs have named a side in hope of bouncing back into the play-off places in Conference A.

They currently sit in sixth but are only six points off Cardiff in third and will take encouragement in knowing that they defeated Leinster 38-19 in their only previous meeting.

Leinster will be looking to extend their 22-point lead at the top of their conference before heading into this break and have named a strong team to do so, however the Cheetahs will be looking to make it two form two when they face the reigning champions.

6 Nations

Wales & Cardiff star to retire at 27

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Cardiff Rugby fullback Hallam Amos will retire at the end of the season to focus on a career in medicine.

The 27-year-old joined Cardiff ahead of the 2019-20 season having previously come through the ranks at the Dragons, where he spent nine years.

He recently completed his clinical medical exams and has informed the club and Welsh Rugby Union of his intention to hang up his boots in June.

Amos said: “After a decade of professional rugby, the 2021/22 season will be my last. I’ve experienced a lot in rugby and have been fortunate to go to two Rugby World Cups, a Commonwealth Games, several Six Nations and I’ve had a lot of great times in the regional game.

“I’m very grateful for the incredible experiences I’ve had but the time has almost come to face a new challenge. I am happy with what I have achieved and telling Dai and Cardiff, and Wayne (Pivac) and Wales, early so they can plan for the future sat a lot easier with me.

“It’s always been my intention to finish when I complete my degree and this season aligns nicely with the final year of my medical studies, so a perfect time to transition from pitch to hospital.

“Throughout my years combining university with a rugby career I’ve had plenty of support – from the WRU, from the Dragons for the first few years of my career, from Cardiff Rugby more recently, and from Cardiff University itself – and I’ll always be thankful for their willingness to accommodate both aspects of my life.

“Particular thanks go to Dai and Wayne who have been understanding over the last couple of weeks as I’ve talked to them about the thought process behind my decision.

“Retiring at 27 will definitely be strange but I’m fully committed to Cardiff Rugby for the rest of the season and hopefully I can finish on a high over the next few months.”

The full-back has made 32 appearances since joining the Blue and Blacks and has taken his tally of international caps to 25.

Cardiff Director of Rugby, Dai Young has led the tributes to the Cardiff medical student and commended his decision to retire on his own terms and with a clear education and plan for the future.

Young said: “Obviously it will be disappointing to lose a player of Hallam’s quality and he has plenty of rugby left in him but you can only admire his decision.

“Not many players get to go out on their own terms and to switch from rugby to a full-time career in medicine sets him up for a long and fruitful career.

“Hallam has worked incredibly hard to juggle rugby and his studies up until now and has achieved a huge amount in the game both at regional and international level.

“He will remain an important figure for us for the remainder of the season and can play without the pressure of the decision hanging over him. For now, the focus is on Cardiff and enjoying his rugby and next summer we will wish him all the very best for the future.”

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Premiership

Wasps sign Munster & Edinburgh players short-term loan deals

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Wasps are delighted to announce that Alex McHenry and Patrick Harrison have joined the Club on short-term deals from United Rugby Championship sides Munster Rugby and Edinburgh Rugby respectively.  

McHenry, a 24-year-old centre, will provide cover for Malakai Fekitoa while he is out with a shoulder injury, while Harrison will provide vital cover at hooker with Gabriel Oghre unavailable.

The 6ft 2in Irishman McHenry, came through the Munster Academy and was capped by Ireland U20 in 2017. McHenry also featured for the Ireland 7s side during the following season. The Christian Brothers College product captained Munster U19s in 2015.

19-year-old Harrison, made his Edinburgh debut against Dragons at the Principality Stadium in March 2020 at the age of 18, becoming the youngest hooker in the club’s history.

That day, he also became the third youngest debutant in PRO14 history – and Edinburgh’s fourth youngest debutant of all time. Harrison made his first start for the Scottish side in the Guinness PRO14 Rainbow Cup clash against Ulster in June 2021.

Wasps Men’s Head Coach Lee Blackett said: “We are delighted to bring Alex and Paddy on board. They will provide vital cover for us, while we are without a number of first team squad players.”  

McHenry added: “I am delighted to get the opportunity to play in the Gallagher Premiership.

“Wasps play a great brand of rugby and I’m looking forward to playing my part in that.”

Harrison said: “I am excited to come down and play some rugby in the English Premiership.

“Wasps are a famous Club, and it is an honour to have joined them.”

Tickets are available for our next Gallagher Premiership home games online by clicking here or by calling the Wasps Ticket Office on 02476 786 411.

Source – Wasps Rugby

** EXCLUSIVE DAVID LLOYD OFFER FOR ULSTER RUGBY FANS **

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URC

Ulster name team to face Emirate Lions

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Photo by Andrew Surma/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The Ulster coaching team has named the match-day squad to face Emirates Lions at Kingspan Stadium tomorrow evening (7.35pm kick-off), in what will be the first ever meeting between the two sides.

Tickets for the game, priced from £25 for adults and £15 for juniors, are still available at ulsterrugby.com/buytickets.

The starting XV is unchanged to the side that defeated Benetton last Friday evening. Will Addison is selected at full-back alongside Ethan McIlroy and Craig Gilroy on the wings. Stewart Moore and James Hume form the centre partnership. Nathan Doak and Billy Burns are named as the starting half-backs.

Andrew Warwick is named in the front row at loosehead with Ulster’s latest double-centurion, Rob Herring at hooker and Tom O’Toole at tighthead prop. Sam Carter will again lead the side, and is paired with Alan O’Connor in the engine room. Matty Rea is retained at blindside, with Nick Timoney at openside and David McCann is named at Number Eight.

Kieran Treadwell makes his return from injury to the forward replacements alongside Brad Roberts, Eric O’Sullivan, Ross Kane and Sean Reidy. Mike Lowry could make his 50th appearance for the province if called upon from the bench. The other back line replacements are David Shanahan and Ben Moxham.

Ulster team to play Emirates Lions, United Rugby Championship Round 4, Friday 15 October at Kingspan Stadium, 7.35pm kick-off, live on BBC Two NI / RTÉ / Premier Sports:

(15-9) Will Addison, Craig Gilroy, James Hume, Stewart Moore, Ethan McIlroy, Billy Burns, Nathan Doak;

(1-8) Andrew Warwick, Rob Herring, Tom O’Toole, Alan O’Connor, Sam Carter (Capt.), Matty Rea, Nick Timoney, David McCann.

Replacements: Brad Roberts, Eric O’Sullivan, Ross Kane, Kieran Treadwell, Sean Reidy, David Shanahan, Mike Lowry, Ben Moxham.

** EXCLUSIVE DAVID LLOYD OFFER FOR ULSTER RUGBY FANS **

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