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PREVIEW: Munster Make Seven Changes for Scarlets

Strong Scarlets team too.

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Photo By Brendan Moran/Sportsfile via Getty Images

Munster and Scarlets have both made changes for their clash at Parc y Scarlets at 17 00 tomorrow.

Munster will be looking to make it eight wins on the bounce and have welcomed back a couple of key men to the starting line-up while the Welsh side have five internationals returning.

Jeremy Loughman, Rhys Marshell and John Ryan, who is back from Ireland duty, start in the front-row for the visitors.

Jean Kleyn comes back into the pack having missed last week’s game through illness and will partner captain Billy Holland in the second-row.

Making up the pack are Fineen Wycherley, Conor Oliver and Arno Botha, at six, seven and eight respectively.

The out-half pairing has been switched up once more by the Irish province with Alby Mathewson and Bill Johnston coming in at No 9 and 10.

Rory Scannell will become the youngest player to reach 100 caps for Munster, having turned 25 in December, when he lines out beside Dan Goggin in the centre.

The back-three is made up of Darren Sweetnam, Ronan O’Mahony on the wings and full-back Mike Haley, who is in fine form at the moment.

The men in red have some experienced players to call on from the bench if needed such as Stephen Archer, Tyler Bleyendaal and Jaco Taute.

Speaking ahead of the game head coach Johann Van Graan has talked about the happiness in the club with their current form but sees room for improvement.

“We’re happy, we’ve won our last seven games in a row, and we’ve won five out of our last seven away. So, we’re pretty happy with our current form, but we’ve a lot to improve on from last weekend,” he said.

On the other side, the Scarlets have been able to recall Leigh Halfpeeny, Wyn Jones, Ryan Elias, Rhys Patchell and Steff Evans from Wales duty.

Jones and Elias are joined by Werner Kruger in the front three with Josh Helps and Lewis Rawlins slotting in behind.

While Josh Macleod, Dan Davis and Uzair Cassiem make up the back-row.

Kieran Hardy and Dan Jones are at scrum-half and fly-half respectively, with Paul Asquith and captain Kieron Fonotia outside them in the centre.

The ever-impressive Johnny McNicholl and Ioan Nicholas are on the wings with Halfpenny at full-back to finish up the XV.

Patchell and Evans are among the subs as the team will hope to continue their incredible home form which has seen them lose only one match since September 2016 in front of their fans.

Scarlets head coach Wayne Pivoc spoken about his delight at his teams win against the Cheetahs last weekend but is expecting a different challenge against the current Conference A leaders.

“We all know that Munster are going to be a very different proposition. They will bring a lot aggression and line-speed in defence, which poses a different challenge. We need to be on our game and are expecting more of an arm wrestle,” he said.

Munster are one point ahead of Glasgow at the summit of Conference A and will need a special performance in Wales as the Scarlets will be looking to close the five-point gap between them in fifth and Benetton in second in Conference B.

A win for either could be vital come the end of the regular season.

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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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