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Ratti returns as Cardiff head to Glasgow

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James Ratti makes a return to the starting line-up for Cardiff’s first away game of the season, as they take on Glasgow Warriors at Scotstoun Stadium on Friday evening (KO 7.35pm).

The number eight, who toured South Africa with Wales over the summer, is one of only three changes made as the Blue and Blacks look to build on the opening day win over Munster at Cardiff Arms Park.

Number eight Ratti comes in for Taulupe Faletau, who’s game time is being managed, and joins James Botham and Thomas Young in the back row, with the pack’s front five remaining unchanged.

With Liam Williams ruled out following shoulder surgery, Matthew Morgan wears the number 15 jersey, slotting alongside Aled Summerhill and Josh Adams in the back three, with centre Mason Grady – replacing Rey Lee-Lo – the final change made to the starting XV.

Cardiff are yet to taste league victory at Scotstoun but will be buoyed by their 32-28 victory, the last time the sides met, while Glasgow have since fallen to five consecutive defeats. 

Cardiff director of rugby, Dai Young, said: “We have made a few changes, either due to injury or to look after players who are a bit battered and bruised following a big effort last week. It’s important to manage these guys to ensure we get plenty from them through the season, and we have some quality coming in to replace them.

“We haven’t done well away and that is something we have to put right quickly. There were a lot of good things on the weekend, and if we can build on them then there’s no reason why we can’t be in with a chance of getting a result here.

“It’s Glasgow’s first home game in a while, under a new coach as well, but last week didn’t go to plan. So they’ll be desperate to get a performance in and get their season up-and-running.

“We know they’re a quality team, and listening to some of the talk after the game, they were more pleased with the second half than they were with the first.

“In the second half they demonstrated that they’re a team who want to play rugby from all areas of the pitch, and that’s what we expect.

“We’re going to have to be on our toes defensively right across the pitch because they’ll look to attack from anywhere and really take us on.”

Keiron Assiratti and Brad Thyer are both drafted onto the bench, while the likes of Lopeti Timani, Rhys Priestland and Uilisi Halaholo will be looking to pick up where they left off last week, having impressed as replacements against Munster.

Cardiff: Matthew Morgan; Aled Summerhill, Mason Grady, Max Llewellyn, Josh Adams; Jarrod Evans, Tomos Williams; Rhys Carré, Kristian Dacey, Dillon Lewis, Josh Turnbull (capt.), Seb Davies, James Botham, Thomas Young, James Ratti

Replacements: Liam Belcher, Brad Thyer, Keiron Assiratti, Matthew Screech, Lopeti Timani, Lloyd Williams, Rhys Priestland, Uilisi Halaholo

Unavailable for selection:

Ben Thomas (shoulder) – November

Josh Navidi (Neck) – October/November

Kirby Myhill (Hamstring) – September

Theo Cabango (Shoulder) – September

Corey Domachowski (Hamstring) – October

Ellis Jenkins (Knee) – available next week

Owen Lane (Ankle)

Liam Williams (Shoulder) – December/January

Content & Images from – Cardiff Rugby


Champions Cup

Academy Trio Stepping Up & Contract News

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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


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URC

Squad Update Ahead Of Zebre At Virgin Media Park

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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


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URC

Dan McFarland departs Ulster Rugby

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Dan McFarland departs Ulster Rugby

3 minutes ago

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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


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