Thursday, September 1, 2011

Leinster update

Richardt Strauss (picture from )

Leinster travel to Swansea to take on the Ospreys this Friday. Wins are hard to come by in Wales, so the Leinstermen will have their work cut out for them.

The teams haven't come out yet, and I'll do an update when they finally emerge.

In the meantime, here's a bit of squad news from the Leinster camp. Isa Nacewa, Eoin O’Malley and Richardt Strauss are all back in the frame to start, let's hopethey pick up where they left off last season.

Steven Sykes has a medial ligament injury which means he's out for 2-3 weeks while Andrew Conway has hurt his ankle and will miss this match.

I've put the whole RaboDirectPro12 fixtures list up on my blog  here. It's from the official site, but as things go haywire after January, you have to wonder if there's a more official website, or a most official website out there? I'll be back!

So that's the Leinster team: with the big names back. Berquist gets a start, and looks like competition for places is going to red hot this season with Fitzgerald moved into centre. I was impressed by the way Jamie Hagan held his own against Northampton, and he gets another start. Leo Auva'a was also impressive in his run last week, and he's going to be knocking on the door to start.

Both teams are hit by the World Cup, and Ospreys have lost a host of stars for good. Still an impressive starting side though, it's all going to depend on how goth sides gel. Should be a good match, pity it's on BBC Wales from an Irish point of view. Have to go with Leinster from a patriotic point of view!

15: Isa Nacewa
14: Fionn Carr
13: Eoin O'Malley
12: Luke Fitzgerald
11: David Kearney
10: Mat Berquist
9: John Cooney
1: Heinke van der Merwe
2: Richardt Strauss
3: Jamie Hagan
4: Damian Browne
5: Devin Toner
6: Kevin McLaughlin
7: Dominic Ryan
8: Rhys Ruddock CAPTAIN
16: Aaron Dundon
17: Jack McGrath
18: Jack O'Connell
19: Mark Flanagan
20: Leo Auva'a
21: Cillian Willis
22: Ian Madigan
23: Brendan Macken

15: Richard Fussell
14: Kristian Phillips
13: Andrew Bishop
12: Ashley Beck
11: Hanno Dirksen
10: Dan Biggar
9: Rhys Webb
1: Duncan Jones
2: Mefin Davies
3: Cai Griffiths
4: Ian Gough
5: Ian Evans
6: Tom Smith
7: Justin Tipuric CAPTAIN
8: Jonathan Thomas

Munster have put out a strong side against the Dragons, with poor old Tomas O'Leary warming the bench for Peter Stringer.I'll be interested to see how Ian Keatley gets on with his move from Connacht, with international duty and rest periods for Ronan O'Gara he should get to see a lot of top level rugby. Win for them.

Munster: J Murphy; D Howlett, D Barnes, L Mafi, D Hurley; I Keatley, P Stringer; M Horan, M Shery, S Archer; B Holland, M O'Driscoll; P O'Mahony, N Ronan, J Coughlan. Replacements: D Varley, W Du Preez, J Hayes, D Foley, T O'Donnell, T O'Leary, S Deasy, S Zebo.

Ulster get to take on Glasgow at Ravenhill, and it's a handly looking side. This is what I',m going to be watching tomorrow night sans BBC Wales. Craig Gilroy is always exciting to watch, as is the scrum half Marshall, and I 've got big expectations for Tuohy. Several players get a chance to show their wares while the internationals are gone, and they should beat Glasgow.

Ulster (15-9): A D'Arcy; C Gilroy, D Cave, N Spence, I Whitten; I Humphreys, P Marshall; (1-8) P McAllister, A Kyriacou, J Cronin, L Stevenson, D Tuohy, P Wannenburg, W Faloon, C Henry (capt).
Replacements: N Brady, C Carey, A Macklin, N McComb, R Diack, I Porter, P Jackson, P Nelson.


Haven't got a team for Connacht yet, but what an exciting time for the province - they have Mazda on board as a sponsor, have nearly sold out their 3000 season tickets, got some cash from the Government for ground improvements, and they're in the Heineken Cup!

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