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Leinster Rugby v Dragons

Leinster Rugby v Dragons | Issue 01 Leinster Rugby Official Matchday Programme Friday 2nd October, 2020 | Kick-off: 20:15 Guiness PRO14

Leinster Rugby v Dragons | Issue 01
Leinster Rugby Official Matchday Programme
Friday 2nd October, 2020 | Kick-off: 20:15
Guiness PRO14

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ISSUE 01 | LEINSTER RUGBY OFFICIAL MATCHDAY PROGRAMME<br />

JOSH VAN DER<br />

FLIER<br />

SCOTT<br />

FARDY<br />

JAMES<br />

LOWE<br />

Sexton<br />

Johnny<br />

OCT<br />

02<br />

20<br />

20<br />

KICK OFF 20:15


© 2020 adidas AG<br />

READY<br />

FOR<br />

ACTION<br />

A sea of blue<br />

rising since 1879.


#LEIVDRA<br />

Newstead Building A, UCD,<br />

Belfield, Dublin 4<br />

Telephone:<br />

012693224<br />

Fax:<br />

012693142<br />

E-mail:<br />

information@leinsterrugby.ie<br />

www.leinsterrugby.ie<br />

EXECUTIVE MANAGEMENT<br />

President: John Walsh<br />

Chief Executive: Michael Dawson<br />

Honorary Secretary: Stuart Bayley<br />

Honorary Treasurer: Michael McGrail<br />

7 22<br />

RUGBY MANAGEMENT<br />

Head Coach: Leo Cullen<br />

Senior Coach: Stuart Lancaster<br />

Head of <strong>Rugby</strong> Operations:<br />

Guy Easterby<br />

Assistant Coach: Robin McBryde<br />

Backs Coach: Felipe Contepomi<br />

Kicking Coach: Emmet Farrell<br />

Contact Skills Coach: Hugh Hogan<br />

PROGRAMME CREDITS<br />

Editorial Team: Marcus Ó Buachalla<br />

& Ryan Corry<br />

Advertising: Gary Nolan<br />

Design: Julian Tredinnick,<br />

Ignition Sports Media<br />

Photography: Sportsfile<br />

Chief Steward: Sword Security<br />

Ambulance: St. John’s Ambulance<br />

Medilink<br />

Event Control & Safety Services:<br />

Eamonn O’Boyle & Associates<br />

14<br />

62<br />

42 86<br />

STAY<br />

CONNECTED<br />

& KEEP<br />

UP-TO-DATE<br />

www.leinsterrugby.ie | 3 | From The Ground Up


JOHN WALSH<br />

WEL COME<br />

Good evening,<br />

It is my pleasure to pen these few words<br />

and the first programme address of my<br />

tenure as President of the <strong>Leinster</strong> <strong>Rugby</strong><br />

Branch.<br />

It is a great honour for me and I would<br />

like to thank Naas RFC for all their<br />

support over the years and I look forward<br />

to serving the club and the Branch over<br />

the season ahead. I would also like<br />

to thank Robert Deacon for his help<br />

in making the handover as smooth as<br />

possible and all at the Branch for their<br />

help over the last few weeks.<br />

The season ahead will be a season like<br />

no other. In ordinary circumstances I<br />

would be welcoming David Buttress,<br />

Chairman of <strong>Dragons</strong> <strong>Rugby</strong> and of<br />

course Dean Ryan and his players to the<br />

RDS Arena in person, but in the current<br />

climate that is not possible. Naturally I<br />

wish Dean and his team a safe trip here<br />

and back and wish them well for the<br />

season ahead.<br />

It is an achievement in itself getting here<br />

at all and I think all the clubs of the<br />

Guinness PRO14 and the tournament<br />

organisers and the unions and staff<br />

should be commended for getting rugby<br />

back up and running again. It has lifted<br />

everyone’s spirits to see games again<br />

and in particular over the last few weeks<br />

in the Aviva Stadium and further afield.<br />

Congratulations to Leo Cullen, Johnny<br />

Sexton and everyone involved with<br />

the senior team for a magnificent<br />

achievement in winning a third Guinness<br />

PRO14 on the bounce and doing<br />

so unbeaten. That takes remarkable<br />

consistency over a season and well done<br />

to all the 53 players that pulled on a<br />

jersey.<br />

Of course there will be disappointment<br />

with the manner of the loss to Saracens,<br />

but that should not cloud the incredible<br />

achievement in the PRO14 and doing so<br />

in particular after lockdown and all the<br />

challenges that were faced there.<br />

<strong>Rugby</strong> is also back in our clubs and will<br />

be soon in our schools.<br />

Well done to the various committees and<br />

of course the team back at base in UCD;<br />

Phil Lawlor, Declan Fassbender, Dermot<br />

O’Mahony and Lisa Doyle. The list goes<br />

on and apologies for anyone I have left<br />

out because there is a much wider team<br />

and they all deserve enormous credit for<br />

getting rugby back up and running.<br />

Particular credit must also go to the Covid<br />

Officers in our clubs. Without you and<br />

your tremendous efforts clubs would<br />

not be open at all. It is an onerous task<br />

but one that has been carried out with<br />

tremendous efficiency and I thank you<br />

most sincerely on behalf of us all because<br />

it has been wonderful to see training and<br />

games back in our clubs again.<br />

I would also like to thank Ray McCabe<br />

and all that worked so hard to ensure our<br />

Bank of Ireland <strong>Leinster</strong> <strong>Rugby</strong> Summer<br />

Camps got going. These camps were of<br />

course initially cancelled but again with<br />

huge diligence and an adherence to all<br />

Covid guidelines, they were resumed and<br />

were a resounding success. These camps<br />

were the first signs of rugby returning<br />

during the summer to our clubs and it was<br />

brilliant to see our venues full of boys and<br />

girls enjoying themselves again.<br />

As always thank you to all our sponsors,<br />

partners and suppliers but in particular<br />

to Bank of Ireland, adidas, Laya<br />

Healthcare, Guinness, Life Style<br />

Sports, Energia and BearingPoint for<br />

your continued support and indeed I<br />

would like to welcome Vodafone to<br />

the <strong>Leinster</strong> <strong>Rugby</strong> family as one of<br />

our new partners and suppliers for<br />

the next few seasons.<br />

Finally I would like to<br />

acknowledge the recent passing<br />

of Colm O’Shea.<br />

Having served alongside Colm on the<br />

Competitions Committee I am very aware<br />

that <strong>Leinster</strong> <strong>Rugby</strong> were the beneficiary<br />

of his many talents as Chair and the<br />

ability Colm had to guide us Committee<br />

Members in making the right decisions<br />

for the benefit of rugby and players.<br />

Furthermore it was fun to work with him<br />

and the bottom line is that rugby has to<br />

be fun.<br />

He will be sorely missed and our thoughts<br />

are with his wife Deirdre and all the<br />

family and of course his many friends in<br />

Lansdowne FC.<br />

Here’s to a great game and wherever<br />

you are, wear your blue and enjoy it as<br />

much as you can!<br />

Yours,<br />

John Walsh<br />

PRESIDENT, LEINSTER RUGBY 2020/21<br />

www.leinsterrugby.ie | 5 | From The Ground Up


Leo Cullen<br />

HEAD COACH WELCOME<br />

GOOD EVENING<br />

AND WELCOME<br />

TO EVERYONE.<br />

THAT IS WHAT<br />

WE WOULD<br />

NORMALLY BE<br />

SAYING BUT<br />

UNFORTUNATELY,<br />

WE’LL BE<br />

STARTING THE<br />

SEASON AT<br />

THE RDS ARENA<br />

WITHOUT<br />

OUR LOYAL<br />

SUPPORTERS<br />

TO CHEER US<br />

ON. EVERYONE<br />

INVOLVED WITH<br />

THE TEAM IS<br />

COUNTING<br />

DOWN TO THE<br />

DAY WE SEE<br />

THE FAMOUS<br />

‘SEA OF BLUE’<br />

BACK WHERE IT<br />

BELONGS!<br />

A warm Dublin welcome to Dean Ryan<br />

and his <strong>Dragons</strong> team as we quickly<br />

head into the start of a new season.<br />

<strong>Rugby</strong> without spectators is missing a<br />

vital ingredient, but it’s better than no<br />

rugby at all, so well done to everyone<br />

who helped get the 2019/20 Guinness<br />

PRO14 season completed during these<br />

difficult times.<br />

The season had a bittersweet conclusion for us.<br />

It was fantastic, and fitting, to see Rob Kearney<br />

and Fergus McFadden go up to accept the<br />

PRO14 trophy on behalf of the club. That’s an<br />

image we’ll remember. Unfortunately, we were<br />

unable to back that up in our Champions Cup<br />

quarter-final a week later. It just shows how<br />

tight the margins are in those big knock-out<br />

games. As a team, we have since re-set and<br />

worked hard to learn the lessons from that day.<br />

Still on Europe and congratulations to Will<br />

Connors, Ryan Baird and Hugo Keenan who<br />

made their Heineken Champions Cup debuts<br />

in the quarter-final. All three players have<br />

come through our system and we hope they<br />

go on to have long and successful <strong>Leinster</strong><br />

careers.<br />

Congratulations also to Tom Clarkson on<br />

making his <strong>Leinster</strong> debut in the Guinness<br />

PRO14 game against Ulster. Tom is still in our<br />

Academy and he was the 53rd player to have<br />

represented <strong>Leinster</strong> during the course of the<br />

campaign.<br />

Will, Ryan, Hugo and Tom are great examples<br />

of all the coaching and development work that<br />

goes on ‘behind the scenes’ at <strong>Leinster</strong>. As we<br />

start another season, we hope to build on that<br />

work and further deepen our pool of talent.<br />

A big thanks to all our coaches and staff who<br />

work tirelessly for the good of the club, no<br />

matter what.<br />

Thanks also to our loyal sponsors, in particular<br />

Bank of Ireland, for their continued support.<br />

We know that all businesses have their<br />

challenges at the moment, but we look forward<br />

to continuing our hugely successful partnership<br />

long into the future.<br />

To our supporters, I can’t emphasise enough<br />

how much we all miss your presence…<br />

and never more so than during those last<br />

15 minutes against Saracens, with just a try<br />

between the teams!<br />

But of course, we understand the need for<br />

vigilance and patience at this delicate time.<br />

Our thanks and appreciation go out to all<br />

public health workers and the <strong>Leinster</strong> medical<br />

team, many of whom are on the frontline and<br />

doing a brilliant job. We must all continue<br />

to do our bit and to play our part and we<br />

would call on everyone to continue to follow<br />

Government and HSE advice.<br />

Only by us all doing that can we make strides<br />

and take the steps that will hopefully allow<br />

you, our supporters, back into stadia very<br />

soon.<br />

Take care and I hope you enjoy the game.<br />

Thanks,<br />

Leo<br />

www.leinsterrugby.ie | 7 | From The Ground Up


JOANN<br />

HOSEY<br />

PROVINCIAL DIRECTOR<br />

BANK OF IRELAND DUBLIN<br />

Good evening,<br />

A very warm welcome to the start of<br />

another season of the Guinness PRO14.<br />

Of course we would all love nothing<br />

more than to be welcoming each other<br />

back to the RDS Arena and the start of<br />

another season but with Covid-19, it is not<br />

meant to be.<br />

We miss our family, our friends, going<br />

out and meeting people, staying in with<br />

groups of friends at home and of course<br />

attending events. Sport, the arts, culture,<br />

music. Everything that we hold dear has<br />

been rocked and questions asked that we<br />

still don’t have answers for.<br />

And yet here we are for the start of<br />

another season and credit must go to the<br />

Guinness PRO14, the unions, the clubs<br />

and of course to <strong>Leinster</strong> <strong>Rugby</strong> and<br />

<strong>Dragons</strong>, for all the effort in getting to<br />

this point.<br />

Of course we must all continue to play<br />

our part in ensuring that games can<br />

continue. Social distancing, washing<br />

hands, wearing masks, sneeze etiquette<br />

and of course following the latest<br />

Government guidelines. We can all play<br />

our part.<br />

While the last few months have been<br />

difficult it has been brilliant to see rugby<br />

back in our clubs and in our schools.<br />

Huge credit to Ray McCabe and all<br />

of his teams for another successful<br />

completion of the Bank of Ireland <strong>Leinster</strong><br />

<strong>Rugby</strong> Summer Camps, albeit in a<br />

reduced capacity. They faced significant<br />

challenges with the cancelation initially<br />

and then of course its resumption.<br />

It really was wonderful to see those first<br />

few steps taken by the boys and girls<br />

across the twenty plus camps and them<br />

enjoying it so much and it is everyone’s<br />

hope that that can now continue in the<br />

coming months as rugby returns to our<br />

fields.<br />

One element that must be acknowledged<br />

for this evening is the Bank of Ireland<br />

mascots and of course the half time minis.<br />

Mascots running out with our captain and<br />

the minis running onto the RDS Arena or<br />

Aviva Stadium pitch is a much cherished<br />

tradition of <strong>Leinster</strong> <strong>Rugby</strong> and I know<br />

that there are countless teams of boys<br />

and girls out there very disappointed that<br />

they may miss out on their opportunity.<br />

It is just another example of the impact<br />

that Covid-19 has had on our youngsters<br />

and it narrows the focus that we need<br />

to support them and be there for them<br />

at times like these when they are feeling<br />

down and unable to do the things that<br />

they love to do.<br />

We have seen over the last six months<br />

numerous examples of our communities<br />

coming together and supporting each<br />

other and no doubt the next few months<br />

will be challenging but hopefully the<br />

community spirit that has got us to this<br />

point will sustain us all again.<br />

Wherever in the 12 counties you may<br />

be watching the game from, enjoy it<br />

and hopefully we will be in each other’s<br />

company again soon.<br />

JH<br />

www.leinsterrugby.ie | 9 | From The Ground Up


FOLLOW ALL THE ACTION ON<br />

PRO14.RUGBY<br />

YOUR GUINNESS<br />

PRO14 HOME<br />

LATEST NEWS, LIVE MATCH<br />

CENTRES, STATS & MORE<br />

VISIT NOW<br />

WWW.PRO14.RUGBY


WHY IT<br />

MATTERS<br />

ASHTON HEWITT | DRAGONS<br />

When you decide to speak out on a sensitive topic,<br />

there is often a fear of how what you say will be<br />

received by both people you do and do not know.<br />

Whilst it’s not always easy to be<br />

confronted with opinions you do not<br />

agree with, as well as the overwhelming<br />

abuse dished out by Twitter trolls,<br />

I’m pleased to be able to say that the<br />

positivity that has come as a result of<br />

speaking out about racism outweighs<br />

the negativity.<br />

You may know me as a <strong>Dragons</strong> rugby<br />

player and, more recently, you may have<br />

seen conversations around racism that I<br />

have been encouraging on social media.<br />

Being a 25-year-old, mixed-race man, born<br />

and raised in Newport, with both Welsh<br />

and Jamaican heritage, you can imagine<br />

that the topic of racism is something that<br />

I am extremely passionate about. This<br />

passion was amplified by the Black Lives<br />

Matter movement and the recent peaceful<br />

protests that took place across the world.<br />

I’d like to take this opportunity to explain<br />

what ‘black lives matter’ means to me. It<br />

is a simple statement, calling<br />

for black people to be treated<br />

equally and for the social<br />

problem that is racism to be<br />

solved. Therefore, when myself,<br />

family, friends or teammates<br />

stand (or kneel) in support<br />

of black lives matter, it is the<br />

movement and not the organisation that is<br />

being supported. I support the movement<br />

because there are many people in my life<br />

that I care about who have far too often<br />

been victims of racism and knowing<br />

how it feels, it is something that has to be<br />

addressed.<br />

From a young age, I have experienced<br />

racism on the street and in sport. This has<br />

come as a shock to many of the people<br />

in the rugby community that I have had<br />

conversations with on this topic – with<br />

many of them not expecting a player<br />

such as myself to be faced with racism.<br />

Even in the rugby environment, hearing<br />

racist nicknames and stereotypical jokes<br />

would make me feel isolated and unable<br />

to be myself in a space that I should be<br />

completely comfortable in. Some incidents<br />

occurred more when I was younger, but<br />

it never goes away entirely and that is<br />

what’s jarred most with people I speak to.<br />

Whether it be monkey chants targeted at<br />

me from the side-lines whilst I played as<br />

a child, to being stopped and searched<br />

countless times. These conversations<br />

often consist of them being able to count<br />

the number of encounters they’ve had<br />

with the police on one hand (or finger)<br />

and that they couldn’t even imagine being<br />

stopped and searched whilst walking<br />

their dog!<br />

This is one of the main positives that came<br />

as a result of speaking out. It encouraged<br />

these conversations that otherwise<br />

probably wouldn’t have happened, and<br />

helped others understand my experiences<br />

and how racism, in all of its different<br />

forms, has made me feel.<br />

I’m proud to say that these conversations<br />

have led to more positivity, with teammates<br />

calling and texting to find out more<br />

and gain greater understanding of the<br />

deep-rooted social issue that they now<br />

recognise. Also, it’s not only players that<br />

have been supportive of everything I have<br />

been doing. I have to thank the <strong>Dragons</strong><br />

as a club for the way they have supported<br />

me over the last few months. From David<br />

Buttress (our Chairman) to Dean Ryan<br />

(Director of <strong>Rugby</strong>) and James Chapron<br />

(General Manager), who have all been<br />

great in supporting me and allowing me<br />

to be myself. I know that this is not the<br />

case at every other organisation and in<br />

every other sector – with black people<br />

often concerned that they will face<br />

consequences for being so vocal on such<br />

a topic.<br />

I also have to extend my thanks to the<br />

community team at the <strong>Dragons</strong>, who I<br />

know are coming up with ways to actively<br />

improve inclusivity and diversity at the<br />

grassroots level by trying to engage with<br />

more black and minority children.<br />

Furthermore, I can’t express how<br />

encouraging the support from fans<br />

has been. It has truly shown how great<br />

the game of rugby is, with it not only<br />

being <strong>Dragons</strong> fans sending me positive<br />

messages and shutting down the trolls<br />

of Twitter in my defence, but rugby<br />

fans from all over (although some have<br />

wished for a bad performance when<br />

playing their team!).<br />

I’d also like to shed light on, and thank,<br />

Positive Futures for all of the work that<br />

they do within my community. Myself and<br />

team-mate Leon Brown (you know, the<br />

rather large tight head that enjoys finishing<br />

30m tries) are proud ambassadors of<br />

the organisation that works with young<br />

people from disadvantaged backgrounds,<br />

trying to combine sport and<br />

education with rugby often being<br />

used to develop core values<br />

and encourage inclusivity. With<br />

racism and discrimination often<br />

being an issue that the young<br />

people they work with face in<br />

their day-to-day lives, Positive<br />

Futures actively do what they can to<br />

tackle the issue.<br />

I’d like to finish by saying that I don’t<br />

expect everybody to agree with<br />

absolutely everything that I say and I<br />

can’t force anybody to do so. But I’d like<br />

to think that most would agree to taking<br />

a stand against racism. I’d really love,<br />

and appreciate, if everybody just asked<br />

questions and gave a little time to learn<br />

a bit more about the issues and the ways<br />

in which they can be tackled. If you do,<br />

then please educate others – that is what<br />

is going to help others not to feel isolated<br />

because of their skin colour, wherever it<br />

may be - and encourage change.<br />

Thank you for reading.<br />

Ashton


Welcome<br />

to the Guinness PRO14 season 2018/19<br />

Welcome<br />

I am privileged to welcome you to an exciting new season<br />

of the Guinness PRO14 Championship. We are a proud<br />

and to committed the GUINNESS partner of PRO14 this competition season 2020/21 and Guinness<br />

as a brand strongly identifies with the power, strength and<br />

communion I am privileged which to welcome underpins you to an the exciting sport new of season <strong>Rugby</strong>. of We the look<br />

forward GUINNESS to an PRO14 exciting Championship. season We coming are a proud off the partner back of this of last<br />

year’s competition sensational and of the offering. sport rugby. We look forward to an exciting<br />

season coming off the back of last year’s sensational offering.<br />

As seasons go, it was nothing short of gripping. The year<br />

culminated Last season in was an another edge-of-seat thrilling season finale of epic at Aviva tackles, Stadium<br />

running<br />

which rugby saw and history-making <strong>Leinster</strong> defeat tries reigning that culminated champions with <strong>Leinster</strong> Scarlets <strong>Rugby</strong><br />

to defeating cap a remarkable Ulster <strong>Rugby</strong> season in an exciting for Irish Final in <strong>Rugby</strong>. AVIVA Stadium. This feat<br />

was even more remarkable when we consider that it was<br />

the It first goes without occasion saying a Guinness that 2020 has PRO14 been a club year unlike completed any other, a<br />

European one that none and of League us could double.<br />

have predicted and one that continues to<br />

challenge us all daily. Over the course of the year, the absence of<br />

There sport is left a wealth a gap in so of many proof people’s points lives. which The return clearly of rugby has<br />

demonstrate been so welcome, the as strength we reignite of our this passion competition and a hope and for the its future<br />

place when as we one will of all be the able most to be prestigious together again in the club stands. rugby. From<br />

the expansion of the competition into the Southern<br />

Hemisphere, We are delighted the that increased fans of the size GUINNESS and excitement PRO14 will be of able the to<br />

Final continue Series, to watch to the all domination GUINNESS PRO14 of PRO14 matches clubs played in live the with our<br />

European broadcast Champions partners and are Cup looking - this forward competition to the introduction is history of in<br />

the Monday making. night rugby into the GUINNESS PRO14 schedule.<br />

We<br />

Finally,<br />

are delighted<br />

as we move<br />

that<br />

into a<br />

fans<br />

new season<br />

of the<br />

of<br />

Guinness<br />

rugby, let us<br />

PRO14<br />

all embrace<br />

will<br />

the<br />

be<br />

able season to watch as it kicks all on. 152 matches played live for the first time<br />

ever, thanks to the new broadcast partners.<br />

Hilary Quinn<br />

Marketing Director | Diageo Ireland<br />

Finally, we are so proud to stand shoulder to shoulder<br />

with a competition that continues to grow so fearlessly.<br />

We savour the memories and wait excitedly for the feats<br />

of the future to make themselves known.<br />

Rory Sheridan, Head of Partnerships<br />

Diageo Europe<br />

www.leinsterrugby.ie | 13 | From The Ground Up


Sexton<br />

Johnny<br />

WITH A NEW<br />

GUINNESS PRO14<br />

SEASON ABOUT<br />

TO KICK-OFF THE<br />

CHATTER AROUND<br />

UCD AND WIDER<br />

RUGBY CIRCLES<br />

SHOULD BE ONE OF<br />

EXCITEMENT AHEAD<br />

OF A NEW YEAR.<br />

BUT.<br />

THE SHADOW OF<br />

HOW THE LAST<br />

SEASON FINISHED<br />

LESS THAN TWO<br />

WEEKS AGO STILL<br />

LOOMS LARGE.<br />

From The Ground Up | 14 | www.leinsterrugby.ie


www.leinsterrugby.ie | 15 | From The Ground Up


The off-season or even pre-season<br />

didn’t exist. One season finished in<br />

despair at Aviva Stadium as another<br />

one came very large into view days<br />

later.<br />

All of this of course in the context of the new<br />

Covid-world we all live in but it’s definitely a<br />

strange build up to the <strong>Dragons</strong> game in the<br />

RDS Arena with Saracens still very much in<br />

everyone’s minds as <strong>Leinster</strong> <strong>Rugby</strong> captain<br />

Johnny Sexton reflects on the quarter-final loss.<br />

“We couldn’t have started the game any worse<br />

really. Credit Saracens and how they dealt with<br />

that and took their chances but a couple of<br />

parts of our game didn’t quite hit the notes we<br />

know they can on the day.<br />

“That being said I was very proud of the way<br />

we battled back in that second half and who<br />

knows if a couple more decisions go our way<br />

or we start firing a little better towards the end<br />

of that second half, it might have been different<br />

and we could have clinched it.<br />

“I don’t think we would have deserved it but we<br />

still could have won it and that’s what’s tough<br />

to take. You play your worst half of rugby of the<br />

season in the biggest game of the season.<br />

“It was even tough watching the semi-finals last<br />

weekend and seeing Racing come out on top<br />

and that will be compounded in a few weeks<br />

when we watch them and Exeter go at it in the<br />

final.<br />

“But look if we learn from it and down the line<br />

we get our rewards then maybe we can look<br />

back and say it was a good thing, but right<br />

now it definitely hurts.”<br />

There is no sentimentality towards Racing,<br />

Sexton acknowledges, with so much water<br />

under the bridge now since his two year stint<br />

in France.<br />

This is more to do with <strong>Leinster</strong>, his team, his<br />

team mates and wishing they were there.<br />

“Yeah not really, that is a very different Racing<br />

team now to the one I was involved with so<br />

seeing them get there doesn’t make it any<br />

better.<br />

“This just hurts because it’s not us and because<br />

we put so much into this campaign and OK the<br />

areas we need to fix, we can fix and we can<br />

get better but there are no second chances in<br />

professional sport.<br />

“We will be waiting a long time for another<br />

quarter-final and it is hard to get to that<br />

“HOPEFULLY<br />

AS THE<br />

CROWDS<br />

COME BACK<br />

THEY WILL<br />

GET THEIR<br />

MOMENT TO<br />

SAY A PROPER<br />

GOOD-BYE<br />

BECAUSE<br />

THEY<br />

DESERVE IT.”<br />

point with no guarantees so the priority<br />

for us now is the new season, getting back<br />

out there, defending our title and while the<br />

disappointment of two weeks ago is there, we<br />

are also very excited to get back out there and<br />

start the defence of our PRO14 title.”<br />

Ah yes. The small matter of last season and<br />

what they achieved.<br />

An unbeaten domestic season in the Guinness<br />

PRO14. Seventeen games in total achieved by<br />

a wider squad of 53 players.<br />

While the Saracens loss still lingers there is also<br />

a captain’s pride in what his team achieved<br />

over the previous 12 months.<br />

“It was very strange lifting a trophy with<br />

nobody there, there is no point in saying<br />

From The Ground Up | 16 | www.leinsterrugby.ie


otherwise. All the ceremony and celebrations<br />

that come with it, champagne on the pitch to<br />

spray, the fireworks and supporters there and<br />

family and friends and then being able to enjoy<br />

it after with them on a lap of honour.<br />

“Then into the changing rooms and the craic<br />

there and enjoying that night together again.<br />

There was none of that because of Covid-19<br />

so it was definitely strange and a little bit of an<br />

anti-climax and I felt for Rob and Ferg in that<br />

regard too, their big moment and send-off that<br />

they didn’t get. Hopefully as the crowds come<br />

back they will get their moment to say a proper<br />

good-bye because they deserve it.<br />

“So definitely strange but it doesn’t take away<br />

in the slightest from what this group achieved.<br />

“Going that amount of games unbeaten during<br />

a World Cup year, unbeaten in the league,<br />

unbeaten in the pool stages in Europe and<br />

I think it stretched to 25 games unbeaten<br />

including the end of last season.<br />

“That takes a huge amount of work and<br />

sacrifice from the players and the coaching<br />

and back room team as well and I couldn’t<br />

be prouder of all of the lads. The way it all<br />

ended to Saracens was and is painful but<br />

what we achieved as a group over those 25<br />

games, it was something special no doubt<br />

about it.”<br />

He has already mentioned Rob<br />

Kearney and Fergus McFadden<br />

and their send-off and lifting<br />

the Guinness PRO14<br />

trophy on behalf of<br />

the squad of 53<br />

players.<br />

www.leinsterrugby.ie | 17 | From The Ground Up


A special gesture by him as club captain but<br />

also by the match day captain Garry Ringrose<br />

but you get the sense also of a deeper<br />

connection to the two beyond the playing<br />

pitch and that was revealed in his two posts on<br />

Instagram.<br />

“Was weird being in <strong>Leinster</strong><br />

<strong>Rugby</strong> and not having<br />

this fella beside me in the<br />

changing room making<br />

sarcastic comments about<br />

everyone and everything. Met<br />

him for the first time at <strong>Leinster</strong><br />

Under-16 trial and finished up<br />

together 20 years later. Great<br />

friend and team mate. What a<br />

career for Lions, Ireland and<br />

<strong>Leinster</strong>. Finished as one of the<br />

greats. Congrats Rob. Miss<br />

you already.”<br />

28 September 2020 -<br />

@sexton_johnny10<br />

“Congrats on a great career Ferg. Going to<br />

miss you so much when you hang up the boots.<br />

You will leave a big hole in the environment<br />

and will be tough to fill. It’s been an honour<br />

to be your team mate for the last 14 years.<br />

Thankfully our friendship will last a lot longer.<br />

Hope we get to give you the send-off you<br />

deserve.”<br />

4 May 2020 - @sexton_johnny10<br />

From The Ground Up | 18 | www.leinsterrugby.ie


With his first week of training nearly complete<br />

without them by his side, how does he reflect<br />

on their time and his time with them.<br />

“Both of them brought so much to the dressing<br />

room and the environment over the years.<br />

Rob’s accolades speak for themselves and the<br />

career he has had. But what he leaves behind<br />

is a lot of young kids out there in the province<br />

wanting to be as good as him, to win what he<br />

has won. That is his legacy and I think it’s a<br />

brilliant legacy to leave behind. Inspiring that<br />

next generation.<br />

“With Rob though it’s one thing to be great<br />

and to act well off the pitch when things are<br />

going well but for me it’s how he carried<br />

himself when things didn’t go well. The way he<br />

bounced back from set-backs, from injuries,<br />

from criticism and often times really unfair<br />

criticism and even the way his last few weeks<br />

played out. But that’s the manner of Rob and<br />

the character he is. You’d want any young<br />

player to be like him.<br />

“Ferg very similar in how he went about his<br />

work but he was also a great character around<br />

“SO ON MATCH DAY WEARING OUR MASKS WHEN NOT PLAYING, WASHING<br />

OUR HANDS, STAYING THE TWO METRES APART AND EVERYTHING ELSE. SMALL<br />

LITTLE THINGS BUT WE KNOW THAT PEOPLE ARE LOOKING AT OUR GAMES<br />

AND WE CAN DO OUR BIT AND HOPEFULLY BE ROLE MODELS.<br />

www.leinsterrugby.ie | 19 | From The Ground Up


the place. And then in battles on the pitch he<br />

was one of the toughest players you could ever<br />

meet. And again, Ferg he’ll be missed so much<br />

on and off the field and that is a true measure<br />

of their impact on the place.”<br />

That many years though in one club and<br />

carrying themselves in the way that they did,<br />

leaves something deeper.<br />

“Both of them will go with everyone in the<br />

environment loving them and I mean that and<br />

that’s what everyone wants when you leave<br />

any place, isn’t it?<br />

“You don’t have to be best mates with<br />

everyone because that’s just the nature of<br />

working in any environment and everyone is<br />

different but to leave and nobody to have a<br />

bad word to say and everyone to have loved<br />

you as a team mate and to have admired you,<br />

it’s the ultimate. And both go with that level of<br />

admiration left behind.<br />

“It’s all our hopes that we will get that final<br />

proper send-off for them as I said when<br />

supporters return in the future but they know<br />

how much we all love them and will miss them.”<br />

To tonight and the RDS Arena and the start of<br />

the Guinness PRO14 season.<br />

He’ll lead the team out and ‘All of the Lights’<br />

will be blaring but then once it stops it will be<br />

the eerie silence of an empty stadium again.<br />

The nearly 13,000 Season Ticket Holders of<br />

last year will be at home.<br />

“We speak about the supporters a lot and their<br />

impact on us and our performances and that<br />

was even before Covid and I think we are even<br />

more mindful of them now and being at home.<br />

“Our first game back it was a very clear<br />

message for us. All those fans at home,<br />

watching us and Munster, wanting that<br />

game so much to be played and giving them<br />

something to support and the onus on us to<br />

get out there and play for them and to try to<br />

give a lift.<br />

“The same with the Final and winning it for the<br />

third time in a row, how much that would mean<br />

to all those at home and the enjoyment that<br />

that can bring to them. It’s the same tonight<br />

against <strong>Dragons</strong>.<br />

“We know they are at home but that they will<br />

be watching and we want to make them proud<br />

of us and of our performances and that we can<br />

give them something to get behind.<br />

“But the reality is of course that we want to get<br />

them back. Fill the RDS, the Aviva and have<br />

them there with us because it’s not the same<br />

without them.<br />

“And of course, it was very clearly outlined<br />

recently how much we need them back from a<br />

financial point of view and hopefully we can<br />

get to the point soon to help the Union and<br />

the <strong>Leinster</strong> Branch and whether that is a few<br />

thousand in the RDS or ten thousand in the<br />

Aviva, just taking those small steps.<br />

“Hopefully those small steps can be taken in<br />

the near future.”<br />

With Dublin in Level 3 restrictions for the time<br />

being, there will of course be no supporters at<br />

the RDS Arena while in that Level but there will<br />

be 200 for Munster and Connacht games and<br />

of course a trial for 600 in Ulster.<br />

All positive steps but Sexton is also mindful of<br />

the reasons behind these restrictions and of the<br />

need to stay on top of the little things that we<br />

can all do.<br />

“Absolutely and we have spoken about that as<br />

a group as well and how we need to be doing<br />

From The Ground Up | 20 | www.leinsterrugby.ie


the right things and leading by example as role<br />

models for the younger generation but also in<br />

a wider context.<br />

“So on match day wearing our masks when not<br />

playing, washing our hands, staying the two<br />

metres apart and everything else. Small little<br />

things but we know that people are looking<br />

at our games and we can do our bit and<br />

hopefully be role models.<br />

“It’s not just on us alone of course, everyone<br />

needs to do their part to help those on the<br />

front-lines who are really taking the fight to this<br />

pandemic.”<br />

So as the man said, we are where we are.<br />

What has Sexton made of their progress under<br />

relatively new head coach Dean Ryan?<br />

“They are a team that are littered with Welsh<br />

internationals across their squad. The back<br />

row have class throughout, Richard Hibbard<br />

at hooker, a Lion, Leon Brown, at prop, their<br />

back line have a lot of internationals, then Nick<br />

Tompkins and Jamie Roberts, two excellent<br />

centres.<br />

“So we know what they have in their ranks<br />

and we respect them and their coach and that<br />

is reflected in our selection too and that we<br />

expect a really tough game against them.”<br />

And then before he knows it, it will be time to<br />

get back into last season one last time and<br />

the completion of the internationals. The Six<br />

Nations and the new Autumn Series.<br />

He is quick to point out that <strong>Leinster</strong> duties<br />

come first, doing that well and earning a slot in<br />

Andy Farrell’s plans but provided he can do all<br />

that, there is plenty still at stake.<br />

“Of course, if I can do my bit for <strong>Leinster</strong> first<br />

and perform and hopefully I can earn my<br />

spot in the squad that is announced next week<br />

or the week after, then great because there<br />

is an excitement to finish it out and also the<br />

realisation that if we win our games we are in<br />

with a shot of a Six Nations title.<br />

“So yeah, let’s get the next few weeks under<br />

our belts first and then hopefully we can focus<br />

on Ireland and it will be a hugely exciting few<br />

weeks.”<br />

www.leinsterrugby.ie | 21 | From The Ground Up


Did you know?<br />

• <strong>Leinster</strong> <strong>Rugby</strong>’s most recent<br />

defeat in the Guinness PRO14<br />

was by a single point at Ulster<br />

in April 2019.<br />

• The reigning Champions<br />

have not been defeated by<br />

a Welsh Region since they<br />

visited Parc y Scarlets in<br />

September 2018.<br />

• The last time the<br />

<strong>Leinster</strong>men lost on the<br />

opening weekend was against<br />

Edinburgh at Meggetland in<br />

2015.<br />

• <strong>Dragons</strong> most recent victory<br />

was 13-10 at home to Toyota<br />

Cheetahs on 29 February.<br />

• <strong>Dragons</strong> have not won<br />

away from home in the<br />

Championship since visiting<br />

Zebre in October 2019.<br />

• The Welshmen have not<br />

been victorious in a round one<br />

fixture since beating Ulster at<br />

Rodney Parade in 2013.<br />

• <strong>Leinster</strong> have won their<br />

last seven encounters against<br />

<strong>Dragons</strong> since the Welshmen’s<br />

23-13 success at Rodney<br />

Parade in January 2016 whilst<br />

their only previous victory on<br />

<strong>Leinster</strong> soil came at the RDS<br />

Arena in February 2015.<br />

#LEIVDRA<br />

Overall Guinness<br />

PRO14 head to head<br />

record:<br />

33 24 9 0<br />

PLAYED <strong>Leinster</strong> won <strong>Leinster</strong> lost DRAWs<br />

COMPARISON<br />

Last 3 PRO14 results:<br />

LEINSTER<br />

29 Aug - Ulster (A)<br />

W 28-10<br />

4 Sep - Munster (H)<br />

W 13-3<br />

12 Sep - Ulster (N)<br />

W 27-5<br />

Conf A:<br />

1st - W15 D0 L0 - 69pts<br />

WWWWWW<br />

(27pts)<br />

Dave Kearney 9<br />

Ross Byrne 93<br />

PRO14<br />

2019/20<br />

PRO14<br />

form<br />

Top try<br />

scorer<br />

Top points<br />

scorer<br />

DRAGONS<br />

6 Mar - Benetton (H)<br />

L 25-37<br />

23 Aug - Ospreys (A)<br />

D 20-20<br />

29 Aug - Scarlets (H)<br />

L 20-41<br />

Conf A:<br />

5th - W5 D1 L9 - 24pts<br />

WLWLDL<br />

(10pts)<br />

Date Venue L D <strong>Leinster</strong> scorers <strong>Dragons</strong> scorers<br />

Fri 24 Feb 17 Rodney Parade 54 22 Jack Conan(2T) Ross Byrne(7C) James Tracy(T) Jamison<br />

Gibson-Park(T) Luke McGrath(2T) Ross Molony(T)<br />

Hayden Triggs(T)<br />

Sat 2 Sep 17 Rodney Parade 39 16 Ross Byrne(2C/2P) Cathal Marsh(T/C) Jamison Gibson-<br />

Park(T) Jordan Larmour(T) Dan Leavy(T) Penalty Try(T)<br />

Fri 24 Nov 17 RDS Arena 54 10 Ross Byrne(5C) Max Deegan(T) Cathal Marsh(C)<br />

Jamison Gibson-Park(T) Josh Murphy(T) Jordan<br />

Larmour(T) Rory O'Loughlin(T) Penalty Try(T) Isa<br />

Nacewa(2T)<br />

Sat 15 Sep 18 RDS Arena 52 10 Noel Reid(C) Tadhg Furlong(T) Scott Fardy(T) Sean<br />

Cronin(T) Jamison Gibson-Park(2T) Jordan Larmour(T)<br />

Johnny Sexton(6C/P) Josh van der Flier(T)<br />

Sat 1 Dec 18 Rodney Parade 59 10 Ross Byrne(5C) Ciaran Frawley(2C) Scott Penny(T) Scott<br />

Fardy(T) Bryan Byrne(T) Dave Kearney(2T) Caelan<br />

Doris(T) Hugo Keenan(T) Jimmy O'Brien(2T)<br />

Fri 1 Nov 19 RDS Arena 50 15 Michael Bent(T) James Lowe(2T) Harry Byrne(T/5C)<br />

Dave Kearney(2T) Ronan Kelleher(T) Hugh O'Sullivan(T)<br />

6 Taine Basham<br />

94 Sam Davies<br />

Matthew Screech(T) Dorian Jones(2C/P) Adam<br />

Hughes(T) Sarel Pretorius(T)<br />

Gavin Henson(3P) Penalty Try(T)<br />

James Benjamin(T) Gavin Henson(C/D)<br />

Jordan Williams(T) Arwel Robson(C) Josh Lewis(P)<br />

Rhodri Williams(T) Jason Tovey(C/P)<br />

Jordan Williams(T) Sam Davies(C/P) Owen Jenkins(T)<br />

www.leinsterrugby.ie | 23 | From The Ground Up


From The Ground Up | 24 | www.leinsterrugby.ie


Metal Overload:<br />

ANDREW PORTER TACKLES OUR NEW MUSIC Q&A<br />

LEINSTER RUGBY’S<br />

RESIDENT<br />

METALHEAD<br />

ANDREW<br />

PORTER<br />

IS FIRST UP TO<br />

TACKLE THE 10<br />

QUESTIONS IN<br />

OUR MUSIC Q&A<br />

AND ADD HIS<br />

TRACKS TO OUR<br />

SPOTIFY PLAYLIST.<br />

1. What was the last song you listened to?<br />

The last song I listened to was “MOSKAU” by Rammstein.<br />

2. Tell us a song you’re currently obsessed with.<br />

“Angry Again” by Megadeth.<br />

3. You’re booking your dream festival line-up:<br />

who are the main stage headliners for the Friday,<br />

Saturday and Sunday?<br />

If I was booking the festival line up I’d have Iron<br />

Maiden on the Friday, Slipknot on the Saturday and<br />

Metallica on the Sunday.<br />

4. Earliest music memory?<br />

Listening to Dire Straits in the car on the way to primary school.<br />

5. Your guilty pleasure?<br />

I love listening to soul music.<br />

6. You can only listen to one album for the rest of<br />

your life, what is it?<br />

Ride the Lightning by Metallica.<br />

7. What was the first concert you ever went to?<br />

The first concert I went to…I went to P Diddy and<br />

Snoop Dogg in The Point when I was eight… With my mum.<br />

8. Favourite Irish band/artist?<br />

The Cranberries. I started listening to them when I<br />

first heard “Zombie” when I was younger.<br />

9. What two songs do you want to add to the<br />

<strong>Leinster</strong> <strong>Rugby</strong> Home Workout Mix on Spotify?<br />

I’d add “Duality” by Slipknot and “Master of<br />

Puppets” by Metallica.<br />

10. And what one song do you want to remove?<br />

I’d remove “Blinding Lights” by The Weeknd.<br />

YOU CAN LISTEN TO LEINSTER RUGBY’S HOME WORKOUT MIX<br />

SPOTIFY PLAYLIST HERE, WITH TRACKS SELECTED BY PLAYERS<br />

FROM LEINSTER RUGBY’S MEN’S AND WOMEN’S TEAMS.<br />

www.leinsterrugby.ie | 25 | From The Ground Up


Gorey claimed both the South<br />

East League Women’s Plate and<br />

the Bryan Murphy South East<br />

Women’s Cup on Sunday in<br />

Enniscorthy RFC.<br />

In the Plate game, Gorey J1 overcame<br />

newly reformed Enniscorthy 12-7.<br />

Enniscorthy displayed some exciting<br />

phases of play but, ultimately, Gorey’s<br />

experience was the deciding factor in<br />

the game.<br />

We look forward to welcoming<br />

Enniscorthy into Division 4 of the<br />

Women’s <strong>Leinster</strong> League this season.<br />

BY: RACHAEL O’BRIEN<br />

GOREY DO THE DOUBLE IN<br />

SOUTH EAST LEAGUE FINALS<br />

IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN TAKING UP RUGBY OR YOU<br />

WOULD LIKE TO FOLLOW OUR UPDATES, CHECK OUT<br />

OUR SOCIAL MEDIA CHANNELS:<br />

<strong>Leinster</strong> Women’s <strong>Rugby</strong><br />

<strong>Leinster</strong>Womens<strong>Rugby</strong><br />

@<strong>Leinster</strong>Women<br />

womenspro@leinsterrugby.ie<br />

In the Bryan Murphy South East Women’s<br />

Cup final, Tullow, beaten finalists in the<br />

last South East League final in 2015 were<br />

on paper as the favourites.<br />

Both teams traded scores early on.<br />

Gorey’s Triona Murray clinched the<br />

game for the Wexford women with two<br />

intercepts deep in her own half, striding<br />

home both times in the 38-24 win.<br />

The decision to name the cup after Bryan<br />

was unanimously made by clubs in the<br />

South East who wanted to honour the<br />

memory of Bryan who sadly passed<br />

away in July.<br />

All in attendance on Sunday were<br />

delighted to see Bryan’s wife, Mairead,<br />

children, Emma and James, as well as<br />

his brother, Stuart and parents, Ruby and<br />

David at the games. David was on hand<br />

to make the presentation of the cup to<br />

Gorey’s captain.<br />

Stuart said: “The support from the rugby<br />

community has been greatly appreciated<br />

by all the family, not just from Enniscorthy<br />

but from the wider South East rugby<br />

community. Bryan would been highly<br />

honoured and proud to have a cup in<br />

his name. The family would also like to<br />

thank Debbie Carty for her involvement in<br />

setting this up.”<br />

On behalf of Enniscorthy RFC, President<br />

Niall Wall said, “Bryan was a true<br />

Enniscorthy RFC stalwart. As a player he<br />

represented the club right up to First XV,<br />

and was a consistent performer through<br />

the years on whatever team he played.<br />

“When his playing days were over Bryan<br />

continued to be a true clubman taking up<br />

the whistle to referee tag rugby, youths’<br />

games and later to represent the club as<br />

an ARLB referee in the <strong>Leinster</strong> League.<br />

He was also touch judge throughout the<br />

club’s rise to senior ranks for both home<br />

and away games, where his support of<br />

the team was unwavering.<br />

“When not required as touch judge,<br />

Bryan was one of Enniscorthy’s most<br />

well-travelled supporters and enjoyed the<br />

company of his many friends throughout<br />

the club.<br />

“Bryan will be remembered fondly<br />

in Enniscorthy RFC for his long<br />

playing career, continued support,<br />

encouragement of up and coming players<br />

and selfless assistance through refereeing<br />

and touch judging.”<br />

From The Ground Up | 26 | www.leinsterrugby.ie


WOMEN'S<br />

SECTION<br />

WELCOMES FIVE<br />

NEW TEAMS<br />

In a welcomed development,<br />

five clubs in <strong>Leinster</strong> will field<br />

a new women’s team in the<br />

2020/21 season; Wicklow RFC<br />

J1, Enniscorthy RFC, De La Salle<br />

Palmerstown RFC, Wexford<br />

Wanderers RFC and Kilkenny RFC.<br />

Four of the five new teams are in the<br />

South East area, a testament to the<br />

strength of women’s rugby in the area.<br />

With the additional teams joining the<br />

leagues the decision was made to create<br />

a new league, Division 5.<br />

DIVISION 1<br />

Railway Union RFC J1<br />

PortDara Falcons<br />

DCU RFC<br />

MU Barnhall RFC<br />

Tullow RFC<br />

Tullamore RFC<br />

Edenderry RFC<br />

CYM RFC<br />

DIVISION 2<br />

Blackrock College RFC J1<br />

Dublin University FC<br />

Gorey RFC<br />

Rathdrum RFC<br />

Old Belvedere RFC J1<br />

Clontarf RFC<br />

Mullingar RFC<br />

Balbriggan RFC<br />

DIVISION 4<br />

North Meath/Swords<br />

Enniscorthy RFC<br />

Wicklow RFC J1<br />

Wanderers FC<br />

DIVISION 3<br />

Longford RFC<br />

Portlaoise RFC<br />

Greystones RFC<br />

New Ross RFC<br />

Garda/Westmanstown RFC<br />

Clondalkin RFC<br />

Naas RFC<br />

Arklow RFC<br />

DIVISION 5<br />

De La Salle Palmerstown RFC<br />

Navan RFC<br />

Wexford Wanderers RFC<br />

Tallaght RFC<br />

Divisions 1-4 will kick off their campaigns<br />

on Sunday, October 4, with Division 5<br />

starting on Sunday, October 18.<br />

Fixtures for the 2020/21 season are<br />

available on the <strong>Leinster</strong> <strong>Rugby</strong> website.<br />

CYM RFC J1<br />

Suttonians RFC J1<br />

MU Barnhall RFC J1<br />

Athy RFC<br />

Kilkenny RFC<br />

www.leinsterrugby.ie | 27 | From The Ground Up


Leo<br />

Kids<br />

the Lion's<br />

Corner<br />

spot the<br />

differences<br />

ANAGRAMS<br />

Can you un-jumble the<br />

names of these players?<br />

HA NOUN<br />

GEEK<br />

SORRY GRIN<br />

RAGE<br />

GUESS<br />

WHO?<br />

Can you name these<br />

three players?<br />

ANSWERS<br />

ANAGRAMS<br />

Hugo Keenan<br />

Garry Ringrose<br />

GUESS WHO?<br />

Cian Kelleher<br />

Robbie Henshaw<br />

Dan Sheehan<br />

From The Ground Up | 28 | www.leinsterrugby.ie


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From The Ground Up | 30 | www.leinsterrugby.ie


Ryan<br />

James<br />

1. What is currently on your playlist?<br />

Everything from Christy Moore to<br />

Daft Punk. Enjoying the Coronas<br />

at the moment also.<br />

2. Best advice you ever got?<br />

It’s all about the top two inches.<br />

3. Worst advice you ever got?<br />

We’ll just go for one.<br />

4. What is your phone screensaver<br />

at the moment?<br />

Lough Corrib.<br />

5. You can be another sportsperson for<br />

one event...who and what is the event?<br />

Usain Bolt in the 100m<br />

Olympics Final.<br />

6. What is your favourite<br />

sandwich filling?<br />

Chicken and sausage meat stuffing –<br />

a St. Stephen’s Day special<br />

in my house.<br />

7. Favourite piece of rugby<br />

memorabilia and why?<br />

My first Ireland test jersey – a dream<br />

to represent my country and brilliant<br />

to finally achieve it.<br />

8. What is one staple item all men<br />

should own and why?<br />

A pair of runners - be active!<br />

9. Book or Kindle and why?<br />

Book - more life to it.<br />

10. Which young rugby player<br />

should fans be looking out for this<br />

season and why?<br />

Scott Fardy - exuberant youth.<br />

www.leinsterrugby.ie | 31 | From The Ground Up


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How blue are you?<br />

Show<br />

Support<br />

Your<br />

Become an official member TODAY<br />

at leinsterrugby.ie


Thank you! Go raibh maith agaibh!<br />

AS WITH ANY SEASON END, THERE ARE A NUMBER OF PLAYERS<br />

THAT LEAVE LEINSTER RUGBY WITH ALL OUR SINCERE THANKS AND<br />

THIS SUMMER WAS NO DIFFERENT. ALTHOUGH WITH COVID-19<br />

A NUMBER OF OBSTACLES WERE OBVIOUSLY PRESENT WHICH<br />

INVOLVED TWO CONTRACT DURATIONS BEING EXTENDED IN THE<br />

CASE OF FERGUS MCFADDEN AND ROB KEARNEY.<br />

But <strong>Leinster</strong> <strong>Rugby</strong> would like<br />

to acknowledge all those that<br />

left us over the last few months<br />

and acknowledge the role that<br />

they played in achieving a third<br />

Guinness PRO14 title in a row as<br />

part of the wider squad of 53 that<br />

represented the 12 counties over<br />

the 2019/20 season.<br />

Here is the full list of <strong>Leinster</strong> <strong>Rugby</strong><br />

departees and their next destination, if<br />

known, at the time of going to press:<br />

Jack Aungier<br />

(Connacht <strong>Rugby</strong>), 5 <strong>Leinster</strong> Caps (LC),<br />

0 Tries (T)<br />

Bryan Byrne<br />

(Bristol Bears), 47 LC, 12 T<br />

Barry Daly<br />

(Retired), 36 LC, 19 T<br />

Oisín Dowling<br />

(Connacht <strong>Rugby</strong>), 6 LC, 0 T<br />

Rob Kearney<br />

(Western Force), 219 LC, 42 T, 95 Ireland<br />

Caps (IC), 8 British & Irish Lions Caps<br />

Fergus McFadden<br />

(Retired), 184 LC, 29 T, 34 IC<br />

Gavin Mullin<br />

2 LC, 0 T<br />

Roman Salanoa<br />

(Munster <strong>Rugby</strong>), 3 LC, 0 T<br />

Joe Tomane<br />

17 AC, 21 LC, 3 T<br />

<strong>Leinster</strong> <strong>Rugby</strong> wishes each of the players<br />

the very best of luck with their future<br />

endeavours.<br />

www.leinsterrugby.ie | 35 | From The Ground Up


2020/21 squad<br />

VAKH ABDALADZE - #1263<br />

DOB 6 FERUARY 1996<br />

From KUTAISI, GEORGIA<br />

Height 1.85M (6’ 1”)<br />

Weight 117KG (18st 6lbs)<br />

Position PROP<br />

Club CLONTARF FC<br />

<strong>Leinster</strong> Debut 2 DECEMBER 2017<br />

Honours IRELAND U20S (2 caps)<br />

MICHAEL BENT - #1212<br />

DOB 25 APRIL 1986<br />

From HAWERA, NEW ZEALAND<br />

Height 1.85M (6’ 1”)<br />

Weight 118KG (18st 8lbs)<br />

Position PROP<br />

Club DUBLIN UNIVERSITY FC<br />

<strong>Leinster</strong> Debut 1 DECEMBER 2012<br />

Honours IRELAND (4 caps)<br />

ED BYRNE - #1222<br />

DOB 9 SEPTEMBER 1993<br />

From CARLOW<br />

Height 1.80M (5’ 11”)<br />

Weight 114KG (17st 13lbs)<br />

Position PROP<br />

Club UCD RFC<br />

<strong>Leinster</strong> Debut 9 FEBRUARY 2014<br />

Honours IRELAND U20S (5 caps)<br />

ROSS BYRNE - #1236<br />

DOB 8 APRIL 1995<br />

From DUBLIN<br />

Height 1.88M (6’ 3”)<br />

Weight 90KG (14st 2lbs)<br />

Position OUTHALF<br />

Club UCD RFC<br />

<strong>Leinster</strong> Debut 4 SEPTEMBER 2015<br />

Honours IRELAND (6 caps)<br />

WILL CONNORS - #1264<br />

DOB 4 APRIL 1996<br />

From DONADEA, KILDARE<br />

Height 1.94 (6’ 4”)<br />

Weight 102KG (16st 1lbs)<br />

Position BACK ROW<br />

Club UCD RFC<br />

<strong>Leinster</strong> Debut 9 FEBRUARY 2018<br />

Honours IRELAND U20S (4 caps)<br />

RYAN BAIRD - #1278<br />

DOB 26 JULY 1999<br />

From DUBLIN<br />

Height 1.98M (6’ 6”)<br />

Weight 112KG (17st 8lbs)<br />

Position SECOND ROW<br />

Club DUBLIN UNIVERSITY FC<br />

<strong>Leinster</strong> Debut 27 APRIL 2019<br />

Honours IRELAND U20S (7 caps)<br />

ADAM BYRNE - #1213<br />

DOB 10 APRIL 1994<br />

From KILDARE<br />

Height 1.93M (6’ 4”)<br />

Weight 101KG (15st 12lbs)<br />

Position WING / FULL BACK<br />

Club UCD RFC<br />

<strong>Leinster</strong> Debut 29 DECEMBER 2012<br />

Honours IRELAND (1 cap)<br />

HARRY BYRNE - #1280<br />

DOB 22 APRIL 1999<br />

From DUBLIN<br />

Height 1.88M (6’ 2”)<br />

Weight 92KG (14st 6lbs)<br />

Position OUTHALF<br />

Club LANSDOWNE<br />

<strong>Leinster</strong> Debut 28 SEPTEMBER 2019<br />

Honours IRELAND U20S (13 caps)<br />

JACK CONAN - #1223<br />

DOB 29 JULY 1992<br />

From BRAY, WICKLOW<br />

Height 1.93M (6’ 4”)<br />

Weight 111KG (17st 6lbs)<br />

Position NO. 8<br />

Club OLD BELVEDERE RFC<br />

<strong>Leinster</strong> Debut 20 FEBRUARY 2014<br />

Honours IRELAND (17 caps)<br />

SEÁN CRONIN - #1202<br />

DOB 6 MAY 1986<br />

From LIMERICK<br />

Height 1.80M (5’ 11”)<br />

Weight 103KG (16st 3lbs)<br />

Position HOOKER<br />

Club ST. MARY’S COLLEGE RFC<br />

<strong>Leinster</strong> Debut 28 OCTOBER 2011<br />

Honours IRELAND (72 caps)<br />

From The Ground Up | 36 | www.leinsterrugby.ie


MAX DEEGAN - #1256<br />

DOB 1 OCTOBER 1996<br />

From DUBLIN<br />

Height 1.93M (6’ 3”)<br />

Weight 109KG (17st 1lbs)<br />

Position NO. 8<br />

Club LANSDOWNE FC<br />

<strong>Leinster</strong> Debut 3 DECEMBER 2016<br />

Honours IRELAND (1 cap)<br />

CAELAN DORIS - #1268<br />

DOB 2 APRIL 1998<br />

From MAYO<br />

Height 1.94M (6’ 4”)<br />

Weight 106KG (16st 10lbs)<br />

Position BACK ROW<br />

Club ST. MARY’S COLLEGE RFC<br />

<strong>Leinster</strong> Debut 28 APRIL 2018<br />

Honours IRELAND (2 caps)<br />

SCOTT FARDY - #1257<br />

DOB 5 JULY 1984<br />

From SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA<br />

Height 1.98 M (6’ 6”)<br />

Weight 111 KG (17st 7lbs)<br />

Position SECOND ROW<br />

Club UNASSIGNED<br />

<strong>Leinster</strong> Debut 2 SEPTEMBER 2017<br />

Honours AUSTRALIA (39 caps)<br />

TADHG FURLONG - #1220<br />

DOB 14 NOVEMBER 1992<br />

From WEXFORD<br />

Height 1.85M (6’ 1”)<br />

Weight 123KG (19st 5lbs)<br />

Position PROP<br />

Club NEW ROSS RFC / CLONTARF FC<br />

<strong>Leinster</strong> Debut 1 NOVEMBER 2013<br />

Honours IRELAND (44 caps) AND<br />

BRITISH & IRISH LIONS (6 caps)<br />

CIAN HEALY - #1142<br />

DOB 7 OCTOBER 1987<br />

From DUBLIN<br />

Height 1.85M (6’ 1”)<br />

Weight 112KG (17st 8lbs)<br />

Position PROP<br />

Club CLONTARF FC<br />

<strong>Leinster</strong> Debut 5 MAY 2007<br />

Honours IRELAND (98 caps) AND<br />

BRITISH & IRISH LIONS (2 caps)<br />

DAVE KEARNEY - #1158<br />

DOB 19 JUNE 1989<br />

From LOUTH<br />

Height 1.81M (5’ 11”)<br />

Weight 90KG (14st 2lbs)<br />

Position WING / FULL BACK<br />

Club LANSDOWNE FC<br />

<strong>Leinster</strong> Debut 16 MAY 2009<br />

Honours IRELAND (19 caps)<br />

CIAN KELLEHER - #1234<br />

DOB 7 AUGUST 1994<br />

From DUBLIN<br />

Height 1.85M (6’ 0”)<br />

Weight 90KG (14st 2lbs)<br />

Position WINGER/FULL BACK<br />

Club LANSDOWNE FC<br />

<strong>Leinster</strong> Debut 16 MAY 2015<br />

Honours IRELAND U20S (9 caps)<br />

PETER DOOLEY - #1230<br />

DOB 4 AUGUST 1994<br />

Birthplace OFFALY<br />

Height 1.85M (6’ 1”)<br />

Weight 116KG (18st 4lbs)<br />

Position PROP<br />

Club LANSDOWNE FC<br />

<strong>Leinster</strong> Debut 31 OCTOBER 2014<br />

Honours IRELAND U20S (18 caps)<br />

JACK DUNNE - #1276<br />

DOB 21 NOVEMBER 1998<br />

From DUBLIN<br />

Height 2.02M (6’ 7”)<br />

Weight 112KG (17st 9lbs)<br />

Position SECOND ROW<br />

School ST. MICHAEL’S COLLEGE<br />

Club DUBLIN UNIVERSITY FC<br />

<strong>Leinster</strong> Debut 16 FEBRUARY 2019<br />

Honours IRELAND U20S (10 caps)<br />

CIARÁN FRAWLEY - #1265<br />

DOB 4 DECEMBER 1997<br />

From DUBLIN<br />

Height 1.92M (6’ 3”)<br />

Weight 95.6KG (15st 1lbs)<br />

Position OUTHALF<br />

Club UCD RFC<br />

<strong>Leinster</strong> Debut 17 FEBRUARY 2018<br />

Honours IRELAND U20S (10 caps)<br />

JAMISON GIBSON-PARK - #1247<br />

DOB 23 FEBRUARY 1992<br />

From GREAT BARRIER ISLAND, NEW<br />

ZEALAND<br />

Height 1.76M (5’ 9”)<br />

Weight 80KG (12st 8lbs)<br />

Position SCRUM HALF<br />

Club UNASSIGNED<br />

<strong>Leinster</strong> Debut 2 SEPTEMBER 2016<br />

Honours MAORI ALL BLACKS<br />

ROBBIE HENSHAW - #1251<br />

DOB 12 JUNE 1993<br />

From ATHLONE<br />

Height 1.91M (6’ 3”)<br />

Weight 99KG (15st 8lbs)<br />

Position CENTRE / FULL BACK<br />

Club BUCCANEERS RFC<br />

<strong>Leinster</strong> Debut 8 OCTOBER 2016<br />

Honours IRELAND (43 caps) AND<br />

BRITISH & IRISH LIONS (4 caps)<br />

HUGO KEENAN - #1253<br />

DOB 18 JUNE 1996<br />

From DUBLIN<br />

Height 1.85M (6’ 1”)<br />

Weight 92KG (14st 4lbs)<br />

Position FULL BACK<br />

Club UCD RFC<br />

<strong>Leinster</strong> Debut 5 NOVEMBER 2016<br />

Honours IRELAND U20S (10 caps)<br />

RÓNAN KELLEHER - #1277<br />

DOB 24 JANUARY 1998<br />

From DUBLIN<br />

Height 1.85M (6’ 0”)<br />

Weight 106KG (16st 7lbs)<br />

Position HOOKER<br />

Club LANSDOWNE FC<br />

<strong>Leinster</strong> Debut 22 FEBRUARY 2019<br />

Honours IRELAND (3 caps)<br />

www.leinsterrugby.ie | 37 | From The Ground Up


JORDAN LARMOUR - #1258<br />

DOB 10 JUNE 1997<br />

From DUBLIN<br />

Height 1.78M (5’ 10”)<br />

Weight 90KG (14st 1lbs)<br />

Position WING<br />

Club ST. MARY’S COLLEGE RFC<br />

<strong>Leinster</strong> Debut 2 SEPTEMBER 2017<br />

Honours IRELAND (24 caps)<br />

JAMES LOWE - #1262<br />

DOB 8 JULY 1992<br />

From NELSON, NEW ZEALAND<br />

Height 1.88M (6’ 2”)<br />

Weight 105KG (16st 7lbs)<br />

Position WING / FULL BACK<br />

Club CLONDALKIN RFC<br />

<strong>Leinster</strong> Debut 2 DECEMBER 2017<br />

Honours MAORI ALL BLACKS<br />

ROSS MOLONY - #1233<br />

DOB 11 MAY 1994<br />

From DUBLIN<br />

Height 2.00M (6’ 6”)<br />

Weight 113KG (17st 11lbs)<br />

Position SECOND ROW<br />

Club UCD RFC<br />

<strong>Leinster</strong> Debut 20 FEBRUARY 2015<br />

Honours IRELAND U20S (10 caps)<br />

ROWAN OSBORNE - #1281<br />

DOB 3 NOVEMBER 1996<br />

From EADESTOWN, KILDARE<br />

Height 1.71M (5’ 7”)<br />

Weight 77KG (12st 1lbs)<br />

Position SCRUM HALF<br />

Club DUBLIN UNIVERSITY FC<br />

<strong>Leinster</strong> Debut 4 OCTOBER 2019<br />

Honours IRELAND SCHOOLS<br />

JIMMY O'BRIEN - #1272<br />

DOB 27 NOVEMBER 1996<br />

From KILDARE<br />

Height 1.84M (6’ 0”)<br />

Weight 89KG (14st 0lbs)<br />

Position CENTRE<br />

Club NAAS RFC<br />

<strong>Leinster</strong> Debut 23 NOVEMBER 2018<br />

Honours IRELAND U20S (8 caps)<br />

RORY O'LOUGHLIN - #1248<br />

DOB 21 JANUARY1994<br />

From DUBLIN<br />

Height 1.88M (6’ 2”)<br />

Weight 94KG (14st 6lbs)<br />

Position CENTRE<br />

Club OLD BELVEDERE RFC<br />

<strong>Leinster</strong> Debut 2 SEPTEMBER 2016<br />

Honours IRELAND (1 cap)<br />

CIARAN PARKER<br />

DOB: 5 OCTOBER 1995<br />

From: STOCKPORT, ENGLAND<br />

Height: 1.88M (6’ 2”)<br />

Weight: 120KG (18st 10lbs)<br />

Position: PROP<br />

Club: UNASSIGNED<br />

<strong>Leinster</strong> Debut: -<br />

Honours: ENGLAND U20S<br />

DAN LEAVY - #1231<br />

DOB 23 MAY 1994<br />

From DUBLIN<br />

Height 1.91M (6’ 3”)<br />

Weight 106KG (16st 9lbs)<br />

Position FLANKER<br />

Club UCD RFC<br />

<strong>Leinster</strong> Debut 31 OCTOBER 2014<br />

Honours IRELAND (11 caps)<br />

LUKE McGRATH - #1206<br />

DOB 3 FEBRUARY 1993<br />

From ONTARIO, CANADA<br />

Height 1.75M (5’ 9”)<br />

Weight 82KG (12st 12lbs)<br />

Position SCRUM HALF<br />

Club UCD RFC<br />

<strong>Leinster</strong> Debut 5 MAY 2012<br />

Honours IRELAND (19 caps)<br />

JOSH MURPHY - #1261<br />

DOB 17 FERUARY 1995<br />

From DUBLIN<br />

Height 1.96M (6’ 5”)<br />

Weight 110KG (17st 4lbs)<br />

Position FLANKER<br />

Club UCD RFC<br />

<strong>Leinster</strong> Debut 3 NOVEMBER 2017<br />

Honours IRELAND U20S (13 caps)<br />

CONOR O'BRIEN - #1260<br />

DOB 6 FEBRUARY 1996<br />

From WESTMEATH<br />

Height 1.90M (6’ 3”)<br />

Weight 101KG (16st 0lbs)<br />

Position CENTRE<br />

Club CLONTARF FC<br />

<strong>Leinster</strong> Debut 3 NOVEMBER 2017<br />

Honours IRELAND U20S (9 caps)<br />

TOMMY O'BRIEN - #1283<br />

DOB 28 MAY 1998<br />

From DUBLIN<br />

Height 1.83M (6’ 0”)<br />

Weight 95KG (14st 3lbs)<br />

Position CENTRE<br />

Club UCD RFC<br />

<strong>Leinster</strong> Debut 20 DECEMBER 2019<br />

Honours IRELAND U20S (15 caps)<br />

HUGH O'SULLIVAN - #1270<br />

DOB 24 FEBRUARY 1998<br />

From MEATH<br />

Height 1.79M (5’ 9”)<br />

Weight 80KG (12st 8lbs)<br />

Position SCRUM HALF<br />

Club CLONTARF FC<br />

<strong>Leinster</strong> Debut 15 SEPTEMBER 2018<br />

Honours IRELAND U20S (10 caps)<br />

SCOTT PENNY - #1271<br />

DOB 22 SEPTEMBER 1999<br />

From DUBLIN<br />

Height 1.85M (6’ 0”)<br />

Weight 103KG (16st 3lbs)<br />

Position FLANKER<br />

Club UCD RFC<br />

<strong>Leinster</strong> Debut 23 NOVEMBER 2018<br />

Honours IRELAND U20S (5 caps)<br />

From The Ground Up | 38 | www.leinsterrugby.ie


ANDREW PORTER - #1246<br />

DOB 16 JANUARY 1996<br />

Birthplace DUBLIN<br />

Height 1.84M (6’ 1”)<br />

Weight 114KG (17st 13lbs)<br />

Position PROP<br />

Club UCD RFC<br />

<strong>Leinster</strong> Debut 2 SEPTEMBER 2016<br />

Honours IRELAND (26 caps)<br />

RHYS RUDDOCK - #1167<br />

DOB 13 NOVEMBER 1990<br />

From DUBLIN<br />

Height 1.91M (6’ 3”)<br />

Weight 111KG (17st 6lbs)<br />

Position BACK ROW<br />

Club ST. MARY’S COLLEGE RFC<br />

<strong>Leinster</strong> Debut 6 DECEMBER 2009<br />

Honours IRELAND (26 caps)<br />

JOHNNY SEXTON - #1127<br />

DOB 11 JUY 1985<br />

From DUBLIN<br />

Height 1.88M (6’ 2”)<br />

Weight 92KG (14st 6lbs)<br />

Position OUTHALF<br />

Club ST. MARY’S COLLEGE RFC<br />

<strong>Leinster</strong> Debut 27 JANUARY 2006<br />

Honours IRELAND (91 caps) AND BRITISH &<br />

IRISH LIONS (14 caps)<br />

DEVIN TONER - #1128<br />

DOB 29 JUNE 1986<br />

From MEATH<br />

Height 2.08M (6’ 10”)<br />

Weight 126KG (19st 11lbs)<br />

Position SECOND ROW<br />

Club LANSDOWNE FC<br />

<strong>Leinster</strong> Debut 27 JANUARY 2006<br />

Honours IRELAND (70 caps)<br />

GARRY RINGROSE - #1237<br />

DOB 26 JAUARY 1995<br />

From DUBLIN<br />

Height 1.87M (6’ 2”)<br />

Weight 95KG (14st 11lbs)<br />

Position CENTRE<br />

Club UCD RFC<br />

<strong>Leinster</strong> Debut 12 SEPTEMBER 2015<br />

Honours IRELAND (29 caps)<br />

JAMES RYAN - #1259<br />

DOB 24 JULY 1996<br />

From DUBLIN<br />

Height 2.04M (6’ 7”)<br />

Weight 116KG (18st 3lbs)<br />

Position SECOND ROW<br />

Club UCD RFC<br />

<strong>Leinster</strong> Debut 2 SEPTEMBER 2017<br />

Honours IRELAND (17 caps)<br />

DAN SHEEHAN<br />

DOB 17 SEPTEMBER 1998<br />

From DUBLIN<br />

Height 1.91 M (6’ 3”)<br />

Weight 111KG (17st 5lbs)<br />

Position HOOKER<br />

Club DUBLIN UNIVERSITY FC<br />

<strong>Leinster</strong> Debut -<br />

Honours IRELAND U20S (5 caps)<br />

JAMES TRACY - #1211<br />

DOB 2 APRIL 1991<br />

From KILDARE<br />

Height 1.85M (6’ 1”)<br />

Weight 106KG (16st 9lbs)<br />

Position HOOKER<br />

Club UCD RFC<br />

<strong>Leinster</strong> Debut 4 NOVEMBER 2012<br />

Honours IRELAND (6 caps)<br />

JOSH VAN DER FLIER - #1228<br />

DOB 25 APRIL 1993<br />

From WICKLOW<br />

Height 1.87M (6’ 2”)<br />

Weight 102KG (16st 1lbs)<br />

Position FLANKER<br />

Club UCD RFC<br />

<strong>Leinster</strong> Debut 11 OCTOBER 2014<br />

Honours IRELAND (26 caps)<br />

Coaching Staff<br />

LEO CULLEN<br />

HEAD COACH<br />

STUART LANCASTER<br />

SENIOR COACH<br />

ROBIN MCBRYDE<br />

ASSISTANT COACH<br />

FELIPE CONTEPOMI<br />

BACKS COACH<br />

EMMET FARRELL<br />

KICKING COACH AND<br />

LEAD PERFORMANCE ANALYST<br />

GUY EASTERBY<br />

HEAD OF RUGBY OPERATIONS<br />

HUGH HOGAN<br />

CONTACT SKILLS COACH<br />

www.leinsterrugby.ie | 39 | From The Ground Up


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ENERGIA COMMUNITY SERIES<br />

<strong>Leinster</strong> Conferences Kick Off<br />

ROUND ONE OF THE ENERGIA COMMUNITY SERIES<br />

LEINSTER CONFERENCES TOOK PLACE LAST SATURDAY<br />

WITH FIXTURES PLAYED AROUND THE PROVINCE.<br />

Matches took place, in the main,<br />

behind closed doors as clubs<br />

adhered to strict Government<br />

and IRFU guidelines as every<br />

effort is made to create a safe<br />

environment to enable rugby to<br />

be played during these difficult<br />

times we are all enduring.<br />

Conference 1:<br />

Four fixtures were played in<br />

Conference 1 with victories going<br />

to Naas, Dublin University, Old<br />

Wesley and Clontarf.<br />

Naas entertained Terenure in<br />

Forenaughts where a limited number of<br />

spectators were permitted and ran out 19-<br />

12 winners despite conceding an early<br />

seven points to the visitors.<br />

Dublin University continued their good<br />

start to the season with a comprehensive<br />

victory against Old Belvedere in Ollie<br />

Campbell Park winning 37-14.<br />

In Energia Park, Old Wesley played<br />

hosts to the students of University College<br />

and it was the home side who enjoyed<br />

success with a 18-14 victory, despite the<br />

first-half being scoreless due mainly to a<br />

number of missed penalty opportunities<br />

by Old Wesley.<br />

St. Mary’s took on in-form Clontarf at<br />

Templeville Road and it was the Castle<br />

Avenue side who came out on top by a<br />

27-19 score-line in a highly entertaining<br />

game with plenty of running rugby by<br />

both sides.<br />

Conference 2:<br />

Unfortunately, only two of the<br />

four fixtures scheduled took<br />

place in Conference 2 with the<br />

cancellation of the matches<br />

between Skerries and Navan<br />

along with the game between MU<br />

Barnhall and Tullamore due to<br />

precautionary measures.<br />

Enniscorthy made the journey from<br />

Wexford to Merrion Road to take on<br />

From The Ground Up | 42 | www.leinsterrugby.ie


Wanderers but were on the receiving end<br />

of a 25-10 score-line.<br />

Blackrock welcomed Greystones as<br />

visitors to Stradbrook but could not<br />

contain the rampant Wicklow men who<br />

took control of the second-half prevailing<br />

by 43-22 in another entertaining<br />

encounter.<br />

With the majority of these games having<br />

to be played with no spectators allowed,<br />

all the participating clubs are to be<br />

commended for the hard work by their<br />

members behind the scenes to enable<br />

these games to take place safely for the<br />

players, who, in turn are complying with<br />

the various protocols around match day<br />

procedures.<br />

Also, clubs are to be congratulated for<br />

their initiative in providing live streaming<br />

of these games giving members the<br />

opportunity to watch their teams in action<br />

during these strange times.<br />

Round two of the Energia Community<br />

Series takes place tomorrow so check in<br />

with participating club’s media platforms<br />

or the <strong>Leinster</strong> domestic website for<br />

fixtures and information.<br />

PHOTOS:<br />

DERYCK VINCENT<br />

www.leinsterrugby.ie | 43 | From The Ground Up


usiness differently<br />

For further information please contact:<br />

Michael Costello, Managing Partner,<br />

on 01 470 0130 or email mcostello@bdo.ie<br />

Click here to visit bdo.ie<br />

BDO is authorised by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland to carry on investment business. BDO, a partnership established under<br />

Irish Law, is a member of BDO International Limited, a UK company limited by guarantee, and forms part of the international BDO network of<br />

independent members firms.


Birr RFC and Roscrea RFC<br />

join forces for exciting initiative<br />

In these turbulent times it seems<br />

that genuine good news is hard<br />

to come by. With the constant<br />

trepidation and anxiety that has<br />

become part and parcel of daily<br />

life, one would be forgiven for<br />

thinking that positive stories have<br />

been put on hold.<br />

Sport however has become a shining<br />

beacon and a positive distraction for<br />

many against the backdrop of the current<br />

pandemic. As such it is fitting that the<br />

combined enthusiasm of neighbours<br />

Roscrea RFC and Birr RFC have found<br />

their own perfect sporting antidote.<br />

It is generally acknowledged that the<br />

principal objective of any sporting<br />

organisation is to provide and cater for<br />

every age group’s development in terms<br />

of training and eventually, meaningful<br />

competition.<br />

This is what keeps the player production<br />

line in motion and is the fundamental<br />

basis for the strategy of every successful<br />

club. Like so many things in life,<br />

participation is the key and having the<br />

required numbers of playing personnel<br />

at every level is essential to providing the<br />

desired outcome.<br />

When this point is not reached and a<br />

club is finding it challenging to build a<br />

squad, then creative decisions need to be<br />

made in terms of direction.<br />

Birr RFC and Roscrea RFC share many<br />

things, a geographical hinterland, a rich<br />

sporting heritage, a social history, but<br />

perhaps most significantly both clubs<br />

share a collective ethos whereby their<br />

commitment to providing for their players<br />

is paramount above all else.<br />

As such, when the decision to initiate<br />

a new alliance at various age grades<br />

was first considered, both clubs made<br />

considerable efforts to make the<br />

ambitious dream a reality.<br />

The result of these endeavours is an<br />

exciting and dynamic new brand to be<br />

named the Ravens encapsulating the<br />

Boys Under-17 and Under-18 teams and<br />

the Girls Under-14 and Under-16 teams<br />

from both clubs.<br />

The objective is to provide a strong,<br />

progressive, and positive rugby<br />

experience for all local youths interested<br />

in a unique sporting adventure. The<br />

combined knowledge, resources and<br />

pedigree of both clubs will provide the<br />

fundamental basis for the new venture,<br />

with shared coaching and a revolving<br />

training base.<br />

Both parent clubs are very excited<br />

about the new amalgamation and have<br />

complete confidence that it will provide<br />

an overwhelmingly positive outcome for<br />

all involved long into the future.<br />

www.leinsterrugby.ie | 45 | From The Ground Up


<strong>Leinster</strong> Player Statistics<br />

Final stats for the 2019/20 Season<br />

SQUAD<br />

2019/20 SEASON FOR LEINSTER LEINSTER CAREER<br />

CAP<br />

ALL GAMES PRO14 EPCR ALL GAMES PRO14 EPCR<br />

NO DEBUT<br />

App Try Pts App Try Pts App Try Pts App Try Pts App Try Pts App Try Pts<br />

VAKH ABDALADZE 1263 2 DEC 17 0+4 - - 0+4 - - - - - 0+11 1 5 0+11 1 5 - - - 10 -<br />

JACK AUNGIER 1282 1 NOV 19 0+4 - - 0+4 - - - - - 0+4 - - 0+4 - - - - - - -<br />

RYAN BAIRD 1278 27 APR 19 1+4 - - 1+4 - - - - - 1+5 - - 1+5 - - - - - - -<br />

MICHAEL BENT 1212 1 DEC 12 8+2 3 15 8+1 3 15 0+1 - - 77+57 4 20 73+36 4 20 4+21 - - 2 IR 4<br />

ADAM BYRNE 1213 29 DEC 12 5 1 5 5 1 5 - - - 49+8 20 100 39+8 14 70 10 6 30 5 IR 1<br />

BRYAN BYRNE 1224 6 SEP 14 0+5 - - 0+4 - - 0+1 - - 8+39 12 60 8+36 12 60 0+3 - - 9 -<br />

ED BYRNE 1222 9 FEB 14 1+6 2 10 1+3 1 5 0+3 1 5 13+39 7 35 13+31 6 30 0+8 1 5 2 -<br />

HARRY BYRNE 1280 28 SEP 19 2+6 2 45 2+6 2 45 - - - 2+6 2 45 2+6 2 45 - - - 5 -<br />

ROSS BYRNE 1236 4 SEP 15 10+3 2 109 7 1 69 3+3 1 40 56+28 5 494 47+14 2 370 9+14 3 124 5 IR 6<br />

TOM CLARKSON 1285 29 AUG 20 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -<br />

JACK CONAN 1223 20 FEB 14 - - - - - - - - - 68+21 21 105 50+11 14 70 18+10 7 35 6 IR 17<br />

WILL CONNORS 1264 9 FEB 18 8+1 2 10 8+1 2 10 - - - 11+3 2 10 11+3 2 10 - - - 1 -<br />

SEAN CRONIN 1202 28 OCT 11 3+4 1 5 2+3 - - 1+1 1 5 112+68 41 205 69+47 24 120 42+19 16 80 4 IR 72<br />

BARRY DALY 1250 1 OCT 16 - - - - - - - - - 25+11 19 95 23+11 18 90 2 1 5 5 -<br />

MAX DEEGAN 1256 3 DEC 16 11+4 7 35 8+1 5 25 3+3 2 10 33+28 18 90 30+20 16 80 3+8 2 10 3 IR 1<br />

BRIAN DEENY - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -<br />

PETER DOOLEY 1230 31 OCT 14 10+4 - - 10+1 - - 0+3 - - 27+48 2 10 26+43 2 10 1+5 - - 38 -<br />

CAELAN DORIS 1268 28 APR 18 10+3 3 15 6+2 1 5 4+1 2 10 21+8 4 20 17+6 2 10 4+2 2 10 1 IR 2<br />

OISIN DOWLING 1275 5 JAN 19 0+2 - - 0+2 - - - - - 1+5 - - 1+5 - - - - - - -<br />

JACK DUNNE 1276 16 FEB 19 0+1 - - 0+1 - - - - - 1+5 - - 1+5 - - - - - - -<br />

SCOTT FARDY 1257 2 SEP 17 11+2 - - 8 - - 3+2 - - 47+10 9 45 33+5 5 25 14+5 4 20 17 AU 39<br />

CIARAN FRAWLEY 1265 17 FEB 18 3+7 1 38 3+4 1 32 0+3 - 6 8+16 3 120 8+13 3 114 0+3 - 6 5 -<br />

TADHG FURLONG 1220 1 NOV 13 4+2 1 5 1 - - 3+2 1 5 69+39 7 35 40+31 3 15 29+8 4 20 4 IR 44<br />

JAMISON GIBSON-PARK 1247 2 SEP 16 9+8 1 5 8+3 1 5 1+5 - - 42+45 16 80 38+23 14 70 4+22 2 10 15 -<br />

DAVID HAWKSHAW - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -<br />

CIAN HEALY 1142 5 MAY 07 7+1 1 5 1+1 - - 6 1 5 144+72 24 120 82+46 11 55 60+25 12 60 5 IR 98<br />

ROBBIE HENSHAW 1251 8 OCT 16 6+1 1 5 1 1 5 5+1 - - 43+1 8 40 17 2 10 26+1 6 30 3 IR 43<br />

DAVE KEARNEY 1158 16 MAY 09 10+1 9 45 5 6 30 5+1 3 15 126+21 38 190 102+15 33 165 23+5 5 25 3 IR 19<br />

ROB KEARNEY 1117 4 SEP 05 3+5 1 5 2+1 1 5 1+4 - - 187+31 42 238 116+16 23 132 68+15 17 96 4 IR 95<br />

HUGO KEENAN 1253 5 NOV 16 7+1 - - 7+1 - - - - - 10+3 1 5 10+3 1 5 - - - 10 -<br />

CIAN KELLEHER 1234 16 MAY 15 4+3 4 20 4+3 4 20 - - - 5+9 5 25 5+9 5 25 - - - 1 -<br />

RONAN KELLEHER 1277 22 FEB 19 9 8 40 6 7 35 3 1 5 10+1 8 40 7+1 7 35 3 1 5 1 IR 3<br />

JACK KELLY 1273 23 NOV 18 - - - - - - - - - 0+1 - - 0+1 - - - - - - -<br />

JORDAN LARMOUR 1258 2 SEP 17 7 - - 1 - - 6 - - 38+8 12 60 20+5 10 50 18+3 2 10 18 IR 24<br />

DAN LEAVY 1231 31 OCT 14 - - - - - - - - - 39+24 14 70 31+16 11 55 8+8 3 15 3 IR 11<br />

JAMES LOWE 1262 2 DEC 17 12 5 25 6 3 15 6 2 10 42 26 130 27 18 90 15 8 40 5 -<br />

FERGUS MCFADDEN 1145 28 SEP 07 4+1 2 10 4+1 2 10 - - - 155+28 29 444 121+15 23 390 31+13 6 54 3 IR 34<br />

LUKE MCGRATH 1206 5 MAY 12 8+1 2 10 3 1 5 5+1 1 5 79+43 31 155 50+38 23 115 29+5 8 40 4 IR 19<br />

MICHAEL MILNE 1279 28 SEP 19 0+7 2 10 0+7 2 10 - - - 0+7 2 10 0+7 2 10 - - - 5 -<br />

MARTIN MOLONEY - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -<br />

SINCE LAST TRY<br />

CAPS<br />

From The Ground Up | 46 | www.leinsterrugby.ie


ROSS MOLONY 1233 20 FEB 15 6+7 - - 6+5 - - 0+2 - - 51+44 3 15 49+31 3 15 2+13 - - 57 -<br />

GAVIN MULLIN 1267 7 APR 18 - - - - - - - - - 0+2 - - 0+2 - - - - - - -<br />

JOSH MURPHY 1261 3 NOV 17 7+3 1 5 7+2 1 5 0+1 - - 26+5 2 10 26+4 2 10 0+1 - - 1 -<br />

ROWAN OSBORNE 1281 4 OCT 19 1+3 1 5 1+3 1 5 - - - 1+3 1 5 1+3 1 5 - - - 3 -<br />

CONOR O'BRIEN 1260 3 NOV 17 4+2 - - 4+2 - - - - - 16+7 6 30 16+6 6 30 0+1 - - 9 -<br />

JIMMY O'BRIEN 1272 23 NOV 18 7+2 - - 7+2 - - - - - 10+6 3 15 10+6 3 15 - - - 10 -<br />

TOMMY O'BRIEN 1283 20 DEC 19 1+2 1 5 1+2 1 5 - - - 1+2 1 5 1+2 1 5 - - - 1 -<br />

RORY O'LOUGHLIN 1248 2 SEP 16 6 - - 5 - - 1 - - 50+17 21 105 44+11 18 90 6+6 3 15 10 IR 1<br />

AARON O'SULLIVAN - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -<br />

HUGH O'SULLIVAN 1270 15 SEP 18 0+6 1 5 0+6 1 5 - - - 2+18 1 5 2+16 1 5 0+2 - - 4 -<br />

PADDY PATTERSON 1274 1 DEC 18 - - - - - - - - - 0+3 1 5 0+3 1 5 - - - 2 -<br />

SCOTT PENNY 1271 23 NOV 18 5+2 3 15 5+2 3 15 - - - 10+3 5 25 10+3 5 25 - - - 4 -<br />

ANDREW PORTER 1246 2 SEP 16 6+3 4 20 3 2 10 3+3 2 10 18+44 9 45 15+28 7 35 3+16 2 10 2 IR 26<br />

GARRY RINGROSE 1237 12 SEP 15 7 8 40 1 2 10 6 6 30 70+2 24 120 41+1 13 65 29+1 11 55 3 IR 29<br />

RHYS RUDDOCK 1167 6 DEC 09 8+2 2 10 3+1 1 5 5+1 1 5 129+42 10 50 96+28 8 40 32+12 2 10 2 IR 26<br />

CHARLIE RYAN - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -<br />

JAMES RYAN 1259 2 SEP 17 6 - - 1 - - 5 - - 32+5 2 10 13+1 - - 19+4 2 10 18 IR 26<br />

ROMAN SALANOA 1284 20 DEC 19 0+3 - - 0+3 - - - - - 0+3 - - 0+3 - - - - - - -<br />

JOHNNY SEXTON 1127 27 JAN 06 3 1 23 - - - 3 1 23 140+23 26 1469 81+17 13 804 57+6 12 634 3 IR 91<br />

DAN SHEEHAN - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -<br />

MICHAEL SILVESTER - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -<br />

JOE TOMANE 1269 31 AUG 18 7 2 10 7 2 10 - - - 16+4 3 15 15+3 3 15 1+1 - - 2 AU 17<br />

DEVIN TONER 1128 27 Jan 06 11+2 - - 7 - - 4+2 - - 191+53 4 20 129+35 4 20 59+18 - - 27 IR 70<br />

JAMES TRACY 1211 4 NOV 12 6+9 1 5 4+5 - - 2+4 1 5 46+61 8 40 40+36 7 35 6+25 1 5 2 IR 6<br />

LIAM TURNER - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -<br />

JOSH VAN DER FLIER 1228 11 Oct 14 6+1 1 5 0+1 - - 6 1 5 62+18 9 45 36+13 6 30 26+5 3 15 2 IR 26<br />

KICKING<br />

2019/20 SEASON FOR LEINSTER LEINSTER CAREER<br />

ALL GAMES PRO14 EPCR ALL GAMES PRO14 EPCR OVERALL<br />

SUCCESS<br />

RATE<br />

C PG DG C PG DG C PG DG C PG DG C PG DG C PG DG ATT Career<br />

%<br />

- - - - - - - - - - HARRY BYRNE 77.27% 16 1 16 1 16 1 16 1 22 77.27%<br />

ROSS BYRNE 81.48% 33 11 - 20 8 - 13 3 - 158 50 1 123 37 1 35 13 - 281 74.02%<br />

CIARAN FRAWLEY 88.89% 15 1 - 12 1 - 3 - - 42 7 - 39 7 - 3 - - 57 85.96%<br />

ROB KEARNEY - - - - - - - - - - 2 5 3 1 4 1 1 1 2 16 43.75%<br />

FERGUS MCFADDEN - - - - - - - - - - 46 68 1 40 64 1 6 4 - 151 75.50%<br />

JOHNNY SEXTON 72.73% 6 2 - - - - 6 2 - 224 286 11 113 164 7 104 118 4 640 79.69%<br />

JOE TOMANE - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 1 0.00%<br />

www.leinsterrugby.ie | 47 | From The Ground Up


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From The Ground Up | 50 | www.leinsterrugby.ie


www.leinsterrugby.ie | 51 | From The Ground Up


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Hello and welcome to the 2020/21 <strong>Leinster</strong><br />

<strong>Rugby</strong> season and to what is indeed the strangest<br />

start that any of us could've imagined.<br />

The schedule has been set, the fixtures<br />

agreed and in place and the teams are<br />

all ready to go. What’s the problem<br />

then you ask? Well given the strange<br />

times we find ourselves in, the one<br />

vital piece of the picture missing is,<br />

quite simply, the fans.<br />

Due to the worldwide impact COVID-19 has<br />

had on what we previously took for granted,<br />

we are, for the moment (fingers crossed),<br />

unable to attend the games in person to do<br />

what we all do best, cheer on the Boys in Blue.<br />

Given that we recently secured our third<br />

Guinness PRO14 title in-a-row, we know that<br />

all of us, fans, players and those involved in<br />

<strong>Leinster</strong> <strong>Rugby</strong>, would’ve liked nothing more<br />

than to hear the familiar roar as the team take<br />

to the hallowed turf of the RDS for our first<br />

fixture of this new season.<br />

Back to matters at hand though and, similar<br />

to last Autumn which included the <strong>Rugby</strong><br />

World Cup, this season is again shaping up to<br />

be a busy one for us with no doubt a cohort<br />

of <strong>Leinster</strong> players due to be called into the<br />

Ireland squad for the fixtures to be played in<br />

the postponed 2020 Guinness Six Nations,<br />

as well as a newly launched tournament – the<br />

Autumn Nations Cup.<br />

Six Nations fixtures against Italy and France<br />

are due to be played at the end of October<br />

and then, after a rest week, Ireland will open<br />

their Autumn Nations Cup campaign which<br />

will see us play against Wales, England and<br />

Georgia plus a fourth team from a pick of<br />

Scotland, France, Italy or Fiji.<br />

The Autumn Nations Cup is scheduled to run<br />

from Friday, November 13, until Sunday,<br />

December 6, during which time we have<br />

three fixtures of our own so no doubt Leo and<br />

team will be looking to call from the squad<br />

to ensure that the blue run of form is not<br />

impacted by the absence of those called up to<br />

pull on the green shirt.<br />

At the time of going to print, <strong>Leinster</strong> have<br />

11 games scheduled starting this weekend<br />

and running up until the weekend of January<br />

9/10. Hopefully, all going to plan, Guinness<br />

PRO14 will be in a position to announce<br />

the rest of the fixtures from January 2021<br />

onwards, right up to the conclusion of the<br />

season. Those 11 games coincide with six<br />

Ireland games, and the yet to be announced<br />

Heineken Champions Cup so all in all, 17<br />

games announced to date to keep us rugby<br />

happy.<br />

For the moment, let’s continue to support the<br />

best way we can, through the power of social<br />

media. The OLSC trialled a number of fan<br />

approaches since rugby restarted in August,<br />

print-at-home banners, supporter posts and<br />

videos as well as match-day messages along<br />

the route to the stadium on game day for the<br />

team.<br />

We’ll be working on lots more over the season<br />

as we look to continue to support the team<br />

from afar until the time comes when we can<br />

pass through the turnstiles and take our seats<br />

back in the RDS.<br />

For now though, stay safe as we do it all<br />

again for another season!<br />

Yours in <strong>Rugby</strong>,<br />

OLSC Committee<br />

From The Ground Up | 54 | www.leinsterrugby.ie


OFFICIAL<br />

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The Official <strong>Leinster</strong> Supporters Club are delighted to announce that we have<br />

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Helping Clubs to Self Promote<br />

<strong>Leinster</strong> <strong>Rugby</strong> Domestic PR Committee<br />

The <strong>Leinster</strong> <strong>Rugby</strong> Domestic<br />

PR Committee is made up of a<br />

vibrant group of volunteers who<br />

each fulfil a significant role and<br />

together they offer clubs and club<br />

PROs the support and resources<br />

that they need to promote their<br />

activities, recruit new players and<br />

volunteers and add value to their<br />

sponsors.<br />

Over recent years, the PR Committee has<br />

run various workshops and seminars for<br />

PROs that have helped them to widen<br />

their knowledge around areas such<br />

as article writing, social media, sports<br />

photography, communicating with local<br />

media and accessing <strong>Leinster</strong> <strong>Rugby</strong>’s<br />

media channels.<br />

Following these events, <strong>Leinster</strong> <strong>Rugby</strong>’s<br />

Domestic Marketing Executive Lisa Doyle<br />

compiled a PRO Handbook which is<br />

always available online and has become<br />

the document that new and experienced<br />

Public Relations Officers rely on to help<br />

them to build their strategy and make the<br />

most of the promotional opportunities<br />

available to them.<br />

The Domestic <strong>Rugby</strong> PR Committee is<br />

made up of representatives from all<br />

areas and all levels of the game. Led<br />

by chairperson Jacinta O’Rourke, the<br />

group works hard to ensure that there is<br />

constant communication with all clubs<br />

and that everyone who is interested in<br />

rugby in <strong>Leinster</strong> gets to hear about the<br />

competitions and stories that matter.<br />

The committee ensures that every <strong>Leinster</strong><br />

<strong>Rugby</strong> matchday programme contains<br />

stories of interest from around the clubs<br />

as well as updates and topical articles<br />

about refereeing, women’s rugby, youths<br />

rugby, schools rugby and men’s rugby.<br />

The opportunity to share stories about<br />

their successes and milestone events is<br />

something that is important clubs and so<br />

the Area PROs on the Domestic <strong>Rugby</strong><br />

Committee are in constant contact with<br />

the clubs in their part of the province<br />

to see if they have any stories to share<br />

not just in match day programmes but<br />

also on the <strong>Leinster</strong> <strong>Rugby</strong> website.<br />

Representatives of women’s rugby, minis<br />

& youths rugby, junior rugby, senior<br />

rugby and development schools rugby<br />

are also constantly ensuring that the<br />

widest possible audience gets to hear<br />

about significant developments in those<br />

areas of the game.<br />

Chairperson Jacinta O’Rourke tells us<br />

how important a strong team is to the<br />

success of the committee: “Our primary<br />

purpose is to help clubs and their PROs<br />

to get the positive messages about what<br />

they are doing within their communities<br />

out to their local audience but also,<br />

when relevant, to the wider rugby family.<br />

“We want clubs to let us know when<br />

they need help with developing any<br />

aspect of PR and marketing and when<br />

they have an interesting story to share.<br />

As a team, we are always working<br />

together to make sure that we are in<br />

regular contact with clubs to offer our<br />

support.<br />

“At a time like this we can help individual<br />

clubs to introduce, for example, live<br />

streaming and other ways of keeping<br />

their supporters updated despite<br />

restrictions. Our team is always adapting<br />

to help clubs to react to changing times”.<br />

The committee’s work is supported by<br />

the communications team within <strong>Leinster</strong><br />

<strong>Rugby</strong> who ensure that the stories that<br />

matter to grass roots rugby volunteers<br />

are given the same exposure as stories<br />

about the professional teams. This means<br />

that the valuable time devoted to their<br />

clubs by our PROs is as effective as it<br />

can possibly be.<br />

The committee members for<br />

the 2020/21 season are:<br />

Jacinta O'Rourke<br />

CHAIRPERSON<br />

Barry Lambkin<br />

VICE CHAIRPERSON<br />

MINIS & YOUTHS RUGBY<br />

Karen Ennis<br />

WOMEN’S RUGBY<br />

Marta Harper &<br />

Rachael O'Brien<br />

JUNIOR RUGBY<br />

Dave McFadden<br />

SENIOR RUGBY<br />

Robert Deacon<br />

DEVELOPMENT SCHOOLS<br />

Lorcan Balfe<br />

MIDLANDS AREA PRO<br />

Will Macken<br />

NORTH MIDLANDS AREA PRO<br />

Kevin Greene<br />

NORTH EAST AREA PRO<br />

Caroline McFadden<br />

SOUTH EAST AREA PRO<br />

Debbie Carty<br />

METRO AREA PRO<br />

Darren Morrin<br />

PLEASE CLICK THE IMAGE ABOVE TO<br />

VIEW CONTACT INFORMATION ON<br />

PAGE 13 OF OUR HANDBOOK<br />

www.leinsterrugby.ie | 57 | From The Ground Up


ONE FROM<br />

The Vaults<br />

LEINSTER 50 DRAGONS 15<br />

1 November 2019 | Guinness PRO14 | 10,568 | Referee: Andrea Piardi<br />

Dave Kearney and James Lowe both<br />

touched down twice as <strong>Leinster</strong> <strong>Rugby</strong><br />

ran out 50-15 bonus point winners<br />

over <strong>Dragons</strong> in rain-soaked conditions<br />

at the RDS Arena last November.<br />

The in-form Kearney took his Guinness PRO14<br />

season’s haul to five tries in three matches,<br />

while 20-year-old Academy out-half Harry<br />

Byrne marked his first start with a try and five<br />

conversions in a man-of-the-match performance.<br />

Michael Bent, with his second score in three<br />

games, Kearney and Byrne all touched down<br />

to establish a 19-8 half-time lead. <strong>Dragons</strong><br />

deserved to be closer on the scoreboard but<br />

an opportunist Jordan Williams try did keep<br />

them in contention.<br />

Nonetheless, Leo Cullen’s men were in rampant<br />

form in the second half as efforts from Ronan<br />

Kelleher, Kearney, Lowe (2) and replacement<br />

Hugh O’Sullivan took them to the half-century<br />

mark. Owen Jenkins scored <strong>Dragons</strong>’ second<br />

try from a last-minute turnover.<br />

Settling the quicker of the sides, <strong>Leinster</strong><br />

pressed from a lineout won by captain Devin<br />

Toner. <strong>Dragons</strong> did well to hold the maul at<br />

bay but Bent was able to burrow over from a<br />

close-in ruck, eight minutes in.<br />

The increasingly-influential Rory O’Loughlin<br />

went close – a knock-on denied them – before<br />

LEINSTER:<br />

Jimmy O’Brien; Dave<br />

Kearney, Rory O’Loughlin<br />

(Cian Kelleher 63), Conor<br />

O’Brien (Ciarán Frawley 60),<br />

James Lowe; Harry Byrne,<br />

Jamison Gibson-Park (Hugh<br />

O’Sullivan 60); Peter Dooley<br />

(Michael Milne 52), Rónan<br />

Kelleher (James Tracy 52),<br />

Michael Bent (Jack Aungier<br />

52); Devin Toner (Ross<br />

Molony 57), Ryan Baird;<br />

Max Deegan, Scott Penny,<br />

Caelan Doris (Will Connors<br />

70).<br />

DRAGONS:<br />

Jordan Williams; Owen<br />

Jenkins, Adam Warren,<br />

Connor Edwards (Tyler<br />

Morgan 47), Ashton Hewitt;<br />

Sam Davies, Rhodri Williams<br />

(Luke Baldwin 60); Brok<br />

Harris (Josh Reynolds 73),<br />

Richard Hibbard (Ellis Shipp<br />

70), Leon Brown (Lloyd<br />

Fairbrother 70); Joseph<br />

Davies, Matthew Screech<br />

(Max Williams 65); Harrison<br />

Keddie (James Benjamin 60),<br />

Taine Basham, Huw Taylor.<br />

Sam Davies opened the visitors’ account with<br />

a 19th-minute penalty, rewarding an initial<br />

surging break from Taine Basham.<br />

A slick move out to the right wing saw <strong>Leinster</strong><br />

respond with their second try, Byrne and<br />

O’Loughlin releasing Scott Penny up the<br />

touchline and Kearney timed his support run to<br />

perfection as he gobbled up Penny’s looping<br />

inside pass to make it 12-3.<br />

The margin was down to four points after a<br />

scrappy phase of play resulted in Williams<br />

diving over in the left corner. <strong>Dragons</strong><br />

managed to advance into <strong>Leinster</strong>’s 22, and<br />

although the ball went loose, Jenkins got his<br />

boot to it ahead of Jimmy O’Brien and the wellplaced<br />

full-back snapped it up to score.<br />

<strong>Leinster</strong>’s third try arrived when Byrne’s closerange<br />

run-in from a Jamison-Gibson Park pass<br />

ended with the Ireland Under-20 Grand Slam<br />

winner scoring his second in the senior shirt<br />

after a TMO check.<br />

He also converted his own touchdown, and the<br />

home crowd were treated to a rampant second<br />

half display from the province. They racked<br />

up five tries and 31 points in a tremendous<br />

21-minute spell.<br />

Young hooker Kelleher piled over from a<br />

43rd-minute lineout maul to register the bonus<br />

point. Just three minutes later, Kearney darted<br />

From The Ground Up | 58 | www.leinsterrugby.ie


forward from a Byrne cross-field kick, and some<br />

terrific support play from Conor O’Brien and<br />

Penny allowed Kearney to cut in past three<br />

defenders and complete his classy brace.<br />

Cullen’s charges hammered home their<br />

advantage with three more tries – all converted<br />

by Byrne. Ryan Baird, another first-time starter,<br />

and prop Jack Aungier, who made his debut<br />

off the bench, also played their part as they left<br />

<strong>Dragons</strong> trailing in their wake.<br />

O’Loughlin and Jimmy O’Brien used some deft<br />

footwork and a draw-and-pass to release Lowe<br />

for try number six, before O’Loughlin’s kick<br />

through went loose from the retreating Davies<br />

and O’Sullivan swooped in to score.<br />

Early in the final quarter, Lowe’s second of the<br />

night saw the powerful winger galloping clear<br />

after Williams had taken his eye off a pass and<br />

turned over possession near halfway.<br />

Determined defending near their own line<br />

saw <strong>Leinster</strong> continue to frustrate <strong>Dragons</strong>.<br />

Replacement Max Deegan’s textbook tackle<br />

denied Basham near the right corner, but the<br />

Welshmen gained some consolation when Luke<br />

Baldwin and Adam Warren combined to send<br />

Jenkins over to the right of the posts.<br />

www.leinsterrugby.ie | 59 | From The Ground Up


EVERY FIXTURE<br />

EVERY TRY<br />

EVERY TACKLE<br />

ALL IN<br />

ONE APP


HANGING WITH THE STARS SINCE 2004.<br />

OFFICIAL<br />

CLOTHING<br />

PARTNER


Where are they now?<br />

By Des Berry<br />

REGGIE<br />

CORRIGAN<br />

THEN: LED LEINSTER TO THEIR FIRST MAJOR TROPHY, THE<br />

2001/2002 CELTIC LEAGUE TITLE, IN A 10-YEAR CAREER THAT<br />

RETURNED 136 CAPS FOR LEINSTER AND 47 FOR IRELAND.<br />

NOW: SUNSHINE 106.8FM RADIO SHOW HOST & PREMIER<br />

SPORTS PRO14 LEAGUE COMMENTATOR & CO-OWNER<br />

BRIGHTWAVE SOLUTIONS.<br />

There was a time, not so long<br />

ago, when <strong>Leinster</strong> found trophies<br />

hard to come by.<br />

Before the first of the four Heineken<br />

Champions Cup stars could be<br />

embroidered onto the shirt, there was<br />

much toil by many for little reward.<br />

That was until the 2001/2002 Celtic<br />

League final, played just before<br />

Christmas that season, when Reggie<br />

Corrigan led <strong>Leinster</strong> to the inaugural<br />

title.<br />

It all came about in the most unexpected<br />

circumstances as Eric Miller was redcarded<br />

in the 25th minute to put <strong>Leinster</strong><br />

in a hole they climbed out of due to a<br />

collective willingness to go the extra mile<br />

in a 24-20 triumph.<br />

Ever since, that standout moment has<br />

been depicted as an exception to the rule<br />

that <strong>Leinster</strong> just didn't come through in<br />

the clutch.<br />

Something that still rankles with Corrigan:<br />

“I don't know if it did prove to be a false<br />

dawn. I sometimes get annoyed with<br />

people's descriptions at how <strong>Leinster</strong><br />

never did anything for many years.<br />

“We won the first Celtic League title<br />

in front of a crowd of 40,000 with 14<br />

players. I always see that as being a<br />

major achievement. I suppose, because<br />

we won that one, everyone thought<br />

everything else would all fall into place.<br />

“I think that does a huge disservice<br />

to the other sides that were around at<br />

the time, how hard you had to work<br />

to win something. Swansea were in<br />

their pomp. Glasgow was a tough<br />

environment to win. Even places<br />

like Ebbw Vale, Bridgend,<br />

Newport, Pontypridd were<br />

far from easy. Ulster<br />

were at the top of their<br />

From The Ground Up | 62 | www.leinsterrugby.ie


game after being crowned Heineken<br />

champions in 1999; Munster making<br />

the Heineken final in 2000 and 2002.<br />

Every match was a battle. There were<br />

no soft touches in that league.”<br />

The onset of Covid-19 caused people<br />

to ponder the past and Corrigan even<br />

took the time to have a look back at<br />

that Celtic League final.<br />

“I watched it there recently. There<br />

was an amazing collection of<br />

Irish players involved in that<br />

match. I was almost worried to<br />

watch in case it aged badly.<br />

In fact, it was phenomenal<br />

quality.”<br />

Captain Corrigan eventually<br />

retired from playing in 2007<br />

with 136 caps for his province<br />

and 47 for Ireland. He stayed<br />

inside the game as a scrum<br />

coach, originally part-time with<br />

Matt Williams up in Ulster and<br />

then for Michael Cheika at<br />

<strong>Leinster</strong>.<br />

Now 50, the former loosehead<br />

prop has kept in touch with the<br />

game through his punditry for a<br />

variety of outlets and his work for the<br />

last two years as a lead commentator<br />

for Premier Sports, primarily for the<br />

PRO14 League matches played in<br />

Scotland, Wales, Italy and South<br />

Africa.<br />

In addition, there is the popular cohosting<br />

of Sunshine Radio's (106.8FM)<br />

programme Dublin's Talking<br />

Sport with former World Snooker<br />

champion Ken Doherty.<br />

Covid-19 has even prompted<br />

Corrigan to sometimes go it<br />

alone as Doherty, still active on<br />

the professional circuit, has not<br />

always been available.<br />

“I have been doing the show<br />

for seven or eight years. I've<br />

known Ken for a long time and<br />

he originally asked me to come<br />

on as a guest contributor for<br />

the rugby.<br />

“Then, Ken suggested I come<br />

in to co-present the show as<br />

a different dynamic. I have<br />

been doing it ever since. It is<br />

a double-act. There are two<br />

of us in it. I love it. It is a really<br />

good show, covering everything<br />

rugby, GAA, soccer, horse<br />

racing, golf and so on, more as<br />

a chat than an in-depth analysis.”<br />

www.leinsterrugby.ie | 63 | From The Ground Up


The worldwide pandemic has also led<br />

to an opportunity for Corrigan to delve<br />

into the business world. He started up<br />

Brightwave Solutions, a company devised<br />

to come up with technology to futureproof<br />

against other outbreaks, centred<br />

around installing temperature screening<br />

solutions to companies and schools.<br />

Those years grinding it out in the game<br />

have given the Wicklow man a solid<br />

grounding in many of the finer points of<br />

achieving his goals.<br />

“I took a lot of what I learned from rugby<br />

into my working life around problem<br />

solving, coming up with strategies,<br />

working in a team environment,<br />

understanding people,” he said.<br />

“For instance, I would have been<br />

captain of <strong>Leinster</strong> for four years and on<br />

leadership groups all the way through<br />

my rugby career. You very quickly learn<br />

about how to read people and the social<br />

skills in interacting with them.”<br />

He is also realistic about how much the<br />

game has changed and how he is on the<br />

outside looking in.<br />

“I'm very wary about giving my opinion<br />

on rugby anymore. I'm conscious<br />

of the fact I'm 13 years out of the<br />

professionalism. It is not the game that<br />

I knew. I don't feel I have a right or the<br />

insight to comment on what goes on<br />

inside a dressing-room because I don't<br />

know. I back away from that now.<br />

“<strong>Rugby</strong> is a very different game now<br />

to what it was when I played it, entirely<br />

different. I don't buy into it being tougher.<br />

It was a hard game in the 1980s and<br />

1990s but the techniques, training and<br />

science behind what <strong>Leinster</strong> do now is<br />

so different.”<br />

Perhaps, <strong>Leinster</strong>'s greatest virtue has<br />

been how the organisation has changed<br />

with the times, catching-up, adapting,<br />

overcoming.<br />

“I have nothing but admiration for what<br />

<strong>Leinster</strong> have achieved, where they have<br />

gotten to. I just hope they can sustain it. In<br />

terms of a team to look at and hold up as<br />

a standard, it is phenomenal, what they<br />

have done.<br />

“I think, to bring it back around, that has<br />

been evolving since my day, even before<br />

my day. In order, for good organisations<br />

to succeed in the long-term, you've got<br />

to be able to take the bad times, like the<br />

2000 Heineken Cup semi-final loss to<br />

Perpignan and 2003 defeat to Munster,<br />

and learn from them.<br />

“I think they have done that brilliantly.<br />

Even though <strong>Leinster</strong> waited until 2001<br />

for their first trophy and 2008 for their<br />

second, they used the Perpignan and<br />

Munster losses as lessons. You had to<br />

move on and do your best to not let them<br />

happen again.<br />

“Of course, it isn't perfect. You never stop<br />

learning. You never stop evolving. No<br />

team or club can ever stop and think they<br />

have it all figured out. But, in terms of<br />

where <strong>Leinster</strong> have gotten to, the brand<br />

they have developed, the organisation as<br />

a whole, it is phenomenal.”<br />

From The Ground Up | 64 | www.leinsterrugby.ie


www.leinsterrugby.ie | 65 | From The Ground Up


IT IS GREAT TO SEE ANOTHER SEASON KICKING OFF BOTH<br />

DOMESTICALLY AND ACROSS THE HOME NATIONS, FOLLOWING<br />

WHAT HAS BEEN AN UNCERTAIN TIME FOR EVERYONE. WHILST<br />

OUR REFEREES HAVE RETURNED TO THE PITCH FOR THE MOST<br />

PART, OUR DUBLIN REFEREES ARE STAYING PUT.<br />

As you are all probably aware<br />

Dublin City and County has been<br />

placed on Level 3 restrictions<br />

which remain in place for another<br />

few weeks. This means all<br />

fixtures in Dublin have sadly been<br />

postponed for that period. We all<br />

hope to be back on the pitch soon.<br />

Whilst we have been dealing with<br />

the Coronavirus pandemic, we still<br />

had a busy summer, with many ups<br />

and downs. In July we were deeply<br />

saddened to hear about the passing of<br />

our refereeing colleague Bryan Murphy<br />

from Enniscorthy. Bryan not only played<br />

an important part in Enniscorthy RFC,<br />

but also the <strong>Leinster</strong> <strong>Rugby</strong> Referees and,<br />

in particular, the South East area. Our<br />

thoughts and prayers are with Bryan’s<br />

family at this time.<br />

National Panel<br />

and IPAS Updates<br />

Following the announcement of the<br />

IRFU National Referee Panel for the<br />

2020/2021 season in May, we were<br />

delighted to see that two more <strong>Leinster</strong><br />

<strong>Rugby</strong> referees were added to the<br />

National Panel.<br />

Congratulations to both Sam Holt and<br />

Michael Forrestal. Following on from that,<br />

the Interprovincial Appointments System<br />

(IPAS) referees for the coming season<br />

were also confirmed.<br />

There are three new ARLB referees on<br />

IPAS for 2020/2021. They are Kevin<br />

Beakey (Unattached), Katie Byrne<br />

(Tullamore) and Robbie Jenkinson<br />

(Skerries). These three referees currently<br />

officiate top level junior rugby in <strong>Leinster</strong>.<br />

IPAS will give them the opportunity to<br />

be challenged with matches in the other<br />

provinces in the latter half of next season.<br />

These matches will allow them to develop<br />

in the hope of progressing to the IRFU<br />

National Referee Panel in future seasons.<br />

Congratulations to Kevin, Katie and<br />

Robbie on their promotions and best<br />

wishes for the season ahead.<br />

AGM Update<br />

Our AGM was delayed until earlier this<br />

month. We offer our congratulations to<br />

David Robb of Railway Union RFC who<br />

was elected President of the <strong>Leinster</strong><br />

<strong>Rugby</strong> Referees for the 2020/21 season<br />

on September 1st. Gordon Condell<br />

of Clondalkin and Helen O’Reilly of<br />

Ashbourne were elected as Senior and<br />

Junior Vice Presidents.<br />

From The Ground Up | 66 | www.leinsterrugby.ie


for those who come onto our pathway<br />

and avail of the support programs and<br />

mentoring in place.<br />

“These referee courses bring people<br />

together from a wide variety of<br />

backgrounds. For many, it’s a way back<br />

into the sport after playing or coaching<br />

while some are new to the game as<br />

parents or from another field sport.<br />

Regardless of your rugby knowledge or<br />

ambition there is a level for everyone and<br />

we’re looking forward to providing that<br />

opportunity again in October.”<br />

At the same meeting, two legends of<br />

the whistle, Stephen Kennedy and Paul<br />

Dorman were inducted as Life Members<br />

of the <strong>Leinster</strong> <strong>Rugby</strong> Referees after many<br />

years of service on and off the pitch. We<br />

thank outgoing President Norman Carter<br />

of Roscrea for his difficult and somewhat<br />

shortened year in service.<br />

Become a Referee<br />

New Referees Courses are being made<br />

available across the four provinces<br />

in October 2020. The programme is<br />

designed to offer people with an interest<br />

in sport the opportunity to try their hand<br />

at rugby refereeing.<br />

DATE:<br />

Saturday October 10th, 2020<br />

LOCATION:<br />

Dublin<br />

TO ATTEND:<br />

Please register your interest with<br />

<strong>Leinster</strong> <strong>Rugby</strong> Referee<br />

Development Officer<br />

Sam Holt by emailing<br />

sam.holt@leinsterrugby.ie<br />

MORE INFO:<br />

https://arlb.ie/newreferees-course-2/<br />

The one-day courses typically start at<br />

9.30am in the morning and run until<br />

4.30pm with an hour for lunch.<br />

Please note that due to ongoing public<br />

health measures, attendance is only<br />

possibly by pre-registering. Strict health &<br />

safety protocols will be in place at each<br />

event.<br />

Dudley Phillips, IRFU Head Of Referees<br />

said, “The value of sport as an outlet<br />

for mental and physical wellbeing has<br />

come into clear focus in recent months,<br />

particularly the opportunity to be part of<br />

a live sporting experience,” he said.<br />

“Refereeing offers unique access to the<br />

world of rugby and is highly rewarding<br />

Want to get involved?<br />

Feel free to make contact with the <strong>Leinster</strong> <strong>Rugby</strong><br />

Referees at hayley.whyte@leinsterrugby.ie.<br />

If you are interested in becoming a referee get in<br />

contact with us through our Facebook and Google +<br />

pages, our website www.arlb.ie or through twitter<br />

@leinsterreferee.<br />

www.leinsterrugby.ie | 67 | From The Ground Up


TO MAXIMISE YOUR SPORTS AND EXERCISE<br />

PERFORMANCE THROUGH NUTRITION<br />

Optimum Nutrition and <strong>Leinster</strong> <strong>Rugby</strong> have partnered to help share good nutrition tips throughout<br />

the season to help you achieve your performance goals. Here are some simple tips and things to<br />

remember to help maximise your performance and help you recover quickly to come back stronger.<br />

Protein Rich.<br />

Protein provides your muscles with<br />

the building blocks to repair & grow.<br />

Carb-Up.<br />

Carbohydrate foods are king as they<br />

power high intensity play.<br />

Fuel-Up.<br />

Consume the majority of your<br />

carbohydrates around training to<br />

support fuelling and recovery.<br />

Recover.<br />

Quality rest & nutrition between<br />

training sessions is the key to<br />

recovery. Remember to:<br />

Repair with protein,<br />

Refuel with carbohydrate,<br />

Rehydrate with fluid.<br />

Hydrate.<br />

Dehydration can lead to a drop in<br />

exercise intensity & can impact your<br />

decision making. Drink 2-3 litres of<br />

fluid each day to ensure hydration.<br />

Game Day.<br />

To fuel performance on the field,<br />

consume a large carbohydrate rich<br />

meal 2-3 hours before kick-off, i.e.<br />

chicken & pasta, turkey bolognaise<br />

wraps.<br />

Get 20% off all Optimum Nutrition products<br />

using code <strong>Leinster</strong>20 on optimumnutrition.ie


CCROS UNDERGO INDUCTION<br />

DAY AT CO CARLOW FC<br />

WITH THE NEW SEASON UPON US, LEINSTER RUGBY’S CLUB<br />

COMMUNITY RUGBY OFFICERS (CCRO) ARE AGAIN READY TO<br />

SUPPORT CLUBS AND SCHOOLS AROUND THE PROVINCE.<br />

Under new circumstances, our<br />

CCROs will continue to encourage<br />

boys and girls of all ages to take<br />

to the rugby pitch.<br />

This year, due to COVID-19 restrictions,<br />

the CCRO induction day has been<br />

conducted via the five regions within the<br />

province.<br />

Recently, we visited Co Carlow FC where<br />

the North Midlands and South East<br />

CCROs were able to get together and<br />

receive guidance from Coach Player<br />

Development Officers (CPDO) for the<br />

year ahead.<br />

“With their learning here today with<br />

(CPDOs) John Bagnall and Ben<br />

Armstrong, our CCROs are learning<br />

small-sided games to make them better<br />

to be able to coach in the school<br />

environment,” explains Corey Carty,<br />

South East Community <strong>Rugby</strong> Officer.<br />

“The Community <strong>Rugby</strong> Department<br />

which would be the CCROs and the<br />

CROs and the CPDOs, will all help<br />

the club engage around their COVID<br />

compliance training. Each club will need<br />

to have a COVID safety officer, a COVID<br />

compliance officer, and then each team<br />

will need to have a COVID officer as well<br />

aligned to that team.<br />

“Part of our role as well was to make<br />

those COVID officers and COVID<br />

compliance officers ready for the return<br />

of rugby come September.”<br />

Daisy Earle, the new rugby officer for<br />

Gorey RFC and a member of the <strong>Leinster</strong><br />

Women’s squad, is an example of how<br />

the programme can be successful, herself<br />

being encouraged to take up the game<br />

by a CCRO in the past.<br />

“I’ll be going around to the schools in the<br />

Gorey catchment area, primary schools<br />

and secondary schools, trying to bring<br />

in young kids that want to be out playing<br />

sport, and hopefully get them to join<br />

rugby and stay playing,” says Daisy.<br />

“That’s how I started, a CCRO came into<br />

my school, Ballygarrett national school,<br />

and dragged me in and said I’d be better<br />

at rugby than my brothers and here I am.<br />

“I’m really excited to be on the other<br />

end of things. I’ve only really been on<br />

the player side of it so it’ll be really fun<br />

now. It’s great to see the hard work that<br />

goes in behind everything.”<br />

For the more experienced Mick Bolger<br />

(Enniscorthy RFC), now in his sixth year<br />

as a CCRO, this year will see new<br />

challenges to overcome.<br />

“We’ve worked really hard with <strong>Leinster</strong><br />

<strong>Rugby</strong> and with the clubs over the<br />

summer,” he says. “We’ve worked with<br />

the COVID compliance officer to look<br />

at the risk assessment with the club, with<br />

their safety statement within the club,<br />

and, as a CCRO, we’re lucky enough<br />

to work with Sport Ireland and with<br />

<strong>Leinster</strong>.<br />

“What we do is, work with the clubs<br />

and the schools first of all, to make sure<br />

they’ve done their risk assessments and<br />

their safety, and then bring it alongside<br />

what we’ve been doing with <strong>Leinster</strong> to<br />

make sure they adhere to their safety<br />

plan.”<br />

www.leinsterrugby.ie | 69 | From The Ground Up


<strong>Leinster</strong> <strong>Rugby</strong><br />

Club Community<br />

From The Ground Up | 70 | www.leinsterrugby.ie


<strong>Rugby</strong> Officers<br />

www.leinsterrugby.ie | 71 | From The Ground Up


C<br />

M<br />

Y<br />

CM<br />

MY<br />

Knowing what advice to take<br />

is essential in this game.<br />

CY<br />

CMY<br />

K<br />

beauchamps.ie<br />

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IN OPPOSITION<br />

<strong>Dragons</strong><br />

RYAN LOOKING TO EMBRACE<br />

LEINSTER CHALLENGE<br />

Words: dragonsrugby.wales<br />

Boss Dean Ryan wants his <strong>Dragons</strong> to<br />

be excited by the challenge of facing<br />

reigning Guinness PRO14 champions<br />

<strong>Leinster</strong> in their own backyard to<br />

launch the new season.<br />

<strong>Dragons</strong> jet to Dublin to face the hugely<br />

successful Irish province at the RDS Arena this<br />

evening.<br />

Director of <strong>Dragons</strong> <strong>Rugby</strong> Ryan admits his<br />

team have been handed a tough assignment<br />

to start the new campaign – just weeks after<br />

the European Challenge Cup quarter-final with<br />

Bristol Bears.<br />

After their Guinness PRO14 triumph, <strong>Leinster</strong><br />

were beaten by Saracens the following<br />

weekend in the European Champions Cup<br />

quarter-final and now face <strong>Dragons</strong> in the first<br />

game back.<br />

But Ryan insists his side must embrace the<br />

challenge, as it is the only way they will be<br />

competitive at the highest level.<br />

“There are two ways of looking at this fixture,”<br />

said Ryan. “You are either daunted by going to<br />

<strong>Leinster</strong> or really excited by the challenge - we<br />

have tried to sit in that second camp.<br />

“We’ve had a strange start to the season, in<br />

that two weeks ago we played in a European<br />

quarter-final. None of those look like a nice<br />

easy way into a season.<br />

“A quarter-final against Bristol after six months<br />

doing nothing and then into <strong>Leinster</strong> who get<br />

wounded in Europe last time out.<br />

“There are easier ways to start, but for us we<br />

are really excited about trying to be more<br />

competitive at the highest level.<br />

“If we played <strong>Leinster</strong> six weeks later in the<br />

middle of the autumn series then we would still<br />

be challenged, because the <strong>Leinster</strong> back-up<br />

team is an outstanding team.<br />

“Starting the season there, playing against<br />

a side that potentially is licking its wounds,<br />

is exactly where we are going to learn and<br />

exactly how we get better. We learnt more<br />

about ourselves in the Bristol game than in<br />

many others.<br />

“The team are in a space that is all about<br />

getting out there, being excited and looking<br />

to learn from playing some of the best teams<br />

around.”<br />

Ryan has said that <strong>Dragons</strong> have no major<br />

injury concerns for the clash, but added that<br />

"bumps and bruises" would be assessed ahead<br />

of the trip to Ireland.<br />

From The Ground Up | 74 | www.leinsterrugby.ie


www.leinsterrugby.ie | 75 | From The Ground Up


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Squad | Positions 2020/21<br />

Director of <strong>Rugby</strong> | Dean Ryan<br />

Dean Ryan was appointed<br />

Director of <strong>Dragons</strong> <strong>Rugby</strong> in<br />

May 2019, joining from the RFU<br />

where he had been working as<br />

England’s Head of International<br />

Player Development.<br />

Ryan’s coaching career began at Bristol<br />

<strong>Rugby</strong>, the last club he played for in a<br />

career that included stints at Saracens,<br />

Wasps and Newcastle Falcons as well as<br />

making six appearances for England.<br />

From Bristol, he moved to Gloucester<br />

where he worked under Nigel Melville.<br />

He eventually graduated to Director of<br />

<strong>Rugby</strong> at Gloucester in 2005 and the<br />

Cherry and Whites lifted the European<br />

Challenge Cup in 2006 before reaching<br />

the Premiership Final in 2007.<br />

He also guided Worcester Warriors back<br />

to the top tier of English rugby in 2014.<br />

Captain | Rhodri Williams<br />

Wales international scrum<br />

half Rhodri Williams moved to<br />

<strong>Dragons</strong> in the summer of 2018<br />

from Bristol Bears.<br />

Born in Swansea, Williams started his<br />

rugby career with Llandovery before<br />

winning selection for Scarlets where he<br />

would play between 2011 and 2016.<br />

Williams won Wales Under-20 honours<br />

in the 2013 Six Nations. He went on to<br />

make his full senior Wales debut against<br />

Tonga on November 2013.<br />

Williams represented the Barbarians<br />

against England at Twickenham in<br />

May 2018 and again in the summer of<br />

2019, scoring a second half try as a<br />

replacement.<br />

FORWARDS<br />

DYLAN BARTLETT<br />

PROP<br />

TAINE BASHAM<br />

FLANKER<br />

JAMES BENJAMIN<br />

NO. 8<br />

RYAN BEVINGTON<br />

PROP<br />

LEON BROWN<br />

PROP<br />

CHRIS COLEMAN<br />

PROP<br />

JOSEPH DAVIES<br />

LOCK<br />

ELLIOT DEE<br />

HOOKER<br />

TOM DEVINE<br />

PROP<br />

LEWIS EVANS<br />

BACK ROW<br />

LLOYD FAIRBROTHER<br />

PROP<br />

BEN FRY<br />

BACK ROW<br />

LENNON GREGGAINS<br />

BACK ROW<br />

OLLIE GRIFFITHS<br />

BACK ROW<br />

BROK HARRIS<br />

PROP<br />

RICHARD HIBBARD<br />

HOOKER<br />

AARON JARVIS<br />

PROP<br />

HARRISON KEDDIE<br />

NO. 8<br />

CONOR MAGUIRE<br />

PROP<br />

JOE MAKSYMIW<br />

LOCK<br />

ROSS MORIARTY<br />

BACK ROW<br />

BRANDON NANSEN<br />

LOCK<br />

JOSH REYNOLDS<br />

PROP<br />

MATTHEW SCREECH<br />

LOCK<br />

ELLIS SHIPP<br />

HOOKER<br />

HUW TAYLOR<br />

LOCK<br />

AARON<br />

WAINWRIGHT<br />

BACK ROW<br />

MAX WILLIAMS<br />

LOCK<br />

LUKE YENDLE<br />

PROP<br />

BACKS<br />

DAN BABOS<br />

SCRUM HALF<br />

LUKE BALDWIN<br />

SCRUM HALF<br />

SAM DAVIES<br />

FLY HALF<br />

JACK DIXON<br />

CENTRE<br />

RIO DYER<br />

WINGER<br />

CONNOR EDWARDS<br />

CENTRE<br />

JOE GOODCHILD<br />

WINGER<br />

THOMAS GRIFFITHS<br />

CENTRE<br />

ASHTON HEWITT<br />

WINGER<br />

JONAH HOLMES<br />

WINGER<br />

DAFYDD HOWELLS<br />

WINGER<br />

OWEN JENKINS<br />

WINGER<br />

WILL KELLY<br />

FLY HALF<br />

TAVIS KNOYLE<br />

SCRUM HALF<br />

JOSH LEWIS<br />

FLY HALF<br />

EVAN LLOYD<br />

CENTRE<br />

ANEURIN OWEN<br />

CENTRE<br />

CARWYN PENNY<br />

FLY HALF<br />

JAMIE ROBERTS<br />

CENTRE<br />

ARWEL ROBSON<br />

FLY HALF<br />

JARED ROSSER<br />

WINGER<br />

DEON SMITH<br />

WINGER<br />

WILL TALBOT-DAVIES<br />

FULL BACK<br />

NICK TOMPKINS<br />

CENTRE<br />

ADAM WARREN<br />

CENTRE<br />

JORDAN WILLIAMS<br />

FLY HALF<br />

RHODRI WILLIAMS<br />

SCRUM HALF<br />

www.leinsterrugby.ie | 77 | From The Ground Up


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Landsdowne F C<br />

These have been strange times<br />

indeed.<br />

The life and soul have been sucked out of<br />

so many of Ireland's sporting clubs and<br />

Lansdowne FC is no different as head<br />

coach Mark McHugh leads the way up<br />

a flight of stairs into the bar and lounge<br />

located in the shadow of Aviva Stadium.<br />

Almost all the lights are off as the rain<br />

outside pounds the glass.<br />

“We live in very difficult times. It is such<br />

a shame to see the place like this. I mean<br />

it is the people that make the club and<br />

there is no one here, most of the time,”<br />

said McHugh.<br />

“There are so many other sports all<br />

across the province and the country that<br />

are the same. Hopefully, it won't be too<br />

long before we can all get back to the<br />

way life used to be.”<br />

Even before Covid happened, it wasn't<br />

exactly a bed of roses when McHugh<br />

took over as head coach in the middle of<br />

last season.<br />

Lansdowne had lorded over the Energia<br />

All-Ireland League for three of the<br />

seven previous seasons when they dug<br />

a deep hole. The sage Mike Ruddock<br />

had presided over a disappointing start,<br />

losing five from the opening six rounds.<br />

And then the Grand Slam-winning coach<br />

was gone back to Swansea, to The<br />

Ospreys.<br />

The ex-<strong>Leinster</strong> and Connacht<br />

professional moved from six seasons as<br />

Ruddock's backs coach to taking over<br />

the main role, triggering seven wins from<br />

the ensuing eight encounters to climb into<br />

a play-off position.<br />

“It was great for me to learn from Mike<br />

and be part of his coaching ticket. When<br />

his old team came asking for help, it was<br />

difficult for him to turn it down. We all<br />

understood that.<br />

“We moved from bottom-of-the-table to<br />

fourth with a number of last-minute wins.<br />

We had turned the season around and,<br />

then, it was over.”<br />

The call came the night before<br />

Lansdowne were due to play Trinity<br />

College. One match postponed turned<br />

into a campaign cancelled.<br />

“It was such a shame we couldn't see<br />

out the season. We had made great<br />

progress in three months, winning so<br />

many games in injury-time and losing<br />

our only match to Young Munster by a<br />

point.”<br />

Since then, the country has been in<br />

limbo, the clubs rolling out their rugby<br />

programmes as best they can within strict<br />

guidelines.<br />

“The most challenging thing is you<br />

are working on a week-by-week basis<br />

because the landscape can change so<br />

quickly,” said McHugh.<br />

“We started back training the second<br />

week of July and, at that time, we were<br />

restricted to our pods of six players. The<br />

amount of rugby work you can get done<br />

in those small groups is limited to your<br />

technical skills, your pass-catch, decisionmaking.<br />

“You are disinfecting balls when one<br />

group is finished with them. You're<br />

disinfecting cones. You can't use bibs.<br />

You can't do this. You can't do that.<br />

“Certainly, initially, it was a challenge<br />

and our senior squad this year is large.<br />

We've got the guts of 50 players training<br />

on a Tuesday and Thursday night. As<br />

restrictions have eased, we have been<br />

able to get back to real rugby training,<br />

managing to make the best use of our<br />

time.<br />

“From a Covid point of view, the reality<br />

is we just don't know what will happen in<br />

the weeks ahead,” he stated.<br />

“The only thing we can do is approach<br />

this season thoroughly, in terms of our<br />

preparation. As soon as the gremlins<br />

get in and doubt creeps into what is<br />

ahead, all of sudden, you are not as wellprepared<br />

as you should be. That is when<br />

you get caught out.<br />

“There is uncertainty, a little anxiety,<br />

about what's happening. We have to<br />

prepare like we would for any other<br />

season.”<br />

From The Ground Up | 80 | www.leinsterrugby.ie


Even then, there are no guarantees.<br />

This season started out on September<br />

12th when Lansdowne played<br />

Greystones in the <strong>Leinster</strong> Senior Cup in<br />

their only match to date.<br />

For one reason or another, they were idle<br />

for the next two weeks, ahead of their<br />

opening round of the Energia Community<br />

Series against Old Wesley at Lansdowne<br />

Road tomorrow (KO 2.30pm).<br />

“We do constantly remind the guys<br />

about their responsibility,” he added.<br />

“They are young men and they do like<br />

to socialise, as we all did when we<br />

were their age. We have been quite<br />

clear. Their responsibility extends to<br />

representing Lansdowne.<br />

“If they are not doing what they should,<br />

they risk bringing Covid-19 to the club<br />

and that could jeopardise the season.”<br />

Director of <strong>Rugby</strong> Stephen Rooney and<br />

Covid Officer Kieran Walsh are heavily<br />

involved in the logistical side of the club.<br />

Where there are challenges, there are<br />

also opportunities. The strict guidelines<br />

around what events can take place and<br />

who can and can't attend the matches<br />

hurt the club financially.<br />

It has also pushed clubs to come up with<br />

new and interesting ways of reaching out<br />

to their members or persons of interest<br />

who have drifted away.<br />

“We do have plans to stream the games<br />

live. We are looking at technology<br />

providers at the moment,” issued<br />

McHugh.<br />

“From what I understand, it is as simple<br />

as connecting to the cameras the club<br />

already has on site to record the games<br />

for video analysis. There are people who<br />

can't get to Lansdowne for a variety of<br />

reasons. They could have young families<br />

at home. They may be living outside<br />

Dublin or even abroad. Something like<br />

this is brilliant for providing a way of<br />

keeping in touch with the club.<br />

“It probably should have been out there<br />

a long time ago. I guess it is here now.<br />

It is definitely a really useful tool for<br />

keeping members engaged in the rugby<br />

club.”<br />

It is this kind of positive thinking that<br />

enables clubs to reach out. Some day,<br />

the atmosphere at Lansdowne will be<br />

revived, the people will come back and<br />

there will be renewed life where now<br />

there is a state of limbo.<br />

“This is different gravy. It is not something<br />

any of us have ever seen before. We<br />

just have to do what we can within the<br />

guidelines laid down.<br />

“The government and sporting governing<br />

bodies have been very reactive to this.<br />

How can they possibly be pro-active?<br />

They don't know what is coming down<br />

the line.<br />

“The mindset has to be the same as it<br />

is every other season. We have to be<br />

ready to play. We don't want to start this<br />

season like we did the All-Ireland League<br />

last season.<br />

“We just have to continue as normal as<br />

possible from a rugby point of view. For<br />

the club, it is very different to run it when<br />

you have no income coming through the<br />

door.<br />

“That is the challenge for every club,<br />

every sport in the country.”<br />

www.leinsterrugby.ie | 81 | From The Ground Up


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THE EPCR<br />

BOARD HAS<br />

UNANIMOUSLY<br />

AGREED THAT<br />

NEW HEINEKEN<br />

CHAMPIONS<br />

CUP AND<br />

CHALLENGE CUP<br />

TOURNAMENT<br />

FORMATS WILL<br />

BE INTRODUCED<br />

FOR THE 2020/21<br />

SEASON.<br />

2020/21 season Heineken<br />

Champions Cup and Challenge Cup<br />

tournament formats<br />

The decision to alter the formats for<br />

next season on an exceptional basis<br />

has been made against the backdrop<br />

of the COVID-19 public health crisis and<br />

its ongoing impact on the professional<br />

club game in Europe.<br />

The 2020/21 Heineken Champions Cup<br />

will be competed for by 24 clubs with the<br />

eight highest-ranked representatives from the<br />

Gallagher Premiership, the Guinness PRO14<br />

and the TOP 14 securing their places.<br />

The clubs will be divided into two pools of<br />

12 by means of a draw and the tournament<br />

will be played over eight weekends with four<br />

rounds of matches in the pool stage followed<br />

by a knockout stage consisting of home and<br />

away quarter-finals, semi-finals and the final in<br />

Marseille on 22 May 2021.<br />

For the purposes of the pool draw, the clubs<br />

will be separated into tiers, and clubs from the<br />

same league in the same tier will not be drawn<br />

into the same pool. The number 1 and number<br />

2 ranked clubs from each league will be in Tier<br />

1, the number 3 and number 4 ranked clubs<br />

will be in Tier 2, the number 5 and 6 ranked<br />

clubs will be in Tier 3, and the number 7 and<br />

number 8 ranked clubs will be in Tier 4.<br />

The Tier 1 and the Tier 4 clubs which have<br />

been drawn in the same pool, but which are<br />

not in the same league, will play one another<br />

home and away during the pool stage, as will<br />

the Tier 2 and Tier 3 clubs which have been<br />

drawn in the same pool, but which are not in<br />

the same league.<br />

Click above for a video<br />

explaining the new Heineken<br />

Champions Cup format<br />

Click above for a summary<br />

of the 2020/21 Heineken<br />

Champions Cup rules<br />

www.leinsterrugby.ie | 85 | From The Ground Up


Hawkshaw<br />

David<br />

WORDS: RYAN CORRY<br />

From The Ground Up | 86 | www.leinsterrugby.ie


UNDERNEATH THE<br />

LIGHTS OF THE<br />

RDS ARENA LAST<br />

FRIDAY EVENING,<br />

LEINSTER RUGBY<br />

‘A’ TOOK ON<br />

THEIR ULSTER<br />

EQUIVALENT<br />

IN AN<br />

INTERPROVINCIAL<br />

FRIENDLY,<br />

THE VISITORS<br />

EVENTUALLY<br />

DEPARTING WITH<br />

A 29-10 VICTORY.<br />

As with any loss, no matter the grade<br />

or competition, there was a sense of<br />

disappointment among the home side<br />

with head coach Noel McNamara later<br />

saying, “we’ve shone a light on some<br />

of the areas we need to work on”.<br />

For one player among the 28 who featured<br />

for <strong>Leinster</strong> on the night, the most prominent<br />

emotion was, instead, an overwhelming sense<br />

of relief.<br />

Coming on at outhalf as a 66th-minute<br />

replacement for Harry Byrne marked the end<br />

of an 18-month injury lay off for the <strong>Leinster</strong><br />

<strong>Rugby</strong> Academy’s David Hawkshaw.<br />

“It was certainly relief. With everything that<br />

has been going on around the world, it was a<br />

long build up towards it for myself,” Hawkshaw<br />

explains.<br />

“It was a special feeling after it, although the<br />

result didn’t go our way. On a personal note,<br />

it meant everything, the work throughout the<br />

18 months, to be able to get out there again,<br />

to put on the jersey and start a new chapter<br />

again.”<br />

It was January 2019 when Hawkshaw suffered<br />

a cruel training ground injury in the week<br />

leading up to the start of the Under-20 Six<br />

Nations tournament, for which he had been<br />

named captain by McNamara who is also<br />

head coach of that side.<br />

On the Monday ahead of the tournament’s kick<br />

off Friday evening, a routine kick chase from<br />

Hawkshaw resulted in a torn cruciate ligament,<br />

lateral collateral ligament and hamstring.<br />

The injury was a crushing<br />

blow to Hawkshaw who,<br />

like anyone would be,<br />

was hugely excited<br />

about leading his<br />

country into a<br />

Six Nations<br />

campaign,<br />

www.leinsterrugby.ie | 87 | From The Ground Up


and with a squad that had generated a lot of<br />

positivity.<br />

“Everything was just right and everything<br />

seemed to be going to plan, you know? When<br />

something like that happens to you, and I<br />

remember saying it a while ago, it’s like one<br />

second you’re preparing for a game against<br />

France and a Grand Slam and the next<br />

minute, you’re looking at a couple of months<br />

or 18 months on the sidelines,” he reflects.<br />

“Everything kind of falls around you<br />

because you’re in this bubble where you<br />

don’t think a lot can go wrong. To be<br />

honest with you, it was one of those where<br />

I knew straight away myself that it wasn’t<br />

good at all. I couldn’t put weight on my<br />

leg or anything like that.<br />

“I was lucky I got in to see Ray Moran<br />

(Santry Sports Surgery Clinic), I did it on<br />

a Monday and was in to see him on a<br />

Thursday. Then, I had my first operation on<br />

the Friday so I was blessed that I got in that<br />

quickly and we got the process started as<br />

quick as we could.”<br />

Ireland would go on to win the Under-20<br />

Grand Slam, coming away from Wales’<br />

Colwyn Bay with a first Irish victory at the<br />

venue.<br />

Having started the Six Nations campaign<br />

watching from a hospital bed following his first<br />

operation, Hawkshaw was able to travel with<br />

the squad to Wales and credits his teammates<br />

with ensuring that he remained, and felt, a part<br />

of the squad.<br />

“It would be silly of me to say it wasn’t tough. It<br />

was very hard watching it. My operation was<br />

late on Friday so I watched the last 20 minutes<br />

of the France game after my op. At that stage, I<br />

was delighted, after the operation I was happy<br />

with everything.<br />

“Considering how tight all of the group were,<br />

it was amazing to be able to go over to<br />

Wales and share that moment with all the<br />

lads.<br />

“It was very tough at stages but you were part<br />

of it, you were part of that journey. I think in<br />

a few years’ time or a little while’s time, I’ll<br />

appreciate it a lot and there’ll be some great<br />

stories to talk back on as well.”<br />

Still, it was early days as far as recovery<br />

would go for Hawkshaw and on his return<br />

to <strong>Leinster</strong>, he was placed under the<br />

watchful eye of Academy physiotherapist<br />

Darragh Curley who, Hawkshaw<br />

says, kept him motivated with simple<br />

guiding advice.<br />

From The Ground Up | 88 | www.leinsterrugby.ie


Curley’s mantra of ‘trusting the process’ aligned<br />

with setting small weekly goals helped the DCU<br />

student avoid falling into the trap of looking too<br />

far ahead.<br />

“You’re coming back to something that you<br />

love doing and the one thing that kept me<br />

going was that I’m lucky enough to be able<br />

to come back playing. That was enough of a<br />

drive for me.<br />

“You have bad days and you have days when<br />

you’re sore but the physio team around me,<br />

the physio team in <strong>Leinster</strong>, are the best there is<br />

and they keep you on process and they keep<br />

you on target.<br />

“I never really wanted to think too far ahead,<br />

because once you start thinking too far ahead,<br />

that’s when I found myself to start getting<br />

annoyed or pissed off.”<br />

At the end of March 2019, after coming on as<br />

a substitute in the Heineken Champions Cup<br />

quarter-final against Ulster, a similar fate befell<br />

flanker Dan Leavy.<br />

The Ireland international suffered serious knee<br />

ligament damage which would rule him out<br />

of the remainder of that campaign, the 2019<br />

<strong>Rugby</strong> World Cup in Japan and all of the<br />

following season.<br />

www.leinsterrugby.ie | 89 | From The Ground Up


While extremely unfortunate for Leavy, it<br />

proved to be a major help to Hawkshaw as the<br />

two partnered up in their rehabilitation with the<br />

Academy man able to gauge the mindset and<br />

determination of the more experienced, though<br />

not much older, Leavy.<br />

“I was very lucky and still am very lucky to<br />

work with and be doing things with Dan,”<br />

Hawkshaw says.<br />

“We were lucky that we had each other to<br />

bounce things off. That pushed me as well,<br />

seeing how driven he was and how positive<br />

a mindset and enthusiastic he was about the<br />

injury and how much better he would come<br />

back.<br />

“That struck a chord with me and made me<br />

really want to push myself as much as I could<br />

as well. It was awful what happened to Dan<br />

with his injury but I was very lucky to have<br />

someone like that be so good to me during the<br />

process.<br />

“You’re looking at him, a Grand Slam winner,<br />

and he’s just a professional in every single way.<br />

I definitely learned a lot with Dan throughout<br />

that time.”<br />

As well as Leavy, Curley, the continuous<br />

backing from McNamara, both in his role as<br />

<strong>Leinster</strong>’s Academy Manager and as Ireland<br />

Under-20 head coach, and the wider team in<br />

<strong>Leinster</strong> <strong>Rugby</strong>, Hawkshaw also had a strong<br />

support system at home despite, he suspects,<br />

his family bearing the brunt of his torment<br />

during the more difficult days.<br />

Between parents Sean and Ann, brothers<br />

James and Daniel, and sister Sarah, there’s<br />

plenty of sporting activity in the family, with all<br />

enjoying various highs and lows in their field,<br />

putting them in a good place to support this<br />

decline in David’s fortunes.<br />

“Your family live every moment that you’re<br />

living as well in a sporting context. The good<br />

days and bad days, they’re there. My poor<br />

mother, I think she suffers more than me with<br />

losses.<br />

“It was just as long a journey for them as it<br />

was for me but we were lucky enough with my<br />

sister, who has been involved with the hockey,<br />

we were lucky enough to qualify for the<br />

Olympics this year, so having moments like that<br />

in the house is just brilliant and it really boosts<br />

everyone.<br />

“You only really appreciate all the support that<br />

you have when things like this happen. They<br />

were unbelievable during it all.”<br />

“YOU HAVE<br />

BAD DAYS AND<br />

YOU HAVE DAYS<br />

WHEN YOU’RE<br />

SORE BUT THE<br />

PHYSIO TEAM<br />

AROUND ME,<br />

THE PHYSIO<br />

TEAM IN<br />

LEINSTER, ARE<br />

THE BEST THERE<br />

IS AND THEY<br />

KEEP YOU ON<br />

PROCESS AND<br />

THEY KEEP YOU<br />

ON TARGET.”<br />

And so back to last Friday night and that relief<br />

at the full-time whistle.<br />

What next?<br />

For Hawkshaw, there’s still no looking too far<br />

ahead. With the extent of the injury he has<br />

just put behind him, caution will exist in the<br />

immediate future. But, there’s also no time for<br />

sitting back as he enters his third year in the<br />

<strong>Leinster</strong> <strong>Rugby</strong> Academy.<br />

“At the minute, I’m really looking forward to<br />

hopefully just training with the Seniors, and<br />

there’s a busy year ahead so you don’t know<br />

what could happen.<br />

“For me, personally, I just want to be back<br />

training regularly. If opportunities come, I want<br />

to stay in the shop window and take them with<br />

both hands and really go after it.”<br />

With the resilience shown by the former<br />

Belvedere College man over the last year-anda-half,<br />

few would back against him taking those<br />

opportunities if they do materialise.<br />

From The Ground Up | 90 | www.leinsterrugby.ie


www.leinsterrugby.ie | 91 | From The Ground Up


Academy squad<br />

2020|21<br />

DOB: 15 December 1999<br />

From: Hampshire, England<br />

Height: 1.88m (6’ 2”)<br />

Weight: 92kg (14st 5lbs)<br />

Position: Back Three<br />

School: Henley College<br />

Honours: Ireland U20 (1 cap)<br />

AARON O’SULLIVAN<br />

Did You Know: Aaron was signed from Wasps where<br />

he made two appearances for the Senior team in the<br />

2017/18 Anglo Welsh Cup. Aaron’s dad, Barry, had trials at<br />

Newcastle and his grandad, at the age of 80, completed<br />

five stages of the Tour de France in 2011.<br />

Instagram: aaron_sullivan11<br />

DOB: 02 March 2000<br />

From: Wexford<br />

Height: 1.99m (6’ 6”)<br />

Weight: 107kg (16st 8lbs)<br />

Position: Second Row<br />

School: St Peter’s College<br />

Club: Clontarf FC<br />

Honours: Ireland U20 (8 caps)<br />

BRIAN DEENY<br />

Did You Know: Brian played youth rugby with Wexford<br />

Wanderers RFC. He got his first Irish cap playing for<br />

Ireland Under-18 Sevens. Brian played midfield for his<br />

school St Peter’s College in Gaelic football and reached the<br />

All-Ireland Colleges Final in 2017. He is currently studying<br />

Science in Trinity and lives in Abbey House B&B, Wexford...<br />

if you are looking for a room?! Instagram: brian_deeny<br />

DOB: 03 July 1999<br />

From: Dublin<br />

Height: 1.77m (5’ 10”)<br />

Weight: 86kg (13st 4lbs)<br />

Position: Centre/Outhalf<br />

School: Belvedere College<br />

Club: Clontarf RFC<br />

Honours: Ireland U20 (3 caps)<br />

DAVID HAWKSHAW<br />

Did You Know: David started playing rugby at Coolmine RFC before<br />

joining Belvedere College and won two Schools Senior Cup titles. He has<br />

represented Ireland U18 Schools and was selected as Ireland U20s captain<br />

for the 2019 Grand Slam winning campaign only to have his season cut<br />

short after three games. He played hurling and Gaelic football for St Brigid’s<br />

GAA club and also represented Dublin minors, winning a <strong>Leinster</strong> hurling<br />

title. Currently studying humanities in DCU. Instagram: davidhawkshaw99<br />

DOB: 30 December 1998<br />

From: Dublin<br />

Height: 1.72m (5’ 8”)<br />

Weight: 76kg (11st 9lbs)<br />

Position: Scrum Half<br />

School: Blackrock College<br />

Club: UCD RFC<br />

Honours: Ireland U20 (1 cap)<br />

& <strong>Leinster</strong> <strong>Rugby</strong> (3 caps)<br />

PATRICK PATTERSON #1274<br />

Did You Know: Paddy made his debut for <strong>Leinster</strong> during<br />

the 2018/19 season when only in the first year of the<br />

<strong>Leinster</strong> Academy. He also scored his first Senior try for<br />

<strong>Leinster</strong> off the bench against Southern Kings during that<br />

maiden campaign.<br />

Instagram: paddypatterson<br />

Academy squad<br />

2020|21<br />

DOB: 24 October 1999<br />

From: Newtownmountkennedy, Wicklow<br />

Height: 1.81m (5’ 9”)<br />

Weight: 87kg (13st 10lbs)<br />

Position: Scrum Half<br />

School: St. Gerard’s School<br />

Club: Lansdowne FC<br />

Honours: Ireland U20 (9 caps)<br />

CORMAC FOLEY<br />

Did You Know: Started playing rugby with Greystones<br />

RFC when he was nine. Growing up, Cormac did a lot of<br />

show jumping and he is now studying Economics and<br />

Finance in UCD.<br />

Instagram: cormacfoley6<br />

DOB: 05 February 1999<br />

From: Birr, Offaly<br />

Height: 1.82m (6’ 0”)<br />

Weight: 112kg (17st 8lbs)<br />

Position: Prop<br />

School: Cistercian College, Roscrea<br />

Club: Birr RFC/UCD RFC<br />

Honours: Ireland U20 (8 caps)<br />

& <strong>Leinster</strong> <strong>Rugby</strong> (8 caps)<br />

MICHAEL MILNE #1279<br />

Did You Know: Michael has won two All-Ireland hurling<br />

titles, one with his school in Roscrea and another with<br />

Offaly Under-17s.<br />

Instagram: michael_milne<br />

DOB: 04 June 1998<br />

From: Dublin<br />

Height: 1.83m (6’ 0”)<br />

Weight: 88kg (13st 12lbs)<br />

Position: Back Three<br />

School: Clongowes Wood College<br />

Club: Dublin University FC<br />

Honours: Ireland U20 (12 caps)<br />

MICHAEL SILVESTER<br />

Did You Know: Started playing rugby with Wanderers<br />

RFC before playing in school with St. Michaels and then<br />

Clongowes. Played competitive tennis from the age of nine,<br />

winning a national championship at age 12, before focusing<br />

on rugby after moving to Clongowes. Graduated from<br />

Trinity with a BESS degree.<br />

Instagram: msilvester98<br />

DOB: 22 February 2000<br />

From: Dublin<br />

Height: 1.85m (6’ 1”)<br />

Weight: 111kg (17st 7lbs)<br />

Position: Prop<br />

School: Blackrock College<br />

Club: Dublin University FC<br />

Honours: Ireland U20 (13 caps)<br />

& <strong>Leinster</strong> <strong>Rugby</strong> (1 cap)<br />

TOM CLARKSON #1285<br />

Did You Know: Tom studies Human Health and Disease<br />

in Trinity College. He played underage rugby for Wicklow<br />

RFC before moving to Dublin to attend Willow Park<br />

primary school.<br />

Instagram: tclarkson37<br />

DOB: 19 October 1999<br />

From: Athy, Kildare<br />

Height: 1.88m (6’ 2”)<br />

Weight: 99kg (15st 8lbs)<br />

Position: Back Row<br />

School: Clontarf FC<br />

Club: Old Belvedere RFC<br />

Honours: Ireland U20 (5 caps)<br />

MARTIN MOLONEY<br />

Did You Know: Martin played hurling for Kildare and played<br />

GAA and basketball for his secondary school, Knockbeg<br />

College, and local GAA club, St Laurence’s. He played his<br />

youth rugby with Athy RFC. He is now studying Business<br />

and Law in UCD, He also enjoys working on the family farm.<br />

Instagram: martin_moloney<br />

From The Ground Up | 92 | www.leinsterrugby.ie


DOB: 03 February 1999<br />

From: Dublin<br />

Height: 2.01m (6’ 7”)<br />

Weight: 108kg (17st)<br />

Position: Second Row<br />

School: Blackrock College<br />

Club: UCD RFC<br />

Honours: Ireland U20 (15 caps)<br />

CHARLIE RYAN<br />

Did You Know: Charlie played youth rugby at Blackrock<br />

College RFC while also attending the school since Senior<br />

Infants. He captained Ireland to the U20 Grand Slam in<br />

2019 and again for the U20s World Cup. His friends call<br />

him Chuck! He is currently studying Business and Legal<br />

Studies in UCD.<br />

Instagram: chuck_ryan5<br />

Academy squad<br />

2020|21<br />

DOB: 15 February 2000<br />

From: Belfast<br />

Height: 1.82m (6’ 0”)<br />

Weight: 103kg (16st 2lbs)<br />

Position: Hooker<br />

School: Campbell College<br />

Club: Old Belvedere RFC<br />

Honours: Ireland U20 (12 caps)<br />

JOHN McKEE<br />

Did You Know: John grew up in Belfast going to school<br />

at Campbell College where he won a Senior Cup. He was<br />

involved with Ulster at age grade level until moving to<br />

Dublin after school. He also has multiple medals from<br />

Northern Irish Schools Judo competitions.<br />

Instagram: johnmckee_<br />

DOB: 21 July 2000<br />

From: Dublin<br />

Height: 1.83m (6’ 0”)<br />

Weight: 91kg (14st 3lbs)<br />

Position: Back Three<br />

School: St Michael’s College<br />

Club: Clontarf FC<br />

Honours: Ireland U20 (3 caps)<br />

ANDREW SMITH<br />

Did You Know: Andrew is currently studying Quantity<br />

Surveying and Construction Economics in TUD. In 2019,<br />

he won the <strong>Leinster</strong> Schools Senior Cup with St Michael’s<br />

College. Andrew also played Gaelic football with his local<br />

club - Clanna Gael Fontenoy GAA Club.<br />

Instagram: andrew.sm1th<br />

DOB: 14 July 1999<br />

From: Dublin<br />

Height: 173cm (5’ 9”)<br />

Weight: 91kg (14st 5lbs)<br />

Position: Centre<br />

School: Blackrock College<br />

Club: Dublin University FC<br />

Honours: Ireland U20 (10 caps)<br />

LIAM TURNER<br />

Did You Know: Liam started to play rugby at the age<br />

of six at Blackrock College RFC. He later joined Blackrock<br />

College and was part of the 2018 Senior Cup winning team.<br />

He was also part of the Ireland U20 team that went on to<br />

win the 2019 Grand Slam. Liam currently studys BESS in<br />

Trinity College.<br />

Instagram: liamtn123<br />

DOB: 06 April 2000<br />

From: Dublin<br />

Height: 1.83m (6’ 0”)<br />

Weight: 86kg (13st 8lbs)<br />

Position: Wing<br />

School: Blackrock College<br />

Club: UCD RFC<br />

Honours: Ireland U20<br />

NIALL COMERFORD<br />

Did You Know: Niall played both hurling and Gaelic<br />

football with Kilmacud Crokes for 14 years. He also<br />

represented Dublin in Gaelic football in the U17 <strong>Leinster</strong><br />

Championship. He is currently studying Commerce in UCD.<br />

Instagram: niall_c123<br />

DOB: 31 July 2000<br />

From: Pittsburgh, USA<br />

Height: 1.90m (6’ 3”)<br />

Weight: 102kg (16st 1lb)<br />

Position: Back Row<br />

School: Blackrock College<br />

Club: UCD RFC<br />

Honours: Ireland U20 (3 caps)<br />

SEÁN O’BRIEN<br />

Did You Know: Seán started playing rugby at age six<br />

with Greystones RFC where he played up until Under-13.<br />

He then played on the Junior and Senior Cup teams in<br />

Blackrock College. He is currently studying Economics and<br />

Finance in UCD<br />

Instagram: seanobrien456<br />

DOB: 19 February 2001<br />

From: Pearse St, Dublin<br />

Height: 1.95m (6’ 5”)<br />

Weight: 104.5kg (16st 6lbs)<br />

Position: Back Row<br />

School: Belvedere College<br />

Club: Clontarf FC<br />

Honours: Ireland U20 (2 caps)<br />

ALEX SOROKA<br />

Did You Know: Alex’s family moved to Ireland from<br />

Ukraine shortly before his birth. He was born in Cork<br />

before moving to Dublin.<br />

Instagram: alex._.soroka<br />

DOB: 26 March 2001<br />

From: Manhattan, NY<br />

Height: 1.95m (6’ 5”)<br />

Weight: 113kg (17st 11lbs)<br />

Position: Second Row<br />

School: Blackrock College<br />

Club: Dublin University FC<br />

Honours: Ireland U20 (3 caps)<br />

JOE McCARTHY<br />

Did You Know: Joe started playing rugby with Blackrock<br />

College RFC at the age of six before moving to Willow Park<br />

and then Blackrock College. He was also on the Blackrock<br />

swim team for five years. He’s currently studying Global<br />

Business in Trinity College Dublin.<br />

Instagram: joetmmcc<br />

DOB: 26 February 2000<br />

From: Enniskerry, Wicklow<br />

Height: 1.85m (6’ 1”)<br />

Weight: 86kg (13st 8lbs)<br />

Position: Full Back<br />

School: St Gerard’s School<br />

Club: Dublin University FC<br />

Honours: Ireland U20 (3 caps)<br />

& Ireland Mens 7s (1 cap)<br />

MAX O’REILLY<br />

Did You Know: Max is currently in his third year of Business<br />

and Management in DIT. His preferred sport was soccer<br />

until about the age of 15, which he had played at centre<br />

midfield with Enniskerry FC for over 10 years and also<br />

for Wicklow.<br />

Instagram: max_oreilly<br />

www.leinsterrugby.ie | 93 | From The Ground Up


Confirmed 2020/21<br />

Guinness PRO14 Fixtures<br />

ROUND<br />

01<br />

<strong>Leinster</strong> <strong>Rugby</strong><br />

v <strong>Dragons</strong><br />

Friday<br />

October 2<br />

RDS Arena<br />

KO 8.15pm<br />

ROUND<br />

02<br />

Benetton v<br />

<strong>Leinster</strong> <strong>Rugby</strong><br />

Saturday<br />

October 10<br />

Stadio Monigo<br />

KO 5.15pm<br />

(Irish time)<br />

ROUND<br />

03<br />

<strong>Leinster</strong> <strong>Rugby</strong><br />

v Zebre<br />

Friday<br />

October 23<br />

RDS Arena<br />

KO 7.35pm<br />

ROUND<br />

04<br />

Glasgow<br />

Warriors v<br />

<strong>Leinster</strong> <strong>Rugby</strong><br />

Monday<br />

November 2<br />

Scotstoun Stadium<br />

KO 8.15pm<br />

From The Ground Up | 94 | www.leinsterrugby.ie


Freddie<br />

Comerford<br />

Age: 8<br />

School: Ballinabranna<br />

NS, Carlow<br />

Hobbies: <strong>Rugby</strong>. He<br />

plays with Tullow RFC<br />

Under-9s, football, art<br />

and soccer<br />

Favorite Player: Johnny<br />

Sexton hands down !!<br />

virtual match mascots<br />

Anabelle<br />

Kelly<br />

Age: 6<br />

School: St. Patricks N.S<br />

Hobbies: Gymnastics<br />

Favourite Player: Cian<br />

Healy<br />

ROUND<br />

05<br />

Ospreys v<br />

<strong>Leinster</strong> <strong>Rugby</strong><br />

ROUND<br />

06<br />

<strong>Leinster</strong> <strong>Rugby</strong><br />

v Edinburgh<br />

ROUND<br />

07<br />

<strong>Leinster</strong> <strong>Rugby</strong><br />

v Cardiff<br />

ROUND<br />

08<br />

Scarlets v<br />

<strong>Leinster</strong> <strong>Rugby</strong><br />

Sunday<br />

November 8<br />

Liberty Stadium<br />

KO 3pm<br />

Monday<br />

November 16<br />

RDS Arena<br />

KO 8.15pm<br />

Sunday<br />

November 22<br />

RDS Arena<br />

KO 5.15pm<br />

Sunday<br />

November 29<br />

Parc y Scarlets<br />

KO 5.15pm<br />

www.leinsterrugby.ie | 95 | From The Ground Up


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Coronavirus<br />

COVID-19<br />

Coronavirus<br />

COVID-19<br />

Public Health<br />

Advice<br />

Stay safe.<br />

Protect each other.<br />

Continue to:<br />

Wash<br />

your hands well<br />

and often to avoid<br />

contamination.<br />

Cover<br />

your mouth and nose<br />

with a tissue or sleeve<br />

when coughing or<br />

sneezing and discard<br />

used tissue safely<br />

Distance<br />

yourself at least<br />

2 metres (6 feet) away<br />

from other people,<br />

especially those who<br />

might be unwell<br />

Avoid<br />

crowds and<br />

crowded places<br />

Know<br />

the symptoms. If you<br />

have them self isolate<br />

and contact your GP<br />

immediately<br />

COVID-19 symptoms include<br />

> high temperature<br />

> cough<br />

> breathing difficulty<br />

> sudden loss of sense of smell or taste<br />

> flu-like symptoms<br />

If you have any symptoms, self-isolate to<br />

protect others and call your GP for a<br />

COVID-19 test.<br />

#holdfirm<br />

For more information<br />

www.gov.ie/health-covid-19<br />

www.hse.ie<br />

Ireland’s public health advice is guided by WHO and ECDC advice


Hugo Keenan<br />

Jordan Larmour<br />

Garry Ringrose<br />

Ciarán Frawley<br />

James Lowe<br />

Johnny Sexton [C]<br />

Jamison Gibson-Park<br />

15<br />

14<br />

13<br />

12<br />

11<br />

10<br />

9<br />

FULL BACK<br />

RIGHT WING<br />

OUTSIDE CENTRE<br />

INSIDE CENTRE<br />

LEFT WING<br />

FLY HALF<br />

SCRUM HALF<br />

Will Talbot-Davies<br />

Jonah Holmes<br />

Nick Tompkins<br />

Jamie Roberts<br />

Ashton Hewitt<br />

Sam Davies<br />

Rhodri Williams [C]<br />

Ed Byrne<br />

Rónan Kelleher<br />

Michael Bent<br />

Scott Fardy<br />

James Ryan<br />

Rhys Ruddock<br />

Josh van der Flier<br />

Jack Conan<br />

Seán Cronin<br />

Cian Healy<br />

Andrew Porter<br />

Ryan Baird<br />

Max Deegan<br />

Luke McGrath<br />

Ross Byrne<br />

Tommy O’Brien<br />

1<br />

2<br />

3<br />

4<br />

5<br />

6<br />

7<br />

8<br />

LOOSE HEAD PROP<br />

HOOKER<br />

TIGHT HEAD PROP<br />

SECOND ROW<br />

SECOND ROW<br />

BLINDSIDE FLANKER<br />

OPENSIDE FLANKER<br />

NUMBER 8<br />

16<br />

17<br />

18<br />

19<br />

20<br />

21<br />

22<br />

23<br />

REPLACEMENT<br />

REPLACEMENT<br />

REPLACEMENT<br />

REPLACEMENT<br />

REPLACEMENT<br />

REPLACEMENT<br />

REPLACEMENT<br />

REPLACEMENT<br />

Brok Harris<br />

Elliott Dee<br />

Aaron Jarvis<br />

Joseph Davies<br />

Joe Maksymiw<br />

Aaron Wainwright<br />

Harrison Keddie<br />

Ross Moriarty<br />

Richard Hibbard<br />

Conor Maguire<br />

Lloyd Fairbrother<br />

Matthew Screech<br />

Taine Basham<br />

Tavis Knoyle<br />

Josh Lewis<br />

Adam Warren<br />

Referee: Andrea Piardi (FIR, 7th competition game)<br />

Assistant Referees: Frank Murphy, Chris Busby (both IRFU)<br />

TMO: Simon McDowell (IRFU)<br />

Citing Commissioner: Peter Ferguson (IRFU)<br />

From The Ground Up | 98 | www.leinsterrugby.ie


MAKE IT A GAME<br />

YOU’LL REMEMBER.<br />

MODERATE YOUR DRINKING.<br />

MAKE YOUR NEXT PINT TAP WATER.<br />

SOMETIMES LESS IS MORE<br />

#GUINNESSCLEAR

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