Munster Rugby v Leinster Rugby Match Programme

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Guinness PRO14 Round 9 | Find out all you need to know ahead of Munster v Leinster.

Hear from Head Coach Johann van Graan and Damian de Allende in the build up to the game. Read about Joey Carbery's road to recovery and Ireland Seven's star Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe's focus on the 15s game. We also chat to Head of Rugby Development Colm McMahon as he reflects on what has been an unprecedented year for domestic rugby in the province.


v LEINSTER | SAT 23 JAN 2021 | THOMOND PARK | 7.35PM

MUNSTER v LEINSTER | 23.01.21 | THOMOND PARK

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Loved in Munster.

Followed the world over.

Always represented.

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© 2020 adidas AG


PRESIDENT’S WELCOME

To Johann, his coaching team, and the entire

squad, we send you our best wishes for

tonight’s game.

This evening we welcome Head Coach Leo

Cullen and his Leinster team to Thomond Park

for this Round 9 game in the Guinness PRO14.

This game, which is normally played on St.

Stephen’s Day, is a special fixture that fans on

both sides really look forward to. It has all the

elements of a big derby game with Thomond

Park usually packed to the rafters with fans,

all in full voice, a sea of red and blue covering

the stands and terraces with an electrifying

atmosphere long before kick-off. Unfortunately,

this evening it will be minus all the noise and

colour around the stadium with the exception

of the 1000+ portraits looking on from the

stand. On the pitch it will be business as usual

with both sets of players giving it their all to

claim the win.

The two sides come into this game on a good

run of form - Munster on the back of away wins

over Clermont and Connacht, and Munster and

Leinster with eight wins from nine in the PRO14.

Both sides lost to their provincial rivals Ulster

and Connacht respectively, over the Christmas

round of games.

The situation on the domestic front has not

changed. The IRFU and all concerned are

working hard behind the scenes to make

sure that when it is safe to do so, rugby will

resume. In the meantime our Head of Rugby

Development Colm McMahon and his team are

doing great work with their online programmes

such as the Rugby FUNdamentals home skills

programme. These online programmes are a

vital part of keeping our young people engaged

and practicing their skills while keeping rugby

a part of their lives. All this work will extremely

beneficial when rugby resumes once again.

Congratulations to Neville Burton from

Clonakilty RFC who is the December winner

of the Ballyseedy Volunteer of the Month,

recognising his dedication and hard work. Well

done Neville.

Our thanks to our main sponsor Bank of Ireland,

our kit supplier adidas and all our sponsors for

their continued support. We also welcome Laya

Healthcare as our Official Health & Wellbeing

Partner.

Stay safe, stay strong and stay positive.

To the brave and the faithful, nothing is

impossible.

Sean McCullough

President Munster Branch IRFU

President: Sean McCullough | Vice President: Ger McNamara | Junior Vice President: Michael Carroll

Hon. Secretary: Muiris Mahon| Hon. Treasurer: Tom Kinirons

Chief Executive Officer: Dr. Ian Flanagan | Head Coach: Johann van Graan | Team Manager: Niall O’Donovan

MUNSTER v LEINSTER | 23.01.21 | THOMOND PARK

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EVERY FIXTURE

EVERY TRY

EVERY TACKLE

ALL IN

ONE APP

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GUINNESS PRO14 CAMPAIGN TO CONCLUDE IN

MARCH AHEAD OF NEW “RAINBOW CUP” WITH

SOUTH AFRICA’S TOP FOUR ‘SUPER’ TEAMS

The current Guinness PRO14 campaign will

end in March allowing South Africa’s four

‘Super’ teams and our existing clubs to

finish the season with a 16-team “Rainbow

Cup” competition ahead of the British &

Irish Lions tour.

After consulting with key PRO14 stakeholders, the Guinness

PRO14 Rainbow Cup was chosen as the best pathway to

finish up the current campaign and introduce South Africa’s

four ‘Super’ teams: the Vodacom Bulls; Emirates Lions; Cell

C Sharks and DHL Stormers. This decision also allows our

European-based sides to earn qualification for European

Professional Club Rugby (EPCR) tournaments in 2021/22 in

a fair and equitable manner.

Ahead of the 2021 British & Irish Lions tour to South Africa,

the Guinness PRO14 Rainbow Cup will provide a groundbreaking

spectacle for fans who will see international star

players from north and south establish new rivalries in their

bid for the ultimate Test selection.

Right through until the last kick of the ball in the Rainbow

Cup in June, fans will be able to watch it all unfold with our

broadcast partners Premier Sports, eir Sport, S4C, TG4,

DAZN and Super Sport.

How it will Work

• The 2020/21 Guinness PRO14 campaign will finish after 16

rounds with the Conference winners facing each other in a

final in late March

• Qualification for EPCR tournaments in 2021/22 will be

decided by rankings after Round 16

• On April 17, 2021, the Guinness PRO14 Rainbow Cup will

kick-off and introduce the Vodacom Bulls, Emirates Lions,

Cell C Sharks and DHL Stormers and their World Cupwinning

Springboks

• The Guinness PRO14 Rainbow Cup will consist of a pool

stage (two pools of eight teams) and a final between the

two pool winners

FINAL CHAPTER OF GUINNESS PRO14

fixture list will aim to ensure home and away in-conference

fixtures are completed and each team plays all of its

cross-conference matches also. Further clarification will be

available when fixtures are confirmed.

The scheduled dates for the conclusion of the 2020-21

Guinness PRO14 campaign are:

R12: February 20

R13: February 27

R14: March 6

R15: March 13

R16: March 20

Final: March 27

Once Round 16 has been completed, the top-ranked teams

from each conference will qualify for the 2021/22 Heineken

Champions Cup. Requirement for play-offs is under review.

GUINNESS PRO14 “RAINBOW CUP”

FORGING NEW RIVALRIES

With South Africa preparing to host their first British & Irish

Lions tour since 2009, the World Cup champions will see

their ‘Super’ teams – the Bulls, Lions, Sharks and Stormers

take on the very best that Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales

have to offer.

Players aiming to make the British & Irish Lions squad will

find no better trial environment to test themselves in, as

they go up against the likes of Siya Kolisi, Pieter Steph du

Toit (both DHL Stormers), Duane Vermeulen (Vodacom

Bulls), Elton Jantjies (Emirates Lions) and former Guinness

PRO14 top-try scorer Makazole Mapimipi (Cell C Sharks).

The Guinness PRO14 Rainbow Cup will kick off on April 17

with two pools of 8 teams made up of two Irish, two South

African, two Welsh, one Italian and one Scottish club. Each

team will play one game against each pool opponent and

the sides that finish top of their pools will face off in a final

on June 19.

Across 57 matches, the Guinness PRO14 Rainbow Cup will

feature the best of the Springbok talent going toe-to-toe

with some of the British & Irish Lions’ biggest names – every

one of them keen to lay down a marker to their respective

selectors ahead of what will prove to an historic tour.

Rounds 12 to 16 will take place from February 20 and

conclude on March 20. A final will then take place at the

home venue of the highest-ranked team. This abbreviated

MUNSTER v LEINSTER | 23.01.21 | THOMOND PARK

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MUNSTER v LEINSTER

ROUND 9 PREVIEW

Albeit a little later than planned, this

derby game between Munster and

Leinster is without doubt one of the

most anticipated games of the season

for both sides, and an enthralling

prospect for the neutral rugby observer.

Nick McCarthy and

Devin Toner

Up to January 2 last, neither side had

lost in the Guinness PRO14 this season,

with Munster’s unbeaten run ending in

Belfast and Leinster losing at home to

Connacht on the same day. Munster’s

last defeat at Thomond Park was at the

hands of Leinster on December 28 2019.

CONFERENCE B TABLE

POS TEAM PL W D L BP PTS

1 Munster Rugby 9 8 0 1 5 37

2 Connacht Rugby 9 5 0 4 6 26

3 Scarlets 10 3 0 5 4 24

4 Cardiff Blues 11 5 0 6 2 22

5 Edinburgh Rugby 9 3 0 6 3 15

6 Benetton Rugby 9 0 0 9 4 4

HEAD TO HEAD 14 26 0

Munster wins

Leinster wins

Draws

MATCH FACTS

Leinster have picked up a try bonus point

in each of their eleven games this season

across both competitions.

• Gavin Coombes has made the most carries

for Munster with 79 so far, while Leinster’s

Rhys Ruddock has 90. Coombes has scored

six tries – the same number as Leinster’s

Scott Penny and two behind Ulster’s Marcell

Coetzee who leads the tournament with 8

tries.

Leinster have won their last four encounters

with Munster, whilst Munster’s only victory

over tonight's opponents in the last four

years was 26-17 in Limerick in December

2018.

MUNSTER v LEINSTER | 23.01.21 | THOMOND PARK

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MUNSTER v LEINSTER | 23.01.21 | THOMOND PARK

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THE INSIDE

TRACK

JOHANN VAN GRAAN

On tonight’s clash with Leinster

“Obviously, it was to be on the 26 December,

but it couldn’t be played. Now it’s just before

the Six Nations and I believe it will be two top

teams playing against each other. It’s our first

home game of the year against the PRO14

champions – so a nice start at home for us for the

year. Their quality is undeniable and it’s always

a massive game against Leinster. We have

played nine games in the PRO14 and have won

eight – and so have Leinster. They are definitely

one of the form sides of the competition and of

the last three years. They’ve played 11 games

this season across all competitions and have 11

bonus points. They are such a quality outfit. We

know that and they know it.

“We are looking to improve our game every

week. We believe we have done some nice things

this season. We had some convincing victories,

we had some “come-behind” victories, and we

had to grind out some victories.

a weather expert but it looks like it might be

rainy and cold and snowy on Saturday evening

so that will definitely play its part. It comes

down to small moments and guys taking their

opportunities. We didn’t take our opportunities

in the semi-final and they did, and they are

rightly the champions. We are looking forward

to playing against them on Saturday evening in

Thomond Park.”

On having international players available…

“The Irish system is one of the best systems

in the world in terms of players management.

All credit to the IRFU for how they manage the

players. It's great that we have a full squad

available and we will go with the team we

believe can win on Saturday evening at home.

I’m not sure what Leinster will do but I would

imagine they have quite a few guys available

as well. We are looking forward to a very good

game. We have big dreams for this season, and

this is another game in our season.”

Munster v Leinster is always special. I’m not

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On playing at home for the first time in a

number of weeks…

“This is our first home game since the Quins

game which feels like months ago. It’s the first

game I think in 6 weeks that we are in Thomond

Park and we love to play in Thomond Park.

The fact that it’s Leinster, it’s a special club,

they guarantee the best and we always want

to play against the best, that’s how we see

this weekend. We are playing against a team

that have won their last 27 of 28 games in the

PRO14. They’ve got international quality all

over the park – certainly no weak points in that

team.”

DAMIAN DE ALLENDE

On taking the positives from having a weekend

off…

“It’s been quite tough. When the season was

going ahead, we were playing week in and

week out and started building nice momentum.

I think that game against Connacht was quite

tough. Obviously, a few of us had two weeks

off. Playing in those conditions in a heavy field

took a lot out of us. The boys were quite sore

on the Monday. We were really looking forward

to playing last weekend, but we couldn’t do

it. But I must say it has helped the body a lot.

An extra week off does a lot for the body. It is

frustrating when you don’t play week in week

out but although that’s a negative, we can see

the benefits as well.”

in your squad where the youngsters are putting

up their hands and putting older guys, the more

experienced guys under pressure, that’s when

you get the best out of each other. We’ve been

doing that quite well so we will kick on with

that, carrying on working hard and enjoying

ourselves like we have been doing over these

past few weeks.”

On preparing for tonight’s game…

“I felt when we played Leinster in my very first

game – I think it was in August – it was quite

a hyped-up week. I’m not one to get hyped up

much before a game. I think that was quite a

real shock to me. But I think the way that we’ve

been going forward now – you need to enjoy

yourself. I know the Leinster game is massive,

but I think if we can get into the right mindset

that it's just another game, another game to get

better, another game to do what we are trying

to achieve and just keep ticking the boxes.

Obviously, we have our goals set and it won’t

help us or benefit us especially this weekend

if we make the occasion too big and we forget

how to play rugby and forget what we are trying

to achieve. It’s a massive game. It’s going to be

brutal. The body is going to be very sore in the

game and after the game but it’s just another

game of rugby for us, another chance to get

better. What a great opportunity to play against

the champions.”

On the younger players putting their hands

up…

“The way that – not just the older guys – but the

way the younger guys have stood up and taken

ownership of their roles and their positions

has been quite outstanding. Obviously, we

had a few hiccups along the way with injuries,

Covid and stuff like that. Even with that, the

youngsters still manage to pull off some

amazing wins, away from home as well. That’s

quite incredible. I think once you get that right

"It's a massive game. It's going to be brutal."

MUNSTER v LEINSTER | 23.01.21 | THOMOND PARK

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MUNSTER v LEINSTER | 23.01.21 | THOMOND PARK

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Laya Healthcare are proud to be

Official Health and Wellbeing Partner

to Munster Rugby

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NEWSROUND

Eimear Considine, Ciara Griffin and

Dorothy Wall at the launch of the

new partnership between Munster

Rugby and laya healthcare

LAYA HEALTHCARE ON BOARD AS OFFICIAL

HEALTH & WELLBEING PARTNER

Laya healthcare recently announced a new

three-year partnership with Munster Rugby

and are now the province’s Official Health

& Wellbeing Partner. Laya healthcare plans

to work with Munster Rugby on a strategic

vision that will support the performance of

the province by focusing on aspects of health

and wellbeing across the men’s and women’s

teams, the backroom team, right through to the

fans.

Laya healthcare have released a content

series that highlights the provincial heritage

of Munster Rugby. Munster's stag forms the

centre point of one of the videos, showcasing

the characteristics that link it to rugby in a

digitally-led campaign.

Laya healthcare has already built strong links in

the Munster region. With its head office in Cork,

laya healthcare is soon to open a new Health

& Wellbeing Clinic in Caherdavin, Limerick.

The upcoming opening of the Limerick clinic is

creating over 20 jobs and will offer the people

of Limerick, and the surrounding region, a

comprehensive breadth of healthcare services.

WOMEN’S AND U20S SIX NATIONS

POSTPONED

Six Nations Rugby Limited last week announced

that the Women’s and U20s 2021 Championships

will not take place in the regular Six Nations

window this year. The Women’s Championship

will instead be scheduled in revised windows

later this spring or early summer. Six Nations

Rugby confirmed it will finalise the respective

timings and formats for both the Women’s

and U20s competitions in consultation with all

unions, broadcast partners and stakeholders,

with full details to be announced by the end of

January.

HOME SKILLS PROGRAMME LAUNCHED

Munster Rugby have launched a

#RugbyFUNdamentals Home Skills programme

for primary school children. The videos are

delivered by Munster Rugby Technical Skills

Development coach Mike Pettman and focus

on catching, kicking, running and evasion,

fundamental movement skills and more. The

aim of the videos is to offer some FUN rugby

and movement activities to do at home and to

support children during the Level 5 lockdown

while continuing to grow their capacities and

understanding of some core physical literacy

components. The videos can be viewed here

MUNSTER v LEINSTER | 23.01.21 | THOMOND PARK 15


FOLLOW ALL THE ACTION ON

PRO14.RUGBY

YOUR GUINNESS

PRO14 HOME

LATEST NEWS, LIVE MATCH

CENTRES, STATS & MORE

VISIT NOW

WWW.PRO14.RUGBY

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STEPHEN ARCHER

Prop

29.01.88

H: 1.88m

W: 120.91kg

Hons: Ire (2 caps)

Hooker

06.08.99

H:1.83m

W: 98kg

Hons: Ire U20

DIARMUID BARRON

TADHG BEIRNE

Lock / Back Row

08.01.92

H: 1.98 m

W: 113.18 kg

Hons: Ire (17 caps)

Flanker

15.02.91

H: 1.76 m

W: 98 kg

Hons: ~

CHRIS CLOETE

Back Row

11.12.1997

H: 1.98m

W: 110kg

Hons: Ire U20

GAVIN COOMBES

JAMES CRONIN

Prop

23.11.90

H: 1.80 m

W: 113 kg

Hons: Ire (3 caps)

Lock / Back Row

03.08.85

H: 1.91 m

W: 111 kg

Hons: Ire (1 cap)

BILLY HOLLAND

DAVE KILCOYNE

Prop

14.12.88

H: 1.83 m

W: 112 kg

Hons: Ire (39 caps)

JEAN KLEYN

Lock

26.08.93

H: 2.03 m

W: 125 kg

Hons: Ire (5 caps)

Prop

06.04.99

H: 1.85m

W: 115kg

Hons: ~

KEYNAN KNOX

Prop

22.07.95

H: 1.85 m

W: 120 kg

Hons: Ire U20

JEREMY LOUGHMAN

Hooker

12.10.92

H: 1.84 m

W: 108 kg

Hons: NZ U20

RHYS MARSHALL

Hooker

16.04.91

H: 1.80 m

W: 107 kg

Hons: Ire U19

KEVIN O’BYRNE

Prop

13.07.95

H: 1.78 m

W: 110 kg

Hons: Ire U20

LIAM O’CONNOR

TOMMY O’DONNELL

Back Row

21.05.87

H: 1.85 m

W: 107 kg

Hons: Ire (12 caps)

JACK O’DONOGHUE

Back Row

08.02.94

H: 1.91 m

W: 107 kg

Hons: Ire (2 caps)

PETER O’MAHONY

Back Row

17.09.89

H: 1.91 m

W: 106 kg

Hons: Ire (73 caps)

Back Row

01.10.98

H: 1.88m

W: 100kg

Hons: Ire U20

JACK O’SULLIVAN

JOHN RYAN

Prop

02.08.88

H: 1.83 m

W: 117 kg

Hons: Ire (23 caps)

Prop

28.10.97

H:1.83m

W: 123.18kg

Hons: USA U20

ROMAN SALANOA

NIALL SCANNELL

Hooker

08.04.92

H: 1.85 m

W: 109 kg

Hons: Ire (20 caps)

RG SNYMAN

Lock

29.01.95

H: 2.06 m

W: 116 kg

Hons: SA (23 caps)

CJ STANDER

Back Row

05.04.90

H: 1.85 m

W: 114 kg

Hons: Ire (46 caps)

Lock

11.12.97

H:1.93 m

W: 111.82 kg

Hons: Ire U20

FINEEN WYCHERLEY

FORWARDS

Munster Rugby Squad - 2020/21 Season

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JOEY CARBERY

Fly Half

01.11.95

H: 1.83 m

W: 85kg

Hons: Ire (22 caps)

Scrum Half

19.04.99

H: 1.65 m

W: 75kg

Hons: Ire U20

CRAIG CASEY

ANDREW CONWAY

Full Back / Wing

11.07.91

H: 1.80 m

W: 89 kg

Hons: Ire (24 caps)

LIAM COOMBES

Full Back / Wing

01.05.97

H: 1.91m

W: 89 kg

Hons: Ire U20

Scrum Half

08.12.92

H: 1.73 m

W: 83 kg

Hons: Ire Clubs

NEIL CRONIN

Wing / Centre

19.12.96

H: 1.91 m

W: 91 kg

Hons: Ire (1 cap)

SHANE DALY

DAMIAN DE ALLENDE

Centre

25/11/1991

H: 1.91 m

W: 105 kg

Hons: SA (47 caps)

KEITH EARLS

Universal Back

02.10.87

H: 1.78 m

W: 90 kg

Hons: Ire (88 caps)

CHRIS FARRELL

Centre

16.03.93

H: 1.93 m

W: 110 kg

Hons: Ire (14 caps)

Full Back

26.10.96

H:1.85m

W: 95 kg

Hons: Eng U20

MATT GALLAGHER

Centre

10.12.94

H: 1.85 m

W: 100 kg

Hons: Ire U20

DAN GOGGIN

Full Back

28.06.94

H: 1.91 m

W: 93 kg

Hons: Ire (1 cap)

MIKE HALEY

RORY SCANNELL

CALVIN NASH

CONOR MURRAY

ALEX MCHENRY

NICK MCCARTHY

JJ HANRAHAN

Fly Half / Centre

27.07.92

H: 1.83 m

W: 93 kg

Hons: Emerging Ireland

Scrum Half

25.03.95

H: 1.8m

W: 84 kg

Hons: Ire U20

Centre

07.10.97

H: 1.88m

W: 95kg

Hons: Ire U20

Scrum Half

20.04.89

H: 1.88 m

W: 94 kg

Hons: Ire (87 caps)

Wing

08.08.97

H: 1.78 m

W: 90 kg

Hons: Ire U20

Centre

22.12.93

H: 1.80 m

W: 98 kg

Hons: Ire (3 caps)

Wing

05.05.93

H: 1.85 m

W: 95 kg

Hons: Ire (3 caps)

DARREN SWEETNAM

BACKS

MUNSTER v LEINSTER | 23.01.21 | THOMOND PARK

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MUNSTER RUGBY

STARTING XV

James Cronin Rhys Marshall John Ryan Jean Kleyn Tadhg Beirne

Gavin Coombes

Peter

O'Mahony (C)

CJ Stander

Conor Murray

JJ Hanrahan

Shane Daly

Damian de

Allende

Chris Farrell

Keith Earls

Mike Haley

#MUNvLEI

JOIN THE CONVERSATION

Replacements

16. Niall Scannell 17. Dave Kilcoyne 18. Stephen Archer 19. Fineen Wycherley

20. Jack O'Donoghue 21. Craig Casey 22. Ben Healy 23. Rory Scannell

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LEINSTER RUGBY

STARTING XV

Cian Healy

Seán Cronin

Andrew Porter

Scott Fardy

James Ryan

Rhys Ruddock

Will Connors

Caelan Doris

Luke McGrath

Johnny

Sexton (C)

Jimmy O'Brien

Robbie

Henshaw

Garry

Ringrose

Jordan

Larmour

Hugo Keenan

MATCH OFFICIALS

Referee: Andrew Brace (IRFU)

AR1: Seán Gallagher (IRFU)

AR2: Eoghan Cross (IRFU)

TMO: Joy Neville (IRFU)

Replacements

16. Rónan Kelleher 17. Ed Byrne 18. Tom Clarkson 19. Ross Molony

20. Jack Conan 21. Jamison Gibson-Park 22. Ross Byrne 23. Josh van der Flier

MUNSTER v LEINSTER | 23.01.21 | THOMOND PARK

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CARBERY

UPBEAT AS

RECOVERY

CONTINUES

Joey Carbery spoke to www.munsterrugby.ie

last week as he continues to follow his

rehabilitation programme for an ankle injury

that has ruled him out of action since last

season.

Having not played since January 2020, he

admits that it has been a tough period,

however, the playmaker was upbeat as he

continues with his recovery progress.

it’s like ‘Hi, how are you?’ That was a bit strange,

but I suppose we just have to be safe, and smart

and look after ourselves.”

On handling lengthy recovery...…

“It was kind of tough at the start. We kind of had

an end date in sight. When I didn’t hit that mark

it was almost more disappointment. So this has

been more relaxed and it’s kind of been ‘I’m

ready when I’m ready’.”

On staying positive…

“It’s been pretty tough. Obviously, it’s not nice

being injured but I’m pretty blessed to have

such a good physio and S&C team around me.

But it’s been great to see the lads do so well.

Obviously, I want to be out there, but it’s been

such a good great start to the season so far. It’s

never nice being injured but hopefully things

will change soon.”

On how the pandemic has impacted…

“The pandemic has been quite tough because

normally when you are an injured player you are

away from the team anyway. With the pandemic

we were in smaller groups. You wouldn’t see

some of the guys in here for a couple of weeks

on end, and then you would run into them and

“Wanting to get back on

the pitch and back with

the squad…makes me

very ambitious and very

motivated to get back”

On using his time outside of rugby…

“When you are injured you might have a

weekend off, and you might go away or

something. I haven’t been able to do that, so

I started back to college, doing a Masters, so

I’ve been pretty busy with that. Pretty much

trying to be in here as much as possible as well,

every day. Every day contributes to getting

back sooner. I’m trying to stay focused that way

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ut college has been a great distraction for me

when I’m out of here.”

On building strong bonds with other players

who are rehabbing…

“It has been a year since I played. Guys

have come in and out (of rehab) and it’s a bit

demoralising seeing them start before you,

and then come out of it before you. It’s great

to have the likes of RG and Neilie around, and

Mattie has joined us as well. Obviously, you

don’t want to see anyone injured but it’s nice

to have some kind of connection there. We get

on really well. It’s way easier at the gym and do

our rehab together when there’s a group of us

together, have coffees and stuff like that make

a big difference.”

On staying integrated in the squad…

“In the last month or so, I’ve kind of tried to

jump in with the backs as much as possible.

It kind of makes it a bit easier when you are

in a team environment and getting to all the

meetings. Just being in with the squad makes

a huge difference mentally. It’s the only thing

that’s really got me through this – looking to

the end and just wanting to get back on the

pitch. I suppose staying in the meetings and

talking with the coaches has helped a lot with

that because you can keep clued in, stay match

sharp. Obviously, you can’t physically do it

but mentally you can prepare for the games

coming up. That makes a big difference. But

then obviously wanting to get back on the pitch

and back with the squad as well makes me very

ambitious and very motivated to get back.”

“Being in with the squad

makes a huge difference

mentally - it’s the only thing

that’s really got me through

this, looking to the end and

wanting to be back on the

pitch”

Carbery's last game was against

Ulster in January 2020

MUNSTER v LEINSTER | 23.01.21 | THOMOND PARK

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THE LOWDOWN

THE FORM GUIDE

Leinster come into this game on the back of

their only defeat this season, with two wins in

the Champions Cup and eight wins from nine

games in the Guinness PRO14. Leo Cullen’s

side has been in devastating form, picking up

try bonus points in every game this season,

including in the loss against Connacht, with a

current tally of 57 tries in 11 matches. Along

with Munster, they’ve also conceded the fewest

tries across the Guinness PRO14 this season

with 15 each.

Harry Byrne is their top points scorer with 51

points, with Dave Kearney scoring seven tries.

Rhys Ruddock tops the stats on several fronts in

the squad currently with the most carries (114),

most tackles (82) and most turnovers won (6).

The side had 20 players involved with Ireland

during the most recent international window in

October/November.

THE COACHING TICKET

Head Coach Leo Cullen played 32 times

for Ireland and 220 times for Leinster in a

distinguished playing career. He joined the

province’s coaching team on his retirement

in 2014 as forwards coach, and a year later

he became Head Coach, guiding the province

to the PRO12 Final. In his third season, Cullen

became the first man to win a Champions Cup

title as a player and as a Head Coach as he

presided over a first ever Guinness PRO14 and

Champions Cup double for Leinster. Former

England coach Stuart Lancaster joined the ticket

in 2016 as Senior Coach. He was appointed to

the role of England Head Coach in 2011 and led

the team through four Six Nations campaigns

and a Rugby World Cup in 2015. Robin McBryde

joined Leinster as Assistant Coach from the

Wales national team after the Rugby World Cup

last year. The former Leinster and Argentina

flyhalf Felipe Contepomi returned to the

province ahead of the 2018/19 season as Backs

Coach with Emmett Farrell (Kicking Coach/

Head Analyst) completing the coaching ticket.

ONE TO WATCH

ONE TO WATCH

Hugo Keenan

One of the standout performers of the Autumn

Nations Cup for Ireland, 24-year-old winger

Hugo Keenan has certainly caught the eye in

recent months, scoring a brace of tries on his

international debut against Italy in the refixed

Six Nations match in October, and adding

another try against Georgia in the Autumn

Nations Cup clash. With six senior international

caps to date, he is also a former Ireland U20

and Ireland Sevens international. The Dubliner

has played five times with Leinster this season,

including the two Champions Cup games

against Northampton Saints and Montpellier,

and Ulster on January 8 last.

MUNSTER v LEINSTER | 23.01.21 | THOMOND PARK

25


26 WWW.MUNSTERRUGBY.IE


VIRTUAL MUNSTER MASCOTS

HARRY CANTILLON

Age: 8

School: Scoil Phadraig Naofa,

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Hobbies: All sports - especially

rugby with Cork Constitution FC

Favourite Player: Conor Murray

SENAN O’NEILL

Age: 9

From: Rathmines, Dublin

School: Rathgar Junior School, Rathmines,

Dublin

Hobbies: Rugby and soccer

Favourite Players: Dave Kilcoyne, CJ

Stander & Conor Murray

MUNSTER v LEINSTER | 23.01.21 | THOMOND PARK

27


MURPHY CROWE

RELISHING 15S

OPPORTUNITY

Tipperary native Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe

hasn’t played a game of competitive rugby

since the Sydney leg of the World Rugby HSBC

Sevens Series in February 2020. However,

she isn’t one to complain as she has used the

lockdown periods to strengthen different areas

of her game ahead of a yet to be determined

return to competitive action. “It actually hasn’t

been the worst of years,” Murphy Crowe told

Irish Rugby TV.

“I’ve taken it by the throat and just took it for

what it is. Before Covid, I thought it might

have been the year to practice a few extras

and add them to my game. So, I really worked

on strength and speed throughout lockdown

because we couldn’t train or train as a group or

do any rugby at the time. I took that opportunity

to work on those two things. I was pretty

pleased when I came back in to see that my

markers had improved with fitness, strengthwise

and speed-wise.”

If Covid-induced lockdown brought about an

opportunity for Murphy Crowe to improve

areas of her game, it also presented her with

28 WWW.MUNSTERRUGBY.IE


the chance to train and test herself against

the very best that Irish women’s rugby has to

offer – Murphy Crowe, along with many of her

Sevens colleagues, having the opportunity -

when restrictions allowed - to train with Adam

Griggs' Ireland Women's 15s squad.

“Being brought in here has just been a massive

opportunity for me. This was probably the

highlight of my year, getting the opportunity,

seeing people from Sevens transition into

15s so easily. It was a really good opportunity

to take and seeing those girls being able to

transition gives me the confidence that if I can

learn the ropes and things like that, I’ll hopefully

be up for selection throughout 2021.”

Murphy Crowe, who first picked up the oval ball

in her local club Clanwilliam FC at the age of 15,

has been excelling on the international stage

in the Sevens format. She is Ireland’s all-time

top try-scorer on the World Series while she is

also ninth in the list of all-time top try scorers,

rubbing shoulders with some of the sport’s

greats like New Zealand’s Portia Woodman and

Michaela Blyde.

they give you so much feedback and help you

out so much but yeah, you would like to add a

little bit of flair or whatever x-factor you have

in the Sevens, you would like to bring that into

the 15s and show them what you can bring to

the game, although it’s a different game. Your

strengths are your strengths at the end of the

day and if you can bring your strengths into the

15s game, then why not give it a shot?”

For many of us, Murphy Crowe included, 2021

remains uncertain but one thing is for sure, the

Munster woman is keen to wear the green of

Ireland regardless of the format.

“It’s so good for your mental health, just to get

out and exercise in general and then being with

such a competitive group, you always want to

get better and always want to put your best foot

forward.

"What will be will be, whether it’s 15s or Sevens.

I’m just ready to put on a green jersey, it has

been a long, long time and I’m just ready to do

it.”

Her performances also saw her named on

the World Rugby Sevens Series Dream Team

for 2019 in addition to domestic accolades

including Rugby Players Ireland’s Women’s

Sevens Player of the Year in 2016, 2017 and

2019 and Rugby Writers Ireland’s Women’s 7s

Player of the Year award for 2019.

With the Tipperary woman only turning 26 this

year, there seems to be plenty of opportunities

in the future to further consolidate her tryscoring

prowess on the world stage. For now,

however, it’s focussing on the 15s code and

Murphy Crowe wants to follow in the footsteps

of some of her Sevens colleagues like Katie

Fitzhenry, Hannah Tyrrell and Brittany Hogan

who all featured against Italy in the Women’s

Six Nations in October after playing in Sydney

eight months earlier.

“I’ve had to dust off the cobwebs really because

I haven’t played 15s in a while but the coaches,

"Being brought in here has just

been a massive opportunity

for me. This has probably been

the highlight of my year..."

MUNSTER v LEINSTER | 23.01.21 | THOMOND PARK

29


30 WWW.MUNSTERRUGBY.IE


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MUNSTER v LEINSTER | 23.01.21 | THOMOND PARK

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STAND UP

AND FIGHT

32 WWW.MUNSTERRUGBY.IE


RUGBY DEVELOPMENT NEWS

#MunsterStartsHere

RUGBY DEVELOPMENT DEPARTMENT VISITS SHANNON RFC

The Munster Rugby Development Department

paid a visit to Shannon RFC last month, prior to

the current lockdown, to host a coaching and

player development workshop across the club’s

minis and youth sections.

Shannon RFC has 520 registered children

playing rugby from U6s right up the club’s

U18.5s section. With all boys and girls teams

participating, it provided a unique opportunity

for Munster Rugby’s Rugby Development

Officers (RDOs), Coach & Player Development

Officers (CPDOs) and Club & Community Rugby

Officers (CCROs) to engage with the Shannon

RFC coaches and volunteers.

With non-contact training only permitted due

to the current government restrictions, Munster

Rugby staff were able to assist the coaches in

providing safe and fun sessions for the various

age groups while also listening to feedback

from the club’s coaches who have been

working extremely hard over the last number of

months in ensuring that children still have the

opportunity to get outside, exercise and have

fun with their friends.

Many of Shannon’s coaches have also been

participating in online Munster Rugby coaching

courses, so the day’s events provided an

opportunity to put into action what they have

learned.

“The whole idea was to be able to follow up on

practical work that a number of the Shannon

coaches have been doing on the online

courses,” Munster Rugby RDO Gerry Casey

said.

“But also to engage with coaches from U6s to

U18.5s both boys and girls. To give a different

voice and maybe a different outlook on the way

to coach."

MUNSTER v LEINSTER | 23.01.21 | THOMOND PARK

33


"WE WANT TO GET

EVERYBODY

BACK OUT

PLAYING"

Colm McMahon

We spoke to Head of Rugby Development

Colm McMahon as he reflects on what was an

unprecedented year for domestic rugby in the

province.

McMahon took up the role as Head of Rugby

Development in January 2020 after spending

over a decade working within the province in

various roles including Coach Development

Officer, Elite Player Development Officer in

the Greencore Munster Rugby Academy and

interim forwards coach at the beginning of the

2019/20 season ahead of Graham Rowntree's

arrival to the province.

With such broad experience, McMahon was

keen to observe a 'normal' domestic season

and to become aware of any changes to the last

time he was involved in this area before making

improvements to the overall game in the

province. Of course, the onset of the COVID-19

pandemic put a halt to any such plans as the

Clare man explains:

"It has been tough because we had to react in

March when we were getting to some really

exciting finals in the province and heading into

playoffs in competitions. From that to stopping

everything and being unable to finish the

season.

"We've had to react a lot but bearing in mind it's

our job, that's part of something that we have to

do. It's the volunteers at the clubs, the coaches,

players, the volunteers, the safety officers who

put their hands up to run compliance. They're

working so hard to try to facilitate the game in

their club or school at a time when it's really

difficult and they're the ones that we'll keep

remembering. If we can get it right and give

them clear messages that they understand,

then we've done a decent job.”

When all rugby activity was halted in March,

McMahon says that clear communication

to clubs played a massive part of the rugby

development department's role due to the

numerous understandable concerns that clubs

throughout the province would have had as a

result of the pandemic.

Thankfully, as the number of COVID cases

in the country improved throughout the

summer, training was allowed to resume and

as McMahon explains, communication played

a big role.

34 WWW.MUNSTERRUGBY.IE


"Trying to support the excellent club volunteers

who put their hands up as COVID safety officers

and compliancy officers in clubs, giving them

really clear messages and taking away any

confusion was a big part of what we tried to do."

During this time, the staff within the Rugby

Development Department visited clubs

and schools throughout the province to

demonstrate what kind of sessions could be run

whilst maintaining and adhering to government

guidelines.

"We went in and we showed the clubs the stuff

we had been preaching that we felt was allowed

through the guidelines. We got into some

player development stuff as well in late July

and in August. Again, I think because people

had been away from the game for so long there

was a huge buzz of being back and the young

players we brought in enjoyed it. The staff went

to clubs and worked there and showcased what

could be done for the non-contact sessions

and how you look after pods and the cleaning

of the equipment. Stuff that has now become

second nature but at the time was very new to

everybody involved."

getting an opportunity to get back to what the

Rugby Development Department normally do

- creating a positive rugby experience in the

province for anyone who wants to play or be

involved in the sport.

"We have a huge amount of time to reflect on

how we did our business as a staff and as a

department. We've done a lot of that. We had a

lot of stuff lined up and ready to get back to but

we're still playing that reaction game to COVID

numbers and to government announcements.

"We want to get everybody back out playing that

wants to play the game. Get back to what we

normally do which is to give people who haven't

played the game of rugby an opportunity to

play in a safe environment and create a good,

positive rugby experience for them so that they

want to play the game and get involved in it as

much as possible. Be that in their school or in

their club."

Due to the nature of the pandemic and the everchanging

situation surrounding what is or is

not permissible, the roll-out of online webinars

and other coaching resources were a key part

of the strategy from the Rugby Development

Department.

"Keith Murphy and his team of coach and player

development and rugby development officers,

they have done a huge amount of work online to

get messages out because that is the new way

of getting messages out through Webinars and

coaching content online. That has been really

important and I know that again, coaches out

in the clubs and schools have found that very

useful."

Looking ahead to 2021, McMahon is hoping

that a more traditional domestic season isn't

too far away and he is looking forward to

"Trying to support the excellent

club volunteers who put their

hands up as COVID safety

officers and compliancy officers

in clubs, giving them really clear

messages and taking away any

confusion was a big part of what

we tried to do."

MUNSTER v LEINSTER | 23.01.21 | THOMOND PARK

35


36 WWW.MUNSTERRUGBY.IE


GET INVOLVED

FOLLOW

ALL THE

ACTION

@PRO14Official

@PRO14Official

@PRO14Official

@PRO14Rugby

@PRO14Rugby

@PRO14Rugby

MUNSTER v LEINSTER | 23.01.21 | THOMOND PARK

37


38 WWW.MUNSTERRUGBY.IE1


HANRAHAN

JJ

Age: 28

Position: Flyhalf

Season Appearances: 9

Points: 83

Tries: 2

Passes completed: 81

Metres gained: 120

Defenders beaten: 10

Turnovers won: 2

Tackles: 31

Offloads: 2

Try assists: 2

Clean breaks: 3

The 28-year-old Kerryman has played 133 times for Munster, with nine appearances this season

that has seen him score 83 points so far, including two tries. In the Champions Cup thriller against

Clermont Auvergne in Decembr he scored 24 of Munster's 39 points with 9 successful kicks. He

also picked up the Guinness PRO14 Player of the Match award against Zebre in November.

MUNSTER v LEINSTER | 23.01.21 | THOMOND PARK039


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CLONAKILTY’S NEVILLE

BURTON RECOGNISED

and the Clonakilty Veterans at the club. This

was followed up by a series of games between

the two teams and the Sunday’s Well Rebels.

Kate, Neville, Jack and Sinead Burton

Nev also plays a role in the various inclusivity

initiatives at the club which include reaching

out to children from the local Direct Provision

Centre and those in the LGBT and Traveller

communities.

The Ballyseedy Volunteer of the Month for

December was awarded to Neville Burton of

Clonakilty RFC for his hard work and dedication

throughout 2020.

Neville is the Chairman of Rugby at Clonakilty

and he oversees the club’s Adult Rugby, Youth

Rugby and Minis Rugby programmes. Nev is

also the head coach of the club’s U16 boys and

assistant coach with the U14 girls.

Neville was involved in a number of initiatives

throughout 2020. At the beginning of the year

when the first lockdown was implemented

nationwide, Neville recorded a series of videos

encouraging members and their families to

support the club’s sponsors. This involved

members of the club passing a rugby ball to

each other outside different businesses in the

town.

With no rugby activity during the summer

months, Neville organised a massive clean-up

at the club which involved various groups and

teams being set up to undertake activities such

as power washing the changing rooms and

clubhouse, painting doors, mending fences and

installing safety barriers.

At the beginning of the year, before lockdown,

Nev assisted in organising a match between the

West Cork Jesters Mixed Ability rugby team

MUNSTER v LEINSTER | 23.01.21 | THOMOND PARK

Nev also produces a popular weekly video

series, “The Clonakilty Weekly Wrap”, which

provides a run-down of all the activities that

have taken place at the club in the previous

week.

Speaking on receiving his award, a humbled

Neville said:

“Delighted. But a little bit embarrassed and

quite humbled by it. I was completely caught

off guard by it. It’s a lovely gesture and I’m very

moved by it but slightly embarrassed because

so many are putting in such a big shift in Clon

RFC and we’ve been working hard on structures

and working hard on everything that we’re

doing. As a club, it’s nice to be recognised for

what we’re doing.”

The Ballyseedy Volunteer Recognition

Programme rewards people working hard

behind the scenes within clubs and schools

throughout the province. This season’s

programme runs from December 2020 to

March 2021 with a reward scheme consisting

of individual ‘Volunteer of the Month’ awards.

Successful nominees who meet a set criteria

were recognised for their efforts by receiving a

prize package including;

· ‘Volunteer of the Month’ Award

· Ballyseedy Gift Hamper

· One4All voucher

41


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42 WWW.MUNSTERRUGBY.IE


FIXTURES & RESULTS 2020/21

Date Fixture Where to watch

Sat 3 Oct Scarlets 27-30 Munster Parc y Scarlets

Sat 10 Oct Munster 25-23 Edinburgh Rugby Thomond Park

Mon 26 Oct Munster 38 - 27 Cardiff Blues eir Sport, TG4, Premier Sports

Sun 1 Nov Dragons 16 - 28 Munster eir Sport, Premier Sports

Sun 15 Nov Munster 38-22 Ospreys eir Sport, S4C, Premier Sports

Mon 23 Nov Glasgow Warriors 13-27 Munster Premier Sports, eir Sport

Mon 30 Nov Munster 52-3 Zebre Rugby Club eir Sport, Premier Sports

Sun 13 Dec Munster 21-7 Harlequins BT Sport, beIN Sports

Sat 19 Dec

Clermont Auvergne 31-39 Munster beIN Sports, BT Sport

Sat 02 Jan Ulster 15-10 Munster eir Sport, Premier Sports

Sat 09 Jan Connacht 10-16 Munster eir Sport, TG4, Premier Sports

Sat 16 Jan Munster v Clermont Auvergne Match Postponed

Sat 23 Jan Harlequins v Munster Match Postponed

Sat 23 Jan | 7.35pm Munster v Leinster eir Sport, Premier Sports

Sat 30 Jan | 5pm Benetton Rugby v Munster beIN Sports, BT Sport

Gilbert x Munster Programme Advert_165x12mm_5mm Bleed.pdf 1 06/10/2020 10:07

MUNSTER v LEINSTER | 23.01.21 | THOMOND PARK

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44 WWW.MUNSTERRUGBY.IE


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