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Young hails ‘outstanding’ impact of Cardiff signings



Dai Young has hailed the ‘outstanding’ impact of Cardiff’s new signings after the Blue and Blacks secured an opening day win over Munster on Saturday.

Cardiff kicked off their BKT United Rugby Championship campaign with victory, thanks to tries from Max Llewellyn, Kristian Dacey and Aled Summerhill – a late replacement for Owen Lane in the starting line-up.

However, it was number eight Taulupe Faletau who caught the headlines after a Player of the Match display on his debut in the blue and black jersey.

Fellow new signings Thomas Young and Lopeti Timani also made impact while Liam Williams showed sparks of what he can offer, before departing with a first half injury.

Young revealed that the quartet have had a positive impact on the environment since arriving at Cardiff Arms Park and is happy with the depth being built within the squad.

The director of rugby said: “You can’t underestimate how good Toby was. He was outstanding, and even just having him in training has lifted the standards.

“All the signings have lifted the standards without me having to do or say anything.

“Just having these guys out on the park and everyone seeing what they can do on a regular day-to-day basis just lifts the standards right up. It’s what you’re looking for when recruiting these type of players.

“Toby was outstanding, but he’s been outstanding ever since he broke through. 

“We’re obviously not going to over-play him because there are requirements by the Welsh squad and we have got to manage him, and rightly so. You want these players playing in your big games, like your derbies and in Europe.

“You’re going to have to mix and max, but we’ve also got someone like James Ratti and James Botham who can both play there as well. So hopefully there’s enough rugby to keep bringing those guys on as well.

“Thomas also had a couple of turnovers and a couple of little darts and Lopeti came on and showed how physical he can be with his ball carrying. But the biggest thing for us is having a strong 23.

“If, on a regular basis, you can have a 23 where we know there’s people coming off the bench that can have an impact, then you’re not necessarily taking people off because they’re playing poorly or they’re injured.

“People will come in to have an impact, and Max didn’t deserve to come off based on the way he was playing. But then you’ve got someone like Willis  to come on, and he did exactly what we were hoping he was going to do.

“Very few people could have created a two-on-one in the scenario for the final try.”

Another stand-out performance came from centre Llewellyn, who opened the scoring before playing an key role in Dacey’s try later in the half.

Young believes the academy graduate has benefitted from a run of games in the first team and believes the likes of Llewellyn and Mason Grady can learn from playing alongside their experienced peers such as Rey Lee-Lo and Willis Halaholo.

“The big things for Max was that he played towards last year. He had a couple of games under his belt, and you know with the young players that they’re going to give you a little bit of a rollercoaster,” added the former Wales prop.

“But you’ve got to stick with them. We’re aware that we don’t want to over-play or over-expose them, and we’re also in a really good position in terms of our centres.

“There’s two real experienced players in Willis and Rey, who was outstanding against Munster.

“You’ve also got someone like Mason coming through and we can obviously drip feed those players in when we feel fit.

“But a part of the job is to get the experienced players to give a helping hand to the younger boys.

“Against Benetton last season, our backline had an average starting age of about 21, which is probably not the way to go around it. We don’t want to go chucking them all in together but our hands were tied a little bit.

“In an ideal world, this year we’ll probably play a little bit of youth alongside a bit of experience to try and bring them through.

“Max has come on leaps and bounds in a short space of time and what he’s looking for now is consistency.”

Content & Images from – Cardiff Rugby


Fourie and Orie return for Vodacom URC Grand Final



Springbok forwards Deon Fourie and Marvin Orie make their return to the DHL Stormers team for the Vodacom United Rugby Championship Grand Final against Munster at DHL Stadium on Saturday.

Both players missed the semifinal due to injury, but will take their places in the DHL Stormers starting line-up for the showpiece match, which kicks off at 18h30 on Saturday.

Tickets for this match sold out in a matter of hours last week, so there will be a capacity crowd and heavy traffic congestion in the area. Please plan to get to DHL Stadium at least three hours before kick-off.

Spectators are urged to park remotely and catch a free MyCiTi bus from the UCT, Century City, CTICC or Civic Centre and Thibault Square bus stations

Gates at DHL Stadium open at 15h30 ahead of kick-off at 18h30. The beer garden in the stadium will be open both before and after the game with a DJ playing live and plenty of activations for fans inside the stadium, so get there early to make sure you don’t miss any of the action. CLICK HERE for all you need to know ahead of the game.

The backline that started in the semifinal win against Connacht is unchanged, with Clayton Blommetjies on the bench in place of the injured Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu.

Fourie and Orie come in, which means that hooker Joseph Dweba and lock Ruben van Heerden are the only starting forwards that did not feature in the Vodacom United Rugby Championship Grand Final at DHL Stadium last season.

DHL Stormers Head Coach John Dobson said that it is a major boost to have the likes of Fourie and Orie back for the Grand Final.

“Both Deon and Marvin have been outstanding for us this season and they will add a lot both in terms of their ability and leadership on Saturday.

“We have a lot of respect for Munster, the truth is that we have never beaten them, so while we are thrilled to be playing at home we know it will be a big challenge against a good team.

“This will be the biggest crowd for any DHL Stormers match and it should be an amazing occasion for the team, our passionate supporters and the city of Cape Town.

“We are so grateful for the support that we enjoy and what this team means to so many people. We will do our best to soak up the atmosphere, enjoy every moment and play the kind of rugby that got us here,” he said.

DHL Stormers: 15 Damian Willemse, 14 Angelo Davids, 13 Ruhan Nel, 12 Dan du Plessis, 11 Leolin Zas, 10 Manie Libbok, 9 Herschel Jantjies, 8 Evan Roos, 7 Hacjivah Dayimani, 6 Deon Fourie, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Ruben van Heerden, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Joseph Dweba, 1 Steven Kitshoff (captain).
Replacements: 16 JJ Kotze, 17 Ali Vermaak, 18 Neethling Fouche, 19 Ben-Jason Dixon, 20 Willie Engelbrecht, 21 Marcel Theunissen, 22 Paul de Wet, 23 Clayton Blommetjies.

Content & Images from – Stormers Rugby

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Champions Cup

Munster Rugby Departing Players Confirmed



Munster Rugby can confirm the full list of players who will depart the province at the end of the 2022/23 campaign.

It was confirmed earlier this season that Malakai Fekitoa (Benetton) and Ben Healy (Edinburgh) will join new clubs ahead of the 2023/24 season.

Additionally, we can confirm that Liam O’Connor, Eoin O’Connor, Paddy Kelly, Oli Morris and Academy player Conor Phillips have completed their time at the province.

Eoin O’Connor will move abroad for a new playing opportunity.

Liam O’Connor has been advised to retire on medical grounds following successful surgery for a recent neck injury.

Paddy Kelly has retired from professional rugby on medical grounds due to a concussion sustained earlier in the season.

Paddy has received specialist medical care since the concussion, and despite all efforts, the decision to retire was made in the best interests of his long-term health.

Prop Liam O’Connor made 34 Munster appearances since his debut against Stade Francais in the Champions Cup in January 2016.

A product of the Greencore Munster Rugby Academy and former CBC student, O’Connor won the British & Irish Cup with Munster A in 2017.

He made 11 appearances in the first 12 games of the 2017/18 campaign but sustained a long-term knee injury against Ospreys in December 2017.

The Cork Constitution clubman helped Munster to a memorable victory over South Africa A at Páirc Uí Chaoimh earlier this season.

Eoin O’Connor came up through the Academy and was one of 12 players to make their senior Munster debuts in the Champions Cup win over Wasps in December 2021.

The former Waterpark RFC man moved up to the senior squad ahead of the 2022/23 season and made four senior appearances for Munster.

He has featured extensively for Young Munster in the AIL over the past number of years.

A former St Munchin’s College student, lock Paddy Kelly departs after one year as part of the senior squad having come through the Academy.

Centre Oli Morris departs after joining Munster in October when Worcester Warriors went into administration.

Winger Phillips departs after three years in the Academy that included two senior appearances. A former Crescent College student, he is also an Ireland 7s international and plays his club rugby with Young Munster.

Chris Farrell, James French and Dan Goggin all departed for new playing opportunities earlier this season.

A big thanks to all of our departing players for their contributions to Munster Rugby and we wish them all the best for the future.

Images & Content from Munster Rugby

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Munster v Barbarians Double-Header At Thomond Park



Munster Rugby will face the Barbarians at Thomond Park in a historic double-header for the province with the women’s and men’s squads facing respective invitational sides on Saturday, September 30.

The current Interprovincial Champions will get the action underway at 2pm while the men’s side will kick-off at 4.30pm.

A festival of rugby awaits in what will be a great family occasion for the Limerick venue, having last hosted the Barbarians in November 2017. It was on the same day that history was created as the first-ever Barbarian’s women’s fixture took place, with Munster providing the opposition.

While this will be the first time the men’s sides face each other, the world’s most famous invitation side previously played Tonga and Ireland on their visits to Thomond Park.

The occasion will see players secure valuable game-time ahead of the respective club seasons commencing with an exciting showcase of attacking, adventurous rugby in store for supporters.


Enjoy a fun-filled day of rugby at Thomond Park with double the action and double the value with our Family ticket packs starting from €40 for 2 Adults and 2 Children.

2023/24 MRSC members and 10-Year Ticket Holders will receive a 10% discount on all ticket categories for a limited time with further details emailed to priority groups.

Tickets are available to buy online here, or from the ticket offices at Musgrave Park and Thomond Park.

Season Tickets & MRSC Memberships for next season are available here.

Did you know?

October 17, 2009: Thomond Park previously hosted a provincial double-header with the women’s squad playing Ulster in the Interpros and the men’s squad playing Benetton Treviso in the Heineken Cup.

November 10, 2017: Thomond Park hosted a historic double-header of Barbarians matches with the Baa-baas men’s and women’s sides facing Tonga and Munster respectively.

Images & Content from Munster Rugby

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