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Leinster vs Vodacom Bulls

Leinster | Official Matchday Programme of Leinster Rugby | Issue 01 Leinster vs Vodacom Bulls | United Rugby Championship Saturday 25th September, 2021 | KO 17:15 | Aviva Stadium

Leinster | Official Matchday Programme of Leinster Rugby | Issue 01
Leinster vs Vodacom Bulls | United Rugby Championship
Saturday 25th September, 2021 | KO 17:15 | Aviva Stadium

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ISSUE 1 | LEINSTER RUGBY OFFICIAL MATCHDAY PROGRAMME

LEINSTER

VS

bulls

SAT 25 TH SEPT

AVIVA STADIUM

KO 5.15PM


1938 - 2019

Newstead Building A,

UCD,

Belfield,

Dublin 4

#LEIVBUL

The Line up

Telephone:

012693224

Fax:

012693142

E-mail:

information@leinsterrugby.ie

www.leinsterrugby.ie

7

30

EXECUTIVE MANAGEMENT

President: John Walsh

Chief Executive: Michael Dawson

Honorary Secretary: Stuart Bayley

Honorary Treasurer: Michael McGrail

RUGBY MANAGEMENT

Head Coach: Leo Cullen

Senior Coach: Stuart Lancaster

Head of Rugby Operations:

Guy Easterby

Assistant Coach: Robin McBryde

Backs Coach: Felipe Contepomi

Kicking Coach: Emmet Farrell

14

PROGRAMME CREDITS

Editorial Team: Marcus Ó Buachalla

& Ryan Corry

Advertising: Gary Nolan

Design: Julian Tredinnick,

Ignition Sports Media

Photography: Sportsfile

Chief Steward: Sword Security

Ambulance: St. John’s Ambulance

Medilink

Event Control & Safety Services:

Eamonn O’Boyle & Associates

62

86

STAY

CONNECTED

& KEEP

UP-TO-DATE

www.leinsterrugby.ie | 3


PRESIDENT, LEINSTER RUGBY 2020/22

john walsh welcome

Welcome back all rugby fans to

a season of new beginnings and

renewals in what we hope will be

an exciting season of celebrating

our sport.

The United Rugby Championship

promises to be an exciting and

competitive tournament that embraces

both northern and southern hemisphere

rugby philosophies.

The United Rugby Championship adds a

new dimension and challenge for the 16

participating teams hailing from Ireland

(Connacht, Leinster, Munster and Ulster),

Scotland (Edinburgh and Glasgow

Warriors), Wales (Cardiff, Dragons,

Ospreys and Scarlets), Italy (Benetton

and Zebre) and South Africa (Bulls, Lions,

Sharks and Stormers) and will feature

some of world rugby’s finest and most

talented players.

With qualification for eight teams from the

United Rugby Championship to play in

the Heineken Champions Cup and eight

teams qualifying to participate in the

European Challenge Cup we will have

South African rugby playing in European

competitions for the first time.

Leinster Rugby wishes to express our

sincere thanks to our committed fans,

season ticket holders and loyal sponsors

for their ongoing support for Leinster

during this long pandemic period.

All businesses have suffered major

financial impacts from the restrictions

imposed by Covid-19and those

challenges will be with us for years to

come. The sport business has not been

exempt with its vital revenue streams

suffering major downturns.

The club game in Leinster which is the

foundation of our success has lost in

excess of 11000 club and school fixtures

during the past 18 months and our focus

will be to ensure that we can safely return

to playing the game that is so valued by

our on our 73 clubs, 120 schools, 13

third level colleges/universities and our

communities.

We also wish to acknowledge and thank

the Government for their assistance in

providing valued financial support to

sport in Ireland as a result of the effect

of the pandemic. It is much appreciated

by all as it is an acknowledgement of the

vital role that sport plays in the wellbeing

of the nation.

We extend a warm welcome to this

evening’s visitors, the Vodacom Bulls, for

our initial United Rugby Championship

fixture.

The Northern Transvaal side are based

in Pretoria and play at the famed Loftus

Versfeld Stadium which is based at 4501

feet above sea level. With four Super

Rugby titles to their name they are the

leading South African club side.

We welcome the players and team coach

Jake White, who had the distinction of

coaching South Africa to win the World

Cup with a victory over England in 2007.

‘From The Ground Up’ is a phrase that is

central to the development of the game

of rugby in the 12-county province of

Leinster as we increase the pathways for

all to become involved in the sport at all

levels.

We have just completed our provincial

competitions against Munster, Connacht

and Ulster at Women’s, Youths (Girls

and Boys) and Schools level with Leinster

winning 14 of the 15 fixtures that they

played.

Congratulations to all those players who

wore the Leinster shirt with such success

and in particular to the team coaches

and management teams who have

mentored and developed these players.

Our Leinster clubs and schools have

made major investments in recent times

both in terms of developing facilities and

coaching for young players and we in

Leinster Rugby are very appreciative of

all their efforts and acknowledge the

commitment, support and enthusiasm

that our volunteers play in the role of

achieving success for Leinster Rugby.

As we commence the defence of our

league title we wish our squad of 46

players under the captaincy of Johnny

Sexton the very best for the season

ahead.

Our current squad is very much a blend

of emerging young talent with 19 players

with less than 50 appearances, while we

have 13 players in the 50-100 category

and 13 with in excess of 100 Leinster

appearances.

We also welcome our seven new Leinster

Academy players, Lee Barron, Jack

Boyle, Temi Lasisi, Ben Murphy, Chris

Cosgrave, Rob Russell and Mark Hernan

and wish them well for the future.

All these players commenced their

careers with Leinster clubs and with

our highly skilled coaching team of

Leo Cullen, Stuart Lancaster, Felipe

Contepomi, Emmet Farrell and Robin

McBryde to mentor them we look

forward to them progressing into the

Leinster side.

Enjoy the day and the season ahead.

It’s great to be back!

JOHN WALSH

PRESIDENT, LEINSTER RUGBY

2020/22

www.leinsterrugby.ie | 5


Available Now

gilbertrugby.com

The oval trim design is a registered trademark of Gilbert Rugby.


Leo Cullen

head Coach Welcome

Good evening and welcome to

the start of our United Rugby

Championship campaign.

It feels very special to welcome

our supporters, in particular our

Season Ticket Holders, back to

watch the team live and in the

flesh!

A very warm Dublin welcome to Jake

White and his Vodacom Bulls team, who

are fresh off winning the Currie Cup just

two weeks ago.

Jake is a coach with so much experience,

including guiding South Africa to World

Cup glory in 2007. We have also met

while he was coaching Montpellier in the

Champions Cup a few seasons back.

The South African teams are finally here

and we anticipate they will add a new

dimension to our tournament as we all

look to grow the competition.

The Bulls, Sharks, Lions and Stormers are

four strong teams, each with rich heritage

and proud traditions, and will test us over

the course of the coming season and

beyond.

There has been plenty going on since the

end of last season, the highlight of which

was having a proper crowd to get behind

the team in our only pre-season game,

against Harlequins. To have almost

10,000 turn out for a ‘friendly’ fixture is

hugely encouraging to us all.

A big thanks to the IRFU and all at

the Aviva for hosting the games as

we waited to get a green light for

increased capacity at the RDS so we can

accommodate all 12,000 Season Ticket

Holders (which is a great number).

That green light came during the week

and we can’t wait to get back to the RDS

Arena in Round 3.

We also have some new laws to get our

heads around and many of you will have

seen the effects of these in games that

have been played over the last couple

of weeks. It is important that we are

continually trying to improve how we

play the game and ensure it is a game

that you, the supporters, want to come

and see.

It was great to see some Leinster players

representing Ireland during the

Summer Series and a particular well

done to Harry Byrne on making his

Irish debut. Congratulations also

to James Ryan who captained

Ireland during the two games.

The British and Irish Lions

Series in South Africa was

a gripping affair (even though parts of it

were very much for the purists!).

It was fantastic that three Leinster players

managed to start all three Tests so a big

congratulations to Robbie Henshaw,

Tadhg Furlong and Jack Conan on how

they went on an individual basis.

Even though they will all be disappointed

at losing a very tight series, they will have

all greatly benefited from the experience.

Congratulations also to Robin McBryde

who represented the club as part of the

coaching team and of course to Rónan

Kelleher who joined up with the squad.

As a young player, Rónan will have

learned a huge amount from being out

there.

Many thanks to all the team’s sponsors,

in particular Bank of Ireland, who like us

all have been through a challenging time.

We are very appreciative of the support

we receive from our commercial partners

and we look forward to seeing more of

you this coming season.

After what has been a very challenging

18 months, we now can look forward to

brighter days ahead for sport in general.

Many thanks for staying with us,

especially our Official Members, who

signed up last season. We are getting

ever closer to the reality of a packed-out

RDS or Aviva and a noisy crowd singing

‘Come on you boys in blue!’

Take care and enjoy being back – many

thanks.

Leo

www.leinsterrugby.ie | 7


Joann

Hosey

PROVINCIAL DIRECTOR

BANK OF IRELAND DUBLIN

A very warm welcome back to you all attending a Leinster

Rugby game in person, the first time in over 20 months I

have been able to write that!

Everyone in society has endured

difficult times during the pandemic

but over the last few months we

have seen clear signs of recovery

as various parts of society

gradually reopened. Today’s

match is another step in that

journey.

The recent test events hosted by Leinster

Rugby were very successful and without

the fans’ cooperation and adherence to

the Covid-19 guidelines, Leinster Rugby

wouldn’t be in a position to host the

game today at the Aviva Stadium with

up to 75 per cent attendance capacity

allowed. It will be a wonderful sight to

witness the Sea of Blue in action again

amongst the 20,000 supporters, and also

to hear the Laighin Pit roar!

Leo Cullen, his coaching team and

players could hardly have asked for a

stiffer opening task, as they welcome the

Vodacom Bulls to Dublin.

The back-to-back Currie Cup champions

visit the Aviva Stadium for the first game

of the new United Rugby Championship

(URC), starting the new competition off in

style as the current champions of South

African rugby face off against the current

champions of what is now known as the

URC.

I’m sure Leinster Rugby and all its

supporters want to offer a very warm

welcome to Jake White and his squad,

and hope they enjoy their stay in the

northern hemisphere for a few weeks.

We know that the Leinster Rugby

supporters will make you feel most

welcome in Dublin during the week and

in the Aviva Stadium on match day – but

only until 5.15pm when the battle on the

pitch commences!

I am also delighted to see that the 2021

Bank of Ireland Leinster Rugby Schools

Junior Cup kicks off next week in Energia

Park. Players and coaches have had to

stand by and see so much rugby fall by

the wayside over the last season and a

half, and it is a welcome development

that these players will now get to play

their cup matches. We wish all the

competing schools well.

There is now light at the end of the tunnel,

and for now, like everyone in attendance

today I can’t wait to get back to Aviva

Stadium, and witness Leinster Rugby do

what they do best.

Enjoy the game,

JH

www.leinsterrugby.ie | 9


THE ULTIMATE

URC EXPERIENCE

JOIN FOR FREE

Personalised team

experience

Exclusive offers

& competitions

Premium opinion

articles & analysis

Match highlights &

exclusive video content

WWW.UNITEDRUGBY.COM/MYURC


16 TEAMS,

2 HEMISPHERES,

1 LEAGUE


THE SPIRIT OF

UNITED RUGBY

CHAMPIONSHIP.

Enjoy responsibly

DISCOVER THE SPIRIT WITHIN |

#SAVOURTHEMOMENT


Did you

know?

Leinster Rugby lost

just one of their last

four fixtures in last

season’s Rainbow Cup

12-15 at Glasgow on 4

June.

• The Leinstermen have

played 23 previous

Championship matches

at Aviva Stadium

with their only

defeat being 23-34 to

Munster in October

2014.

Leinster’s record

against South African

opponents in United

Rugby Championship

is played seven, won

six, lost one with the

defeat being 19-38 on

a visit to Cheetahs in

September 2017.

Vodacom Bulls won

the Currie Cup for

a second successive

year on 11 September,

beating Cell C Sharks

in the final at Loftus

Versfeld. Their most

recent defeat was

also to the Sharks in

Durban on 6 August.

• The Bulls reached

the Rainbow Cup final

last season but were

eclipsed in the final

by Benetton Rugby.

• This is the Bulls

first ever visit to

Ireland, and their

first trip to the

Northern Hemisphere

since being defeated

in Treviso.

• The two sides

have never met in a

competitive fixture

before.

COMPARISON

Last 3 URC results

14 May - Ulster (H)

W 21-17

4 Jun - Glasgow (A)

L 12-15

11 Jun - Dragons (H)

W 38-7

URC 2020/21

Conf A:

1st

W14 D0 L2

71pts

URC form

WWWWWL (26pts)

Top try scorer

10 Scott Penny

Top points scorer

91 Harry Byrne

1938 - 2019

Last 3 URC results

4 Jun - Stormers (H)

W 31-27

12 Jun - Sharks (A)

W 34-22

19 Jun - Benetton (N)

L 8-35

URC 2020/21

Rainbow SA:

1st

W5 D0 L1

25pts

URC form

WWWLWW (25pts)

Top try scorer

4 Madosh Tambwe

Top points scorer

53 Morne Steyn

www.leinsterrugby.ie | 13


johhny

Sexton

the big interview

It is probably fair

to say that if things

had played out as he

would have wanted,

we wouldn’t be

sitting down this

afternoon to chat

with Johnny Sexton.

And he wouldn’t be leading

Leinster Rugby in the Aviva

Stadium in the opening game of

the United Rugby Championship.

The Leinster Rugby and Ireland captain,

should have been on a plane to South

Africa.

Blue tinted glasses? Undoubtedly. But

we’re entitled to wear those surely from

time to time.

Instead, Sexton was deemed surplus to

requirements by Warren Gatland and co.

Meanwhile Andy Farrell and the Irish

coaching team made a broader decision

to leave a few of the more experienced

players off for the summer programme,

including the Leinster skipper.

14 | www.leinsterrugby.ie


www.leinsterrugby.ie | 15


It left Sexton, Cian Healy and Keith Earls,

to kick back and relax.

While Healy and Earls were on the

fringes of any Lions conversation, Sexton

was smack in the middle of it all and

his omission was nearly as big a talking

point as any player selected.

So before we get into all of that, how is

he?

“I’m good. The body feels good, I feel

sharp and I’ve had a really good block

of training under my belt.

“It’s probably the longest run of Leinster

pre-season than I have had in a while

and I had the run out last week against

Harlequins so yeah, I feel good and I’m

just looking forward to the season starting

now.”

Where does he sit now on how the

summer played out?

“Of course, disappointment is the

overriding emotion but what can I do?

“I would have loved to have made the

Lions but I didn’t and I have to try as best

I can to put that behind me.

that is the great thing about the

old PRO14 or the URC as it is now,

you have teams from different countries

and different rugby cultures

coming together.

“The good thing for me was when that

happened and once the plan for the

season ahead was in front of me, I was

able to focus on that and I think that’s

been a really good thing.

“I was also able to take time off with my

family, so it was time off on top of time

off because of Covid, so my body feels

great because of that and I feel like I’m in

a really good space now heading into a

new season.”

Undoubtedly as we have seen with

Lions tours in the past and big selection

decisions (or omissions), the story of his

omission will follow him around in the

following months and years and already

any media event has been dominated

with questions around Gatland, the Lions,

the loss, his regret.

But for Sexton, it’s quite simple.

It hurt. Of course it did. But what could

he do? He could either stew on it or he

could use it to his advantage.

No prizes for guessing what the

173-times capped Leinster out-half chose

to do.

“Normally at this time of the year with

a Lions tour or an Ireland tour, there is a

bunch of lads that come new into Leinster

Rugby and they do not see the senior

players for a month or two before the

integration starts.

“And it could be another few months

before they play together.

“This season it was different with myself

and Cian (Healy) and a few other lads

out injured like Rhys (Ruddock) and

Garry (Ringrose) being around, and

I think it was good for them having us

16 | www.leinsterrugby.ie


senior players around and I know it was

good for me.

“Them seeing what it’s like at that time of

the year with senior players around and

internationals. Driving things maybe or

little chats here and there.

“I’ve enjoyed being in and around that

now for the last two or three months, but I

hope it will stand to them as well.

“It feels good to be part of the group

this early in the season and to have

that three-month block of training

together this early. I’m excited by

what’s ahead.”

Sexton made his Leinster debut

in January 2006 against Border

Reivers. Today, in the Aviva

Stadium, the Leinster captain starts

his 16th season as a professional

player when he leads the side out

against the Vodacom Bulls.

He has seen most alliterations and

versions of the domestic league take

shape in that time.

The latest version sees the previous two

South African teams, the Kings and the

Cheetahs, drop out to be replaced by the

Cell C Sharks, DHL Stormers, Emirates

Lions and Vodacom Bulls.

What does he make of the United Rugby

Championship?

“I’m looking forward to getting back out

there first of all and then excited by what

the new competition brings.

“Obviously there are the new South

African teams and that will challenge

us all to be better and to improve and

then there are the new elements to the

competition and the structures, the gaps

during international windows and the

new rules.”

The big talking point though is

what can the four new teams

bring to the table and how

much will Leinster have to

adapt?

“I think whenever you play

against a team from another

country you have to adapt

and that is the great thing about the

old PRO14 or the URC as it is now, you

have teams from different countries and

different rugby cultures coming together.

www.leinsterrugby.ie | 17


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“You definitely need to strike a balance

between recognising what they will do

and what they will bring to the table and

then doing what you do best as a team.

We don’t have to tear up the playbook

just because four new teams have come in

but we certainly are very mindful of what

challenges we will face.

“Right now our focus is on the Bulls but in

time we’ll look towards the other three teams

and obviously we have games in South

Africa to play later in the season as well.

“The over-riding feeling is excitement of the

new challenge the new teams will bring but

you can’t discount either the other clubs who

have also been building during pre-season

and adding big names in some cases.

“It’s all to play for ahead of the first few

rounds and then we will all see where we

stand.”

There is also the small matter of new rules

in the URC like the 50:22 rule and the rule

around being held up over the try-line.

“We’ve looked at them over the summer and

I think it will definitely create opportunities

for teams but at the same time it will take

some getting used to.

“The Bulls, for example, were playing

without those rules in the Currie Cup so it

will be new for them too but regardless,

come Saturday it will be the same for both

teams and we’ll see if there are opportunities

to exploit.”

Sexton has played against the South African

national team and is energised by what the

future holds playing against the club teams

and in particular the history that will be

created.

“We haven’t thought too much beyond this

weekend and the Bulls coming to Dublin. I

think for a start we will be the first Leinster

team to play against the Bulls which is pretty

special.

“Them coming here and playing their first

game in Ireland and in our national stadium

is special.

“But also they are one of the most famous

clubs in South Africa, arguably the most

famous. They have a very proud record in

Super Rugby and obviously the Currie Cup

as well and they have won it the last two

seasons.

www.leinsterrugby.ie | 19


Hopefully though

this year we will

have stadiums full

again and that will

elevate everything to

another level having

supporters, family

and friends at the

games again. We have

all missed that.

20 | www.leinsterrugby.ie


“They’ve a World Cup-winning coach in

Jake White and have a strong squad of

players already and have then recruited

well from the TOP14 and elsewhere in

Europe to bring that experience of the

northern hemisphere in-house.

“Players that have played in Munster

like Arno Botha or Marcel Coetzee

who played with Ulster and Bismarck

du Plessis and his experience with

Montpellier.

“They are the form club team in South

Africa and we can’t wait to test ourselves

against them.”

The game two weeks ago against

Harlequins is the only pre-season game

that Leinster Rugby will play.

Does that concern him given that the

Bulls will be coming off a Currie Cup

campaign battle-hardened?

“You could look at it that way but you

could also say then that we could be

fresher because we have played less? It’s

all about how you want to frame things

and for us we like looking at it as an

opportunity.

“A great opportunity for us to test

ourselves against a completely new

proposition and a team that we have

never played before or analysed before.

“Regardless of what has gone before,

both teams will be ready for it.”

For the 10,000 or so supporters in the

Aviva Stadium for the Quins game, they

would have enjoyed the game but what

did the captain make of it all?

“First of all, I was just delighted for the

lads playing.

“Obviously Mike (Ala’alatoa) playing

in a Leinster jersey for the first time and

getting to experience the Aviva was

special for him but then more so the likes

of Max (Deegan), COB (Conor O’Brien)

and Brian Deeny.

“What those lads have been through and

their injuries has not been easy and it’s

a massive credit to them that they have

stuck to the task so brilliantly and I was

just thrilled for them really.

“And then the young lads playing at that

level for the first time. Lads in the first

year in the Academy and that in itself is

pleasing because it’s brilliant for them to

get that exposure this early in the season

and that will stand to them.

“And then the result. That was a really

important one for us.”

It is not often that a result is spoken about

in the context of a pre-season friendly

game.

It is usually about game-time or building

a performance but Sexton adds meat to

the bones.

“With that game being the only preseason

we had, plus playing against the

English champions, and knowing that

they were a week or two ahead of us

in terms of prep, we actually put quite a

focus on the result for this game.

“Normally for a game like that it’s about

getting 20, 40, 60, or however many

minutes into the legs, trying a few things

and seeing how lads go but for this game

we wanted to use it as our starting point

leading into the Bulls game.

“Quins had already played a pre-season

game the week before and even now

have already played a competitive game

in the Premiership before we have even

kicked off in the URC so they are just a

little ahead of us. So why not set a target

to test ourselves? And that is what we did.

“It was really pleasing to see the players

go well as I said but then also for some

things to come off, some things can be

better but ultimately we set ourselves that

test, that target, to get the win against

Quins and we got that and that was

really pleasing.”

He was one of those to get 40 minutes

under his belt.

“I really enjoyed it. Good getting out

there and getting those minutes played

which was the plan and overall I think we

can take lots from that game as we head

into the season ahead.”

By 5.15pm today another season will be

underway and for 36-year-old Sexton,

the year ahead has him just as excited

as ever.

Only last weekend Andy Farrell brought

together a 50-strong Ireland training

group to meet and plot out the season for

those in contention in green and the road

ahead for those in blue is taking shape

as well.

“Yeah, it’ll be another jam-packed

season.

“Hopefully though this year we will have

stadiums full again and that will elevate

everything to another level having

supporters, family and friends at the

games again. We have all missed that.

“We have to focus on the Bulls first,

but you’re right. The next five weeks for

Leinster are mapped out in the URC and

then we have the autumn internationals

and that is exciting and the games

coming up there. Then into Europe and

the beauty of it all is that everyone wants

to play in those games for Leinster and

hopefully with Ireland.

“That competition in all of us is as strong

as ever but you have to perform for

Leinster first. Leo can only pick 23 guys

from the nearly 50 senior players here so

that is the standard and the competition

that will drive us all on.

“There is lots of rugby to come over

the season and we are all very excited

now to get going again and what better

way to get going than against the Bulls

today.”

The reigning URC champions. Against the

reigning Currie Cup champions.

What better way is right.

www.leinsterrugby.ie | 21


Action

replay 40 21

LEINSTER: Chris Cosgrave; Rob

Russell, Jamie Osborne, Conor

O’Brien, James Lowe; Johnny

Sexton, Luke McGrath; Peter

Dooley, Dan Sheehan, Michael

Ala’alatoa; Devin Toner, Brian

Deeny; Rhys Ruddock, Scott Penny,

Max Deegan. Replacements

from: Cian Healy, Seán Cronin,

James Tracy, Vakh Abdaladze,

Ross Molony, Ryan Baird, Martin

Moloney, Cormac Foley, Ross

Byrne, David Hawkshaw, Liam

Turner, Niall Comerford.

Tries: Conor O’Brien, Scott Penny,

Johnny Sexton, Jamie Osborne,

Ryan Baird, Liam Turner. Cons:

Johnny Sexton (4), Ross Byrne.

FRI, 10 SEPTEMBER, 2021

AVIVA STADIUM

BANK OF IRELAND

PRE-SEASON FRIENDLY

HARLEQUINS: Tyrone Green; Joe

Marchant, Luke Northmore, Andre

Esterhuizen, Louis Lynagh; Tommy

Allan, Danny Care; Santiago

Garcia Botta, Jack Walker, Simon

Kerrod; Hugh Tizard, Dino Lamb,

Tom Lawday, Jack Kenningham,

Alex Dombrandt. Replacements

from: Sam Riley, George Head,

Fin Baxter, Will Collier, Craig

Trenier, Matas Jurevicius, George

Hammond, Luke Wallace, Archie

White, Scott Steele, Will Edwards,

Ross Chisholm, Lennox Anyanwu,

Huw Jones, Cadan Murley, Nick

David.

Tries: Luke Northmore, Joe

Marchant, Sam Riley. Cons: Tommy

Allan (3).

22 | www.leinsterrugby.ie


Pre-season

games are challenging.

We came

through relatively

ok. It’s

valuable minutes,

that’s the

big thing.

Leo Cullen

It was so nice

to come back and

play with fans

in the stadium

and getting your

breath back and

letting it sink

in, I was very

nervous.

Conor O’Brien talks about his first game

after nearly two years out injured

www.leinsterrugby.ie | 23


U18 Women’s Interprovincial

Championshipwinners

winners

24 | www.leinsterrugby.ie


www.leinsterrugby.ie | 25


SHOP THE 2021/22 LEINSTER RUGBY RANGE NOW,

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www.leinsterrugby.ie | 27


leo

the lion’s

kids

corner

IN A BLUR!

Can you name this

leinster player?

spot the difference!

Can you find all six?

ANAGRAMS

Can you un-jumble the names of these players?

LONER HEEL

RANK

RIGGER OR

YARNS

how did you do?

IN A BLUR?

ROSS MOLONY

ANAGRAMS

RONAN KELLEHER

GARRY RINGROSE

ZOOMED IN!

ROBBIE HENSHAW

zoomed in!

WHo is this leinster

player havine an

extreme close-ip?

28 | www.leinsterrugby.ie


AJ Products provides unique

solutions for office,

warehouse and

environment

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AZTO

with

Caelan Doris

A – Action: If you could be a

superhero, which would you be?

Superman

B – Boyhood: Who was your favourite

sporting idol growing up?

CR7

C – Childhood: What is your favourite

childhood memory?

Football at lunch time!

D – Dish: What’s your go-to pre-match

meal?

Spag Bol

E – Education: What was your

favourite subject in school?

Economics

F – Film buff: What’s your favourite

film?

The Shawshank Redemption or

Notting Hill

G – Groove: Who is the best dancer in

the squad?

Peter Dooley - did breakdancing in

Birr.

H – Holiday: What’s your favourite

holiday destination?

Greek Islands

I – Inside: Who is the worst to sit

beside in the dressing room?

Frawley - the ginger head on him

hurts the eyes.

J – Joker: Who is the funniest in the

squad?

Will Connors - weirdest too!

K – Kick-off: What’s your favourite

time of the day to play a match?

5.30 - lots of time for sleeping but

not too late.

L – Languages: How many languages

can you speak?

Just the one!

30 | www.leinsterrugby.ie


M – Music: Your favourite artist and

song right now?

Heart of Gold by Neil Young –

timeless!

N – Number: Do you have a lucky

number?

3

O – Others: What’s your favourite sport

outside of rugby?

Gaelic or golf.

P – Pal: Who is your best mate in the

squad?

All the lads I came through the

academy with.

Q – Quirky: Who has the most

interesting fashion sense?

Will Connors - way off!

R – Red Carpet: Who is the most famous

contact in your phone?

Probably Will Connors too.

S – Superstitions: Do you have any

matchday routines?

Lots of sleeping!

T – Trim: What’s the worst haircut

you’ve ever had?

Shaved my head in 2018 - don’t have

the hairline for it!

U: Under pressure: Who in the squad

would be the best in a bad situation?

Mick Milne - cool, calm and collected

at all times.

V – Verified: How often do you use

social media?

Everyday

W – Worst fear: What are you most

scared of?

Snakes

X – X-ray: Have you ever broken any

bones?

Right Hand

Y – Youth: Where did you grow up?

Lacken, 20 minutes from Ballina, Mayo.

Z – Zoo: What’s your favourite animal?

Chimpanzee

www.leinsterrugby.ie | 31


ENERGIA MENS ALL

IRELAND LEAGUEBY ROBERT DEACON

Next weekend sees the commencement of

this season’s Energia Men’s All-Ireland

League with matches taking place in all

five divisions across the four provinces.

In March 2019 as clubs were

facing into the final stages

of that season’s league and

preparing for defining matches

that would decide their success

or otherwise, the season came

to an abrupt halt as a result

of Covid-19. That campaign

was declared null and void

and no one envisaged that last

season would also be lost to the

pandemic.

A year and a half later our Leinster

senior men’s clubs return to Energia

All-Ireland League action after a series

of matches in domestic competitions

in preparation for what lies ahead.

There has been a positive response to

return to play after what has been a

tough time for the clubs keeping players

engaged throughout with little or no

access to their pitches and pavilions

due to lockdown.

The 18 Leinster senior men’s clubs are

spread across all five divisions of this

season’s league and all will be aiming

to get off to a good start in round one

next weekend.

DIVISION 1A:

In Division 1A five of the 10 clubs

competing are from Leinster and

all will be vying to reach season

ending play-offs and challenge for

the title held by Cork Constitution.

In round one next Saturday, Dublin

University will play hosts to Lansdowne in

34 | www.leinsterrugby.ie


College Park. Terenure will face UCD at

home in Lakelands, so two entertaining

local matches in prospect to whet the

appetite for those in attendance.

Clontarf will take to the road north for

their opening game and will seek to get

off to a winning start when they play

Ballynahinch.

DIVISION 1B:

Again, Leinster clubs make up

five of the 10 clubs competing in

Division 1B.

Old Belvedere and Naas will kick start

the Energia All-Ireland League next

Friday evening when they meet in Ollie

Campbell Park.

St Mary’s and Navan both have to travel

outside the province on Saturday for

their opening games, St. Mary’s make

the journey to Cork to take on Highfield,

while Navan head north to play Malone.

Old Wesley will have Shannon as visitors

to Energia Park in Donnybrook.

DIVISION 2A:

Only MU Barnhall of the 18

Leinster senior men’s clubs will

compete in division 2A this

season, which as a result means

plenty of mileage around the

country will be undertaken by

the Maynooth club. For their

opening game ‘it’s a long way

to Tipperary’ to take on Nenagh

Ormond.

DIVISION 2B:

Blackrock, Greystones, Malahide

and Wanderers are the four

Leinster clubs competing in

division 2B. Blackrock and

Greystones will face opposition

from Connaught with Blackrock

travelling west to Galway to

take on Corinthians, while the

Co Wicklow men will have

Galwegians as visitors to Doctor

Hickey Park.

Malahide will undertake the journey

across the city to face fellow Leinster club

Wanderers in Merrion Road.

DIVISION 2C:

Three Leinster clubs will represent

the province in division 2C this

season and all three start their

league campaign with home

fixtures. Both Skerries and

Tullamore will play host to Ulster

clubs, facing Omagh Academicals

and City of Derry respectively.

Enniscorthy look forward to entertaining

Midleton at their Ross Road grounds.

After the hiatus of the last 18 months

a long-awaited Energia Men’s All-

Ireland League eventually gets up and

running next weekend and will continue

throughout the season.

So, plenty of club action over the coming

weeks and months across the province

and beyond to be enjoyed by both

players and supporters alike, here’s to a

successful league campaign for all.

You will find all updates on Energia All-

Ireland league fixtures and results on the

IRFU, Leinster Rugby and the participating

clubs’ websites and social media outlets.

www.leinsterrugby.ie | 35


leinster

squad

2021/22 season

Vakh Abdaladze #1263

Michael Ala’alatoa

7

CAPS

Ryan Baird #1278

5

CAPS

Adam Byrne #1213

1

CAP

PROP

DOB: 06/02/1996

HEIGHT: 1.88m

WEIGHT: 121kg

prop

DOB: 28/08/1991

HEIGHT: 1.91m

WEIGHT: 127kg

LOCK

DOB: 26/07/1999

HEIGHT: 1.98m

WEIGHT: 103.18kg

WING / FULL BACK

DOB: 10/04/1994

HEIGHT: 1.91m

WEIGHT: 98.18kg

Ed Byrne #1222

6

CAPS

Harry Byrne #1280

1

CAP

Ross Byrne #1236

13

CAPS

Thomas Clarkson

PROP

DOB: 09/09/1993

HEIGHT: 1.8m

WEIGHT: 114.09kg

FLY HALF

DOB: 22/04/1999

HEIGHT: 1.9m

WEIGHT: 95kg

FLY HALF

DOB: 08/04/1995

HEIGHT: 1.9m

WEIGHT: 92kg

PROP

DOB: 22/02/2000

HEIGHT: 1.85m

WEIGHT: 118kg

36 | www.leinsterrugby.ie


Jack Conan #1223

20

CAPS

7

CAPS

Will Connors #1264

9

CAPS

Sean Cronin #1202

72

CAPS

Max Deegan #1256

1

CAP

NO. 8

DOB: 29/07/1992

HEIGHT: 1.93m

WEIGHT: 114.09kg

BACK ROW

DOB: 04/04/1996

HEIGHT: 1.96m

WEIGHT: 100kg

HOOKER

DOB: 06/05/1986

HEIGHT: 1.78m

WEIGHT: 103.18kg

NO. 8

DOB: 01/10/1996

HEIGHT: 1.93m

WEIGHT: 110kg

Peter Dooley #1230

Caelan Doris #1268

9

CAPS

Jack Dunne #1276

Ciaran Frawley #1265

PROP

DOB: 04/08/1994

HEIGHT: 1.83m

WEIGHT: 117kg

BACK ROW

DOB: 02/04/1998

HEIGHT: 1.93m

WEIGHT: 107kg

LOCK

DOB: 21/11/1998

HEIGHT: 2.03m

WEIGHT: 120kg

FLY HALF

DOB: 04/12/1997

HEIGHT: 1.91m

WEIGHT: 98kg

Tadhg Furlong #1220

PROP

DOB: 14/11/1992

HEIGHT: 1.83m

WEIGHT: 125kg

49

CAPS

13

CAPS

Jamison Gibson-Park #1247

SCRUM HALF

DOB: 23/02/1992

HEIGHT: 1.75m

WEIGHT: 80kg

10

CAPS

David Hawkshaw #1290

FLY HALF / Centre

DOB: 03/07/1999

HEIGHT: 1.75m )

WEIGHT: 85.91kg

Cian Healy #1142

PROP

DOB: 07/10/1987

HEIGHT: 1.85m

WEIGHT: 116.82kg

109

CAPS

2

CAPS

Robbie Henshaw #1251

52

CAPS

9

CAPS

Dave Kearney #1158

19

CAPS

Hugo Keenan #1253

13

CAPS

Ronan Kelleher #1277

13

CAPS

CENTRE

DOB: 12/06/1993

HEIGHT: 1.9m

WEIGHT: 99.09kg

WING / FULL BACK

DOB: 19/06/1989

HEIGHT: 1.8m

WEIGHT: 90kg

FULL BACK

DOB: 18/06/1996

HEIGHT: 1.85m

WEIGHT: 91.82kg

HOOKER

DOB: 24/01/1998

HEIGHT: 1.83m

WEIGHT: 105kg

www.leinsterrugby.ie | 37


Jordan Larmour #1258

30

CAPS

Dan Leavy #1231

11

CAPS

WING

DOB: 10/06/1997

HEIGHT: 1.78m

WEIGHT: 90kg

FLANKER

DOB: 23/05/1994

HEIGHT: 1.91m

WEIGHT: 105.91kg

for full squad profiles

please click here

James Lowe #1262

6

CAPS

Nick McCarthy

Luke McGrath #1206

19

CAPS

Michael Milne #1279

WING / FULL BACK

DOB: 08/07/1992

HEIGHT: 1.88m

WEIGHT: 105kg

SCRUM HALF

DOB: 25/03/1995

HEIGHT: 1.8m

WEIGHT: 84.09kg

SCRUM HALF

DOB: 03/02/1993

HEIGHT: 1.75m

WEIGHT: 84.09kg

PROP

DOB: 05/02/1999

HEIGHT: 1.83m

WEIGHT: 115kg

Jimmy O’Brien #1272

Conor O’Brien #1260

Josh Murphy #1261

Ross Molony #1233

LOCK

DOB: 11/05/1994

HEIGHT: 1.96m

WEIGHT: 113kg

FLANKER

DOB: 17/02/1995

HEIGHT: 1.98m

WEIGHT: 110kg

CENTRE

DOB: 06/02/1996

HEIGHT: 1.91m

WEIGHT: 100kg

CENTRE

DOB: 27/11/1996

HEIGHT: 1.83m

WEIGHT: 88kg

Tommy O’Brien #1283

Rory O’Loughlin #1248

1

CAP

Scott Penny #1271

Andrew Porter #1246

37

CAPS

CENTRE

DOB: 28/05/1998

HEIGHT: 1.83m

WEIGHT: 95kg

CENTRE

DOB: 21/01/1994

HEIGHT: 1.88m

WEIGHT: 94.09kg

FLANKER

DOB: 22/09/1999

HEIGHT: 1.83m

WEIGHT: 104kg

PROP

DOB: 16/01/1996

HEIGHT: 1.83m

WEIGHT: 114.09kg

38 | www.leinsterrugby.ie


Garry Ringrose #1237

34

CAPS

Rhys Ruddock #1167

27

CAPS

James Ryan #1259

37

CAPS

Johnny Sexton #1127

99

CAPS

14

CAPS

CENTRE

DOB: 26/01/1995

HEIGHT: 1.85m

WEIGHT: 96kg

BACK ROW

DOB: 13/11/1990

HEIGHT: 1.91m

WEIGHT: 113.18kg

LOCK

DOB: 24/07/1996

HEIGHT: 2.03m

WEIGHT: 115kg

FLY HALF

DOB: 11/07/1985

HEIGHT: 1.88m

WEIGHT: 90kg

Dan Sheehan #1286

HOOKER

DOB: 17/09/1998

HEIGHT: 1.91m

WEIGHT: 110.91kg

Devin Toner #1128

LOCK

DOB: 29/06/1986

HEIGHT: 2.11m

WEIGHT: 127kg

70

CAPS

James Tracy #1211

HOOKER

DOB: 02/04/1991

HEIGHT: 1.83m

WEIGHT: 106kg

6

CAPS

Josh van der Flier #1228

FLANKER

DOB: 25/04/1993

HEIGHT: 1.85m

WEIGHT: 103kg

32

CAPS

Coaching

Staff

2021/22 season

LEO CULLEN

HEAD COACH

STUART LANCASTER

SENIOR COACH

ROBIN MCBRYDE

ASSISTANT COACH

FELIPE CONTEPOMI

BACKS COACH

EMMET FARRELL

KICKING COACH AND

LEAD PERFORMANCE ANALYST

GUY EASTERBY

HEAD OF RUGBY OPERATIONS

www.leinsterrugby.ie | 39


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LEINSTER RUGBY PLAYS

ROLE IN NEW CONTACT

TRAINING GUIDELINES

Rugby is set

to adopt a

new approach

to contact

training

following the

publication of

new guidelines

by World

Rugby and

International

Rugby Players

(IRP) aimed

at reducing

injury

risk and

supporting

short and

long-term

player

welfare.

42 | www.leinsterrugby.ie

Leinster Rugby is playing a central

role in the study with coach Stuart

Lancaster a member of the World

Rugby Advisory Group on contact

load, as well as Leinster Rugby

being on of the 10 teams using

instrumented mouth guards to

assess the mechanism, incidence

and intensity of head impact

events.

The guidance is being supported by

national players’ associations, national

union Directors of Rugby, coaches and

clubs.

Earlier this year, World Rugby unveiled

a transformational six-point plan aiming

to cement rugby as the most progressive

sport on player welfare. These new

best-practice guidelines on the intensity

and frequency of contact training

to which professional rugby players

should be exposed have been shaped

by consultation with players, coaches

and leading medical, strength and

conditioning, and scientific experts.

Global study

The guidelines are based on a global

study undertaken by IRP of almost 600

players participating across 18 elite

men’s and women’s competitions, and a

comprehensive review of the latest injury

data. It reveals that training patterns vary

across competitions, with an average

of 21 minutes per week of full contact

training and an average total contact

load of 118 minutes per week. A more

measured and consistent approach to

training will help manage the Contact

Load for players, especially those moving

between club and national training

environments. The research supports the

minimising of the contact load in training,

so that players can be prepared to

perform but not have elevated injury risk.

The guidelines are an attempt to aid with

striking that balance.

New ‘best practice’

training contact

guidelines

World Rugby and International Rugby

Player’s new framework sets out clear

and acceptable contact guidelines

for training sessions, aiming to further

inform coaches – and players – of best

practice for reducing injury risk and

optimizing match preparation in season.

The guidance covers the whole spectrum

of contact training types, considering

volume, intensity, frequency and


predictability of contact, as well as the

optimal structure of sessions across the

typical training week, including crucially

recovery and rest periods.

Recommended contact

training limits for the

professional game are

as follows:

Full contact training: maximum of 15

minutes per week across a maximum

of two days per week with Mondays

and Fridays comprising zero full contact

training to allow for recovery and

preparation

Controlled contact training: maximum of

40 minutes per week with at least one

day of zero contact of any type

Live set piece training: maximum of 30

minutes set piece training per week is

advised

The guidance, which also considers

reducing the overall load for players of

particular age, maturity and injury profile

(in line with the risk factors and load

guidance published in 2019), will feature

in the men’s and women’s Rugby World

Cup player welfare standards and it is

anticipated that other competitions will

follow suit.

Programme of review

and research

World Rugby has committed to

measuring the ‘real life’ effect of these

recommendations. World Rugby is

partnering with 10 elite teams (five

women’s and five men’s) and assess the

mechanism, incidence and intensity of

head impact events using instrumented

mouth guards and video analysis.

Four clubs – Leinster, ASM Clermont

Auvergne, the Southland Stags and

Benetton Treviso – have signed up to an

innovative monitoring programme using

instrumented mouthguards which will

monitor implementation and measure

outcomes in partnership with World

Rugby.

Leinster Rugby have worked with Impact

Gumshields to customize each players

gumshield.

World Rugby Chief Executive Alan

Gilpin said: “This important body of work

reflects our ambition to advance welfare

for players at all levels of the game.

Evidence-based, this guidance is based

on the largest study of contact training

in the sport, developed by some of the

best rugby, performance and medical

minds in the game. We believe that by

moderating overall training load on an

individualised basis, including contact

in season, it is possible to enhance both

injury-prevention and performance

outcomes which are good for players,

coaches and fans.”

World Rugby Director of Rugby and

High Performance and former Ireland

coach Joe Schmidt added: “Training has

increasingly played an important role in

injury-prevention as well as performance

over the last decade. While there is

significantly less full contact training

than many people might imagine, it is

our hope that having a central set of

guidelines will further inform players

and coaches of the progression, key

considerations and volume/intensity of

any contact that is done during training.

“These new guidelines, developed by

leading experts and, backed by elite

players, union directors of rugby and

leading competitions, will aid coaches

in identifying performance gains through

best-practice training and contact limit

guidance. It is by necessity a work in

progress and will be monitored and

further researched to understand the

positive impact on player welfare.

“We recognise that community level

rugby can be an almost entirely different

sport in terms of fitness levels, resources

and how players can be expected to

train. World Rugby continue to invest

in research and as well as trialling law

adaptations, focused specifically on the

community game for men, women and

children, to complement our commitments

to player welfare in the professional

game.”

World Rugby is also progressing a

wide-ranging study of the impact of

replacements on injury risk in the sport, a

ground-breaking study into the frequency

and nature of head impacts in community

rugby in partnership with the University

of Otago, and further research specific

to the professional women’s game. All

of these priority activities will inform the

decisions the sport makes to advance

welfare for players at all levels and

stages.

www.leinsterrugby.ie | 43


Johnny O'Hagan

a tribute

As the 2021/22

United Rugby

Championship

kicks off

today in Aviva

Stadium, it

will do so

without one

of the most

recognisable

characters in

Leinster Rugby

patrolling the

touchline.

For as long as anyone can

remember, Johnny O’Hagan,

has been a constant feature of

Leinster Rugby games at home

and away but this season they

will have to negotiate those trips

without the Bective Rangers

legend.

At the end of last season, O’Hagan hung

up the keys to the kit-van and handed the

keys to the shed at the Rosemount pitch in

UCD to the next man in, Jim Bastick.

O’Hagan will continue as kitman to the

Leinster Rugby ‘A’ team but it is most

definitely the end of an era.

And it is a difficult job for anyone to put

into words O’Hagan’s impact on the club

over so many years.

But Leo Cullen, who knows O’Hagan

from his very early days in a Leinster age

grade jersey, did his best.

“Yeah, Hago is probably the big one for

me from last season as Hago has been

there every step of the way for me in

Leinster and in the professional era.

“It’s an incredible period of time and he’s

a unique character I think it’s fair to say.

I haven’t come across anyone quite like

him and he’ll leave probably the biggest

hole to fill.

“I remember Mike Ruddock was the first

professional coach of Leinster and Johnny

was around then and that was 1997.

Then he was doing kitman for the Leinster

U-20s when I was with them leaving

school in 1996.

“It’s been some shift.”

What were his first impressions of Hago?.

“My first impressions of Johnny

O’Hagan? Probably the same as they

are now!

“He actually looks better now than he

did back then! Looking back on some of

his photos he has some kind of Benjamin

Button trick going on at

the moment!

“He looked older

25 years ago than

he does now! But

amazing times really.

“Back in 1997 with Mike Ruddock, then

Matt Williams - who incidentally wrote

a glowing piece in The Irish Times there

a few months ago about Hago and that

was great to see because Hago would

hate that! – and then Gary Ella, Declan

Kidney, then Michael Cheika, then Joe

(Schmidt), Matt (O’Connor) and now

myself.

“Cheiks and Hago were an odd

combination, but they were thick as

thieves the two of them, very very close.

Cheiks was and is hugely fond of Hago

and that was great to see in a video

tribute that Cheiks sent us.

“And not just head coaches, Jono Gibbes

and Kurt McQuilkin, and many others too

and then the players, the great players.

“Trev Brennan, who would have been

very close to Johnny because of his

affiliation with the premier club, Bective

Rangers, but then Brian O’Driscoll, to

Gordon D’Arcy, and all the greats that

have put on the Leinster jersey.

“Literally every player that has pulled

on a Leinster jersey it has been put on

the hook by Johnny. I am genuinely

struggling to think of a game that he has

missed too in that time.

“An incredible servant to Leinster Rugby,

he is very much loved and he’ll be sorely

missed.”

A fitting tribute to one of the true greats

of the club.

44 | www.leinsterrugby.ie


www.leinsterrugby.ie | 45


compiled by stuart farmer

media services limited

Leinster Player

Statistics

SQUAD

CAP

NO

DEBUT

2021/22 SEASON FOR LEINSTER LEINSTER CAREER

ALL GAMES URC EPCR ALL GAMES PRO14/URC EPCR

App Try Pts App Try Pts App Try Pts App Try Pts App Try Pts App Try Pts

SINCE LAST TRY

CAPS

VAKH ABDALADZE 1263 2 DEC 17 - - - - - - - - - 0+12 1 5 0+12 1 5 - - - 11 -

MICHAEL ALA'ALATOA - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - WS 7

RYAN BAIRD 1278 27 APR 19 - - - - - - - - - 12+15 6 30 11+11 6 30 1+4 - - 1 IR 5

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

ED BYRNE 1222 9 FEB 14 - - - - - - - - - 19+51 10 50 19+40 9 45 0+11 1 5 7 IR 6

HARRY BYRNE 1280 28 SEP 19 - - - - - - - - - 14+10 6 154 14+9 6 149 0+1 - 5 3 IR 1

ROSS BYRNE 1236 4 SEP 15 - - - - - - - - - 70+34 6 650 58+18 2 471 12+16 4 179 5 IR 13

THOMAS CLARK-

1285 29 AUG 20 - - - - - - - - - 2+8 - - 2+8 - - - - - - -

SON

JACK CONAN 1223 20 FEB 14 - - - - - - - - - 80+25 23 115 59+15 16 80 21+10 7 35 1 IR 20

WILL CONNORS 1264 9 FEB 18 - - - - - - - - - 17+6 2 10 16+6 2 10 1 - - 10 IR 9

TIM CORKERY 1298 12 MAR 21 - - - - - - - - - 0+2 - - 0+2 - - - - - - -

SEAN CRONIN 1202 28 OCT 11 - - - - - - - - - 120+75 42 210 76+54 25 125 43+19 16 80 7 IR 72

MAX DEEGAN 1256 3 DEC 16 - - - - - - - - - 35+30 18 90 32+22 16 80 3+8 2 10 7 IR 1

PETER DOOLEY 1230 31 OCT 14 - - - - - - - - - 40+53 5 25 38+47 5 25 2+6 - - 8 -

CAELAN DORIS 1268 28 APR 18 - - - - - - - - - 32+8 5 25 26+6 3 15 6+2 2 10 9 IR 9

JACK DUNNE 1276 16 FEB 19 - - - - - - - - - 2+13 - - 2+13 - - - - - - -

CORMAC FOLEY 1299 24 APR 21 - - - - - - - - - 0+1 - - 0+1 - - - - - - -

CIARAN FRAWLEY 1265 17 FEB 18 - - - - - - - - - 17+18 4 143 16+14 3 132 1+4 1 11 5 -

TADHG FURLONG 1220 1 NOV 13 - - - - - - - - - 73+41 8 40 42+33 3 15 31+8 5 25 3 IR 49

JAMISON GIBSON-PARK 1247 2 SEP 16 - - - - - - - - - 49+52 17 85 44+28 14 70 5+24 3 15 5 IR 10

MARCUS HANAN 1295 19 FEB 21 - - - - - - - - - 0+3 - - 0+3 - - - - - - -

DAVID HAWKSHAW 1290 2 NOV 20 - - - - - - - - - 0+8 1 14 0+8 1 14 - - - 4 -

CIAN HEALY 1142 5 MAY 07 - - - - - - - - - 156+75 27 135 90+48 13 65 64+26 13 65 2 IR 109

ROBBIE HENSHAW 1251 8 OCT 16 - - - - - - - - - 56+1 11 55 25 5 25 31+1 6 30 1 IR 52

DAVE KEARNEY 1158 16 MAY 09 - - - - - - - - - 147+22 51 255 121+15 44 220 25+6 7 35 7 IR 19

HUGO KEENAN 1253 5 NOV 16 - - - - - - - - - 27+3 4 20 22+3 4 20 5 - - 3 IR 13

RONAN KELLEHER 1277 22 FEB 19 - - - - - - - - - 20+5 9 45 14+3 8 40 6+2 1 5 13 IR 13

JORDAN LARMOUR 1258 2 SEP 17 - - - - - - - - - 52+10 19 95 31+7 14 70 21+3 5 25 1 IR 30

DAN LEAVY 1231 31 OCT 14 - - - - - - - - - 43+29 17 85 35+19 13 65 8+10 4 20 1 IR 11

46 | www.leinsterrugby.ie


SQUAD

CAP

NO

DEBUT

2021/22 SEASON FOR LEINSTER LEINSTER CAREER

ALL GAMES URC EPCR ALL GAMES PRO14/URC EPCR

App Try Pts App Try Pts App Try Pts App Try Pts App Try Pts App Try Pts

SINCE LAST TRY

CAPS

JAMES LOWE 1262 2 DEC 17 - - - - - - - - - 52 34 170 34 25 125 18 9 45 3 IR 6

NICK MCCARTHY 1241 19 DEC 15 - - - - - - - - - 6+30 4 20 6+24 4 20 0+6 - - 5 -

LUKE MCGRATH 1206 5 MAY 12 - - - - - - - - - 102+49 39 195 69+43 31 155 33+6 8 40 2 IR 19

MICHAEL MILNE 1279 28 SEP 19 - - - - - - - - - 1+15 2 10 1+15 2 10 - - - 14 -

MARTIN MOLONEY 1300 24 APR 21 - - - - - - - - - 0+1 - - 0+1 - - - - - - -

ROSS MOLONY 1233 20 FEB 15 - - - - - - - - - 64+52 4 20 62+37 4 20 2+15 - - 2 -

JOSH MURPHY 1261 3 NOV 17 - - - - - - - - - 42+7 5 25 41+6 4 20 1+1 1 5 9 -

JAMIE OSBORNE 1294 30 JAN 21 - - - - - - - - - 2+4 1 5 2+4 1 5 - - - 1 -

CONOR O'BRIEN 1260 3 NOV 17 - - - - - - - - - 16+7 6 30 16+6 6 30 0+1 - - 9 -

JIMMY O'BRIEN 1272 23 NOV 18 - - - - - - - - - 26+9 7 37 24+9 6 32 2 1 5 1 -

SEAN O'BRIEN 1297 12 MAR 21 - - - - - - - - - 0+2 - - 0+2 - - - - - - -

TOMMY O'BRIEN 1283 20 DEC 19 - - - - - - - - - 4+5 3 15 4+5 3 15 - - - 5 -

RORY O'LOUGHLIN 1248 2 SEP 16 - - - - - - - - - 64+23 21 105 57+15 18 90 7+8 3 15 30 IR 1

MAX O'REILLY 1291 2 JAN 21 - - - - - - - - - 6+1 1 5 6+1 1 5 - - - 6 -

SCOTT PENNY 1271 23 NOV 18 - - - - - - - - - 23+6 16 80 23+6 16 80 - - - 1 -

ANDREW PORTER 1246 2 SEP 16 - - - - - - - - - 28+49 11 55 23+30 8 40 5+19 3 15 2 IR 37

GARRY RINGROSE 1237 12 SEP 15 - - - - - - - - - 84+2 27 143 52+1 16 88 32+1 11 55 1 IR 34

RHYS RUDDOCK 1167 6 DEC 09 - - - - - - - - - 143+45 11 55 106+31 9 45 36+12 2 10 4 IR 27

JAMES RYAN 1259 2 SEP 17 - - - - - - - - - 44+6 3 15 22+1 1 5 22+5 2 10 10 IR 37

JOHNNY SEXTON 1127 27 JAN 06 - - - - - - - - - 148+25 26 1507 87+19 13 833 59+6 12 643 13 IR 99

DAN SHEEHAN 1286 23 OCT 20 - - - - - - - - - 3+10 6 30 3+10 6 30 - - - 5 -

ANDREW SMITH 1292 2 JAN 21 - - - - - - - - - 1+1 - - 1+1 - - - - - - -

ALEX SOROKA 1296 28 FEB 21 - - - - - - - - - 1+1 - - 1+1 - - - - - - -

DEVIN TONER 1128 27 JAN 06 - - - - - - - - - 206+60 4 20 140+42 4 20 63+18 - - 49 IR 70

JAMES TRACY 1211 4 NOV 12 - - - - - - - - - 57+72 14 70 50+44 13 65 7+28 1 5 2 IR 6

LIAM TURNER 1287 23 OCT 20 - - - - - - - - - 4+2 - - 4+2 - - - - - - -

JOSH VAN DER FLIER 1228 11 OCT 14 - - - - - - - - - 75+23 11 55 45+17 7 35 30+6 4 20 8 IR 32

2021/22 SEASON FOR LEINSTER LEINSTER CAREER

ALL GAMES URC EPCR ALL GAMES PRO14/URC EPCR OVERALL

KICKING

SUCCESS

RATE

C PG DG C PG DG C PG DG C PG DG C PG DG C PG DG ATT Career

%

- - - HARRY BYRNE - - - - - - - - - - 53 6 52 5 1 1 74 79.73%

ROSS BYRNE - - - - - - - - - - 196 75 1 154 50 1 42 25 - 354 76.55%

CIARAN FRAWLEY - - - - - - - - - - 51 7 - 48 7 - 3 - - 72 80.56%

DAVID HAWKSHAW - - - - - - - - - - 3 1 - 3 1 - - - - 6 66.67%

JIMMY O'BRIEN - - - - - - - - - - 1 - - 1 - - - - - 3 33.33%

GARRY RINGROSE - - - - - - - - - - 4 - - 4 - - - - - 6 66.67%

JOHNNY SEXTON - - - - - - - - - - 234 292 11 120 169 7 107 119 4 660 79.70%

www.leinsterrugby.ie | 47


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ig picture

10 September 2021

Jonathan Sexton lines up a

conversion as supporters look on

during the Bank of Ireland Pre-

Season Friendly match between

Leinster and Harlequins at Aviva

Stadium.

50 | www.leinsterrugby.ie


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U18 Men’s Schools Interprovincial

Championship winners

www.leinsterrugby.ie | 53


offical leinster

supporters club

The start of

the 2021/22

United Rugby

Championship

is upon us and

we for one

could not be

more excited

as we finally

get to ring

in the start

of another

season of

rugby and

what a season

it promises

to be!!

The United Rugby Championship

sees 16 teams in total going

to battle over the course of

18 regular rounds, before the

knock-out stages sometime next

summer but let’s not get ahead of

ourselves. All we want to see for

now is regularly scheduled games

and things are looking bright for

the coming months ahead so let’s

get down to business.

Last season saw a split competition due

to COVID restrictions however this season

sees all 16 teams pooled together for

what is sure to be some mouth-watering

games of rugby. Rugby fans for the most

part last season were unfortunately

unable to enjoy in person the spectacle

of games against our South African

counterparts, but this is not to be the

case this season and we look forward to

welcoming the Lions, Bulls, Stormers and

Sharks to either the RDS or the Aviva for

our scheduled games.

For this fixture, we’re temporarily

relocating up the road from the RDS to

Aviva stadium as restrictions continue

to ease, but given the pre-season fixture

against Harlequins, those in attendance

were able to see, feel and experience

the atmosphere and joy that a live fixture

brings and we know that this game will

be no exception. We know from previous

seasons that wherever the faithful Leinster

blue rock up to support the team, the

colour, noise and spectacle of it all is

never far behind.

Unlike last season when there were

unknowns around fixtures, restrictions and

everyday life in some parts, this season

is the pure focus of down to business

and rugby action and we know that all

at Leinster Rugby are looking forward

to this. Players, coaches, backroom and

admin staff have all worked tirelessly to

allow us get to this point and we ask that

we continue as we did in the pre-season

game and work with all parties to ensure

the participation at games goes on and

in time, increases in capacity until we hit

100 per cent and we’re back in the RDS.

By the time of this going to post, the

OLSC AGM will have taken place and

a new committee will be in place. The

previous committee worked tirelessly over

the past two seasons and rest assured

the new one will continue in the same

manner of working with Leinster Rugby in

the best interest of all supporters. There

was a break for the past short while on

social media but with the new season

upon us, this will ramp back up to its

usual levels and we ask that you connect

on as many platforms as you can in order

to ensure you’re up to date with all things

OLSC and Leinster Rugby.

For now though, enjoy the first scheduled

fixture of the season and make sure to

make some noise when the Boys in Blue

take to the field.

Yours in Rugby,

OLSC Committee

54 | www.leinsterrugby.ie


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GETTING

We check social media

for the latest views

and thoughts across

SOCIAL

the 12 counties

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Virtual Mascot

Aaron

Kelly

Age: 11

School: Willow Park

Class: Sixth class

Hobbies: Rugby, tennis and PlayStation

Favourite Player: Johnny Sexton

www.leinsterrugby.ie | 61


WHERE ARE

THEY NOW?

GAVIN HICKIE

THEN: The St

Mary's College

hooker played

43 times for

Leinster Rugby

between 2001

and 2005.

NOW: Gavin

lives with his

American wife

Jess and two

sons, Fionn

and Cian, in

Annapolis,

Maryland,

working as

Director of

Rugby for the

United States

Naval Academy.

62 | www.leinsterrugby.ie


“The rugby pitch is a very honest

place. You'll get your rewards

if you put in the work.” - Shane

Jennings.

When Gavin Hickie left Leinster Rugby

in 2005, this pearl of wisdom from his

teammate stayed there in his head,

through the rest of his playing journey

and on into his passion for coaching.

Deep down, he knew he had not made

the most of his time at Leinster. More of

that anon.

In 1999, there was a comical introduction

to life at Leinster when Hickie was caught

off-guard by a phone call from head

coach Mike Ruddock.

“It was a Welsh voice. I thought Mike

was a Kiwi. So, I thought it was a hoax,”

he admits.

“I rang my cousin Denis (Hickie) after it

and asked him, 'What's going on here?

Who's pulling my leg?'”

Cousin Denis set him straight and the

progress from St Mary's College, school

and club, to Leinster and Ireland Age

Grades was reinforced by his Leinster

debut against Ebbw Vale in the Celtic

League in 2001.

At the time, Peter Smyth was dealing with

a serious health problem. Shane Byrne

moved up to play for Ireland, leaving

Hickie to compete with David Blaney for

the number two shirt.

“It was a funny old time at Leinster. I had

four coaches between 2000 and 2005.

It was Ruddock, Matt Williams, Gary Ella

and Declan Kidney,” he says.

The revolving door of coaches did

not make for a consistent message as

different playing philosophies came and

went.

Even so, in hindsight, Hickie eventually

came to the realisation that the main fault

for being cut in 2005 lay with the man in

the mirror.

“When I look back at my rugby career,

I think I was very immature. I didn't

realise the opportunity I had in front of

me, the chance to impress so many new

coaches,” he says.

“That is probably why I admire the

maturity of the younger players these

days.”

The last experience left a bitter taste that

took years to fade from his palate.

“Declan Kidney came in, in my final year.

He had made me captain of the Irish

U-19s a few years earlier. For whatever

reason, we didn't see eye-to-eye.

“By the end of his first year, I was out and

he left. There were a lot of up-and-coming

players trying to make their names in the

game.

“Declan was always big on reminding

us that Leinster was our home, the

importance of being home. That

resonated with us. It was where we

came from, you know, Des Dillon, Brian

O'Riordan, Niall Treston, James Norton,

myself and others.

“In less than a year, he decided none

of us would have our contracts renewed

www.leinsterrugby.ie | 63


and, the same week, he said: 'By the

way, I am going back to my home in

Munster.'

“It didn't sit well with me. I made that

known to the team, as a whole, to Paul

McNaughton, the Team Manager, to

Mick Dawson, the Chief Executive.

“In hindsight, it was my fault. I wasn't

mature enough to realise the opportunity

I had. I look at the likes of Denis (Hickie),

Brian O'Driscoll and Gordon D'Arcy, oneteam

players for their careers.

“It doesn't work out that way for

everyone, for most people. I don't want to

sound bitter. I am at peace with it now. I

have been for years,” he adds.

“I was just too immature to understand

the significance of a good opportunity. I

certainly understand it now.”

That desire to prove Kidney wrong, to

stay in the game, led to a barrage of

emails – he didn't want an agent – to

“every club in Europe” and subsequent

stints at Wasps, London Irish, Worcester

Warriors and Leicester Tigers, winning a

Premiership title in 2007.

The main life lesson learned from eight

years in the professional game is based

on what he did not do when he was back

home at Leinster.

“Seize the opportunity,” I would say,

“you are not guaranteed anything in this

game. I am thrilled I have learned that

lesson. It means the world to me.

“I still carry a quote from my good friend

Shane Jennings, who always said: 'The

rugby pitch is a very honest place. You'll

get your rewards if you put in the work.'”

Jason Robinson effectively ended Hickie's

playing career, tearing his shoulder trying

to make a tackle on the England wing

legend in a Premiership game.

Advice from good friend Mike

McDonald, the US Eagles prop, led to an

opportunity to play in America.

In 2008, Hickie went to California to

play for three months with Belmont Shore

and has never really come home.

He fell in love with the place. He fell in

love with 'grassroots rugby' again and he

fell in love with his wife-to-be Jess.

It has been a very steep learning

curve coming from Ireland to

California, then to an Ivy League

Liberal Arts college and now to

a military academy.

In 2012, he moved from the west coast

to become head coach at Dartmouth

College in New Hampshire for five years.

Thereafter, the move to become the

Director of Rugby at the United States

Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland

has changed Hickie's perspective as a

coach and as a man.

“Genuinely, it is the greatest job in the

whole world. I love it so much,” he said.

“It has been a very steep learning curve

coming from Ireland to California, then

to an Ivy League Liberal Arts college and

now to a military academy.

“It is a place where we educate future

officers of the US Navy or the Marine

Corps. The whole school is about

developing leaders, morally, mentally

and physically. It's about developing

leaders who can ultimately win wars.”

The three main military academies

West Point in New York, the Air Force

Academy in Colorado and the Naval

Academy in Maryland are foundation

pieces of the United States military

machine.

“It is very difficult to get into all three

Academies. You have to be an incredibly

high academic achiever coming out of

high school,” notes Hickie.

“You need a nomination from your

congressional representative or a

Vice-Presidential nomination. If you

get in which is about an eight per cent

acceptance rate, you get a very highly

regarded education.

“The education is free education which,

by American standards, is something very

valuable, but in return, you owe at least

five years to military service after you

commission into the Fleet.”

64 | www.leinsterrugby.ie


From a pure rugby sense, this is the

perfect breeding ground for players. The

mindset is built around a dedication to

discipline, physical fitness, taking orders

and committing to a cause.

“There is a thing called the PRT, Physical

Readiness Test. There are 4,500

Midshipmen here - that is what the

students of the Naval Academy are

called.

“Every semester, the Midshipmen have

to run one-and-a-half miles in under

10-and-a-half minutes, they have to do a

minimum number of push-ups and timed

plank holds. Failing a PRT could see you

separated from the Naval Academy.

“The basis of life at the Academy is

physical fitness and expecting to win, two

important things here.”

Training to be officers, the Midshipmen

are contained within the walls of the

Naval Academy, except for the few times

per week they are granted liberty to

leave the grounds of the "Yard".

Their Commandant of the Midshipmen

must know where they are at all times.

Everyone within the Brigade must be

accounted for.

“I loved my five years at Dartmouth. But,

I would go to bed worrying about what

was happening at the 'frat house’,” says

Gavin.

“Here, there is none of that at all. The

attitude is 'Yes, sir! No, sir! How much

more can I do, sir?' From a coach's

perspective, it is a dream.”

Right now, Hickie has 60 players on the

men's squad, cut down from the 130 tryouts.

There are currently 85 women vying

for 63 places on the main roster.

“On a personal level, it wasn't that long

ago, I had massive aspirations to coach

at the highest level possible,” he states.

“I have been involved in almost all levels

of US Rugby, Collegiate All-Americans,

United States U-20s, U-23s and the

Select (A) Side. I had a passion to create

professional rugby players, get them to

the international stage and, one day,

work on that stage.

“I have changed in the last few years. I

believe I have a higher calling, without

sounding too cheesy, to try and create

better leaders through rugby at the

United States Naval Academy.

“These men and women are preparing

to protect the United States of America,”

he says.

“It is not about creating good players. It

is about creating great leaders. That is the

greatest challenge and greatest reward

of my job.

“These men and women will go on

to become Navy SEALs, Navy and

Marine Corps pilots, Nuclear Submarine

Specialists, Explosive Ordnance Disposal

(bomb disposal experts), the best of the

best.”

The desire to create a stable home

environment for Jess and their two sons

Fionn (three this month) and Cian (four

months) has also led to Hickie embracing

the long-term view in Annapolis.

“I am blessed to be in the position I am in

now. If I am still here in 20 years, I will be

the happiest person in the world.

“I certainly see the significance of

every day. It is a unique challenge and

opportunity I have.”

And he is seizing it.

www.leinsterrugby.ie | 65


Referees

Corner

BY DAN WALLACE

Welcome to another season. Hopefully

this year will be a lot different to last.

Our referees are delighted to be back out

on the pitch refereeing, as I am sure the

players are to be playing.

We were delighted to see 13 of

our referees in this season’s IRFU

National Panel. Our Leinster

Rugby Referee Development

Officer Seán Gallagher has

retired from refereeing and we

wish him continued success in his

role with the IRFU.

Leinster Rugby Referees are immensely

proud of the contribution that Seán

has made to our organisation and

refereeing as a whole.

The referees included are: Dermot

Blake, Andrew Cole, Nigel Correll, Paul

Haycock, Cillian Hogan, John Carvill,

Glenn Sheridan, John Flynn, Michael

Forrestal, Sam Holt, Paul O’Connor,

Padraic Reidy and Colm Roche.

The IPAS referees for this season are

Robbie Jenkinson, Kevin Beakey and

Katie Byrne. IPAS allows referees

from all the provinces to officiate at a

selected number of games across the

country. Collated assessments from

these games will determine who will be

promoted from the provincial ranks to

referee at national league level.

We had an excellent annual seminar

in August, held online and facilitated

by Sean Gallagher and Sam Holt. The

main discussion point for the season

was the new World Rugby Global Trial

Laws. There was a lot to take in, and

you will notice these coming into play at

tonight’s game.

Want to get

involved?

Feel free to make contact with the Leinster Rugby Referees

at hayley.whyte@leinsterrugby.ie. If you are interested

in becoming a referee get in contact with us through our

Facebook and Google + pages, our website www.arlb.ie

or through twitter @leinsterreferee.

66 | www.leinsterrugby.ie


So what are they?

Well, the following global law

trials apply to competitions

beginning on or after 1 August

2021.

50:22

If the team in possession kicks

the ball from inside their own

half indirectly into touch inside

their opponents’ 22, they will

throw into the resultant lineout.

The ball cannot be passed or

carried back into the defensive

half for the 50:22 to be played.

The phase must originate inside

the defensive half.

This is designed to encourage the

defensive team to put more players in

the backfield, thereby creating more

attacking space and reducing defensive

line speed.

Goal line drop-out

If the ball is held up in-goal, there

is a knock-on from an attacking

player in-goal or an attacking

kick is grounded by the

defenders in their own in-goal,

then play restarts with a goal

line drop-out anywhere along

the goal line.

The idea here is to encourage variety

in attacking play close to the goal line

and to increase ball in-play time by

replacing a scrum with a kick that must

be taken without delay. An opportunity

for counterattack is also created.

Flying wedge

To sanction the three person prebound

mini-scrum by redefining

the flying wedge

The intention is to reduce the number

of events where the ball carrier and

multiple support players are in contact

(latched) prior to contact, and to protect

the tackler who can be faced with

the combined force of three opposing

players.

One-player pre-latched

To recognise the potential for

one-player pre-latching prior

to contact, but this player must

observe all of the requirements

for a first arriving player,

particularly the need to stay on

their feet.

The intention here is to be more

consistent in the management of the oneperson

pre-latched player.

Cleanout and the safety of the jackler

To introduce a sanction for clean outs

which target or drop weight onto the

lower limbs. The idea here it to reduce

injury risk to the player being cleaned

out.

Want to know more? There are some

great videos on the World Rugby

website which cover all these new trials.

www.leinsterrugby.ie | 67


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U18 Men’s club Interprovincial

Championship winners

www.leinsterrugby.ie | 69


TO MAXIMISE YOUR SPORTS AND EXERCISE

PERFORMANCE THROUGH NUTRITION

Optimum Nutrition and Leinster Rugby have partnered to help share good nutrition tips throughout

the season to help you achieve your performance goals. Here are some simple tips and things to

remember to help maximise your performance and help you recover quickly to come back stronger.

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the building blocks to repair & grow.

Carb-Up.

Carbohydrate foods are king as they

power high intensity play.

Fuel-Up.

Consume the majority of your

carbohydrates around training to

support fuelling and recovery.

Recover.

Quality rest & nutrition between

training sessions is the key to

recovery. Remember to:

Repair with protein,

Refuel with carbohydrate,

Rehydrate with fluid.

Hydrate.

Dehydration can lead to a drop in

exercise intensity & can impact your

decision making. Drink 2-3 litres of

fluid each day to ensure hydration.

Game Day.

To fuel performance on the field,

consume a large carbohydrate rich

meal 2-3 hours before kick-off, i.e.

chicken & pasta, turkey bolognaise

wraps.

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KNOWING WHAT ADVICE TO TAKE

IS ESSENTIAL IN THIS GAME.

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OFFICIAL LEGAL ADVISOR

Beauchamps LLP | Riverside Two | Sir John Rogerson’s Quay | Dublin 2 | D02 KV60


Cardiac Risk

CRY

in

the Young

TEXT CRY TO 50300

TO DONATE €4

Texts cost €4.00 CRY Ireland will recieve a

minimum of €3.60 Service Provider: LIKECHARITY.

Helpline: 076 680 5278

About CRY

CRY in Ireland was founded in March 2002 by parents who had experienced the effects

of sudden and unexplained death within their families. We are a self-supporting

registered Charity.

We are therefore dependent on fundraising activities and donations to help us provide

access for families in Ireland, north and south, bereaved by the sudden cardiac death

of a young person, to free screening and emotional support services, in an empathetic

environment and to support Research into the prevention of sudden cardiac death.

Our Programmes

Clinical Assessment & Management Programme

CRY provides access to free cardiac assessment

at its Centre at Tallaght University Hospital,

Dublin for families who have lost a young person

through SCD or SADS (Sudden arrhythmic

death syndrome), or who are affected by, or

at risk from, inherited conditions that cause

SCD. Comprehensive cardiac investigations are

performed, and results are discussed at a single

visit.

Cardiac Risk

CRY

in

the Young

Family Support Programme

This Programme offers emotional support to

families, bereaved through Sudden Cardiac Death,

by providing the CRY Helpline a freephone service

available 7-9pm Tuesdays and Thursdays and

4-6pm Sundays.

FREEPHONE:

Republic of Ireland: 1800 714 080

Northern Ireland/UK: 00 44 8006 40 62 80

For more see our website www.cry.ie

If you wish to help in any way, to

assist us fundraise or partake in

some of the planned events to raise

vital funds for CRY please contact

us at info@cry.ie.

@CRYIre

@cryireland

@cry.ireland

CRY Ireland is an autonomous charitable legal entity, entirely separate

from Tallaght University Hospital. Registered Charity No. 14506

Proudly supported by BearingPoint


CRY

Cardiac Risk

in

the Young

KEVIN O’Flynn was a fit, healthy 34-year-old.

He enjoyed running and playing soccer, playing fivea-side

with friends and work colleagues at least once

a week.

And like many young men who lead active lives, the

subtle signs that something could be wrong gave no

immediate cause for worry. When he started to feel

more tired than usual during the weekly kick-about,

he put it down to getting older. The palpitations he

was having at night, the ones that sometimes kept

him awake, were cast aside as a side effect of drinking

too much coffee.

Then, on July 27th, 2015, half way through a soccer

game in his hometown of Fermoy, Kevin collapsed

on the pitch. Ten days later, surrounded by his family,

he passed away in Cork University Hospital. Kevin

died from a Sudden Cardiac death as a result of an

undiagnosed heart condition called Hypertrophic

Cardiomyopathy.

“There was absolutely no history of this in the

family,” said his brother Shane.

“It came as such as shock because he was

extremely active and very healthy. We could not

believe this had happened to our family.”

In trying to understand what had happened to his

younger brother, Shane’s internet search brought him

to CRY Ireland. The charity offers cardiac assessment,

counselling and bereavement support services to

those affected by cardiac conditions or to those that

have lost a loved one to sudden cardiac death.

“When this happens to someone you love it’s just

absolute disbelief,” said Shane.

“You are trying to figure out, ‘Why did this happen?

how could this happen to such a fit guy?’ You are

searching for information and answers its only now,

through CRY that I can understand exactly how it can

happen. It happens to so many people. There are

people out there now and people who will be reading

this that possibly have a heart condition and they

don’t even know it.”

In June last year, Danish footballer Christian Eriksen

collapsed during Denmark’s opening Euro 2020

game with Finland and needed to be resuscitated

on the pitch. Erikson made a full recovery and had

a cardioverter defibrillator implanted. Shane said the

incident bore striking similarities to what happened

to Kevin.

Shane O’ Flynn (left) with his brother Kevin.

“It was exactly the same situation,” he said.

“The difference was that that Erikson had doctors,

paramedics, defibrillators and everyone around him.

It was amazing to see. With Kevin, unfortunately those

people were not around him and the lads that were

with him were in total shock. It took about 10 to 15

minutes to get a defibrillator to him from a nearby

leisure centre. He was able to keep going for ten days

in hospital and we take solace from having that time

with him. We were able to say goodbye.”

CRY Ireland strongly recommends that cardiac

assessments are carried out for those families who

are affected by Sudden Cardiac Death.

“At the time we weren’t aware that CRY offered the

screening service, so we got ours done privately,” said

Shane.

“Thankfully the screening didn’t show anything

unusual, and it gave us piece of mind. I know that the

screening service CRY runs in Tallaght has provided

the same piece of mind for other families.”

Since contacting Kevin’s death, the O ‘Flynn family

have raised thousands of euros through fundraising

in his name. The money was used to purchase the

first defibrillator for the town of Fermoy, where Kevin

grew up.

“It’s charities like CRY that help raise awareness of

sudden cardiac death,” said Shane.

“Kevin was young, fit and healthy but he had a

condition he didn’t know about. For us as a family,

we want to do all we can to prevent another death

like Kevin’s. It’s the way we honour his memory.”

www.leinsterrugby.ie | 73


1938 - 2019

COUNTRY

SOUTH AFRICA

HOME GROUND

LOFTUS VERSFELD

FOUNDED

1938

Bulls News

Currie Cup Final

Vodacom Bulls 44

Cell C Sharks 10

WORDS: BULLSRUGBY.CO.ZA

A dominant performance by the Vodacom Bulls ensured

that they successfully defended the Carling Currie Cup

with an emphatic 44-10 victory over the Cell C Sharks

at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday, 11 September.

The Vodacom Bulls, who went into

the 2021 Carling Currie Cup final

as defending champions, showed

their intentions in the early stages

of the match when they went

ahead 19-3 at half-time after

a good attack, which resulted

in three tries in the opening 40

minutes, and solid defensive sets.

The home side accelerated their efforts in

the second half by scoring a further three

tries and two penalties to put the game

out of the visitors’ reach.

POINTS SCORERS

VODACOM BULLS (19) 44

TRIES: Harold Vorster, Lionel Mapoe,

Marcell Coetzee, Janko Swanepoel, Zak

Burger, Cornal Hendricks

CONVERSIONS: Chris Smith (4)

PENALTIES: Smith (2)

CELL C SHARKS (3) 10

TRY: Thomas du Toit

CONVERSION: Curwin Bosch

PENALTY: Bosch

The victory for the Vodacom Bulls was

the first back-to-back title win in 17 years,

with the Tshwane-based side also adding

their name to the history books with

the largest winning margin in a Carling

Currie Cup final.

Vodacom Bulls director of rugby, Jake

White, expressed his satisfaction after the

game: “I am very happy with the result.

I’m quite happy with the performances

in the last two weeks, and the definite

progression in our game.

“We were spot on with our conditioning

and play. We have to give credit to the

coaches, the conditioning team, the

players and everyone involved. We are

really happy to finish on a high note.

74 | www.leinsterrugby.ie


Vodacom

Bulls Name

Touring

Squad

The Vodacom

Bulls begin

a fourweek

tour

in Ireland,

continue to

Wales and end

in Scotland

for their

opening

fixtures of

the Vodacom

United Rugby

Championship.

Vodacom Bulls director of rugby,

Jake White, has announced a 37-

man squad for the overseas trip.

Springbok hooker, Bismarck du Plessis,

who joined the side earlier this month,

will be a noticeable inclusion to the

squad that will also see the return

of Johan Goosen, who missed the

final of the domestic Carling Currie

Cup. Also in the travelling party,

following a full recovery from

injury, is scrum half Embrose

Papier and Sintu Manjezi.

“We have a long and tough

URC season ahead, and it will

be important how we manage

our squad going forward.

Equally, it is important that we

continue building on the winning

culture we are creating at the

Vodacom Bulls, so it is imperative that

we utilize our experienced workhorses

and our exciting youngsters,” said

White.

“We are looking forward to a highly

competitive opening four fixtures

against Leinster, Connacht, Cardiff and

Edinburgh – all quality opposition. All

participating teams will be looking to

start the season on a high note, and it is

no different for us.”

Check page 77 for full squad

details…

www.leinsterrugby.ie | 75


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Director of Rugby

Jake

White

Jake White is a well-known face

in the coaching box having guided

the Springboks to Rugby World

Cup success in 2007, defeating

England 15-6 in the final in Paris.

Following that win, he took up a position

on the technical committee of the IRB

before returning to coaching with

Brumbies in 2012.

He has also had spells with Sharks,

Tonga, Montpellier and Toyota Verblitz

before returning to South Africa to take

the Bulls hotseat in 2020.

Captain

Marcell

Coetzee

The Vodacom Bulls captain is no

stranger to these shores having

spent five years in the north with

Ulster Rugby from 2016 until

earlier this year.

Capped 30 times by the Springboks,

Coetzee returned home to South Africa,

signing with the Bulls in June after

finishing as joint top try-scorer in the

PRO14 and winner of the Players’ Player

of the Season award.

Originally from Potchefstroom in the

North West Province, he has also

represented Sharks and Honda Heat.

The Vodacom Bulls touring

group, by position:

PROPS:

1. Lizo Gqoboka

(ABE Midas Naka Bulle)

2. Simphiwe Matanzima

(ABE Midas Naka Bulle)

3. Gerhard Steenekamp

(ABE Midas Naka Bulle)

4. Mornay Smith

Betway Centurion)

5. Jacques van Rooyen

(Tuine)

6. Robert Hunt

(Harlequins)

HOOKERS:

7. Bismarck du Plessis

(Betway Centurion)

8. Jan-Hendrik Wessels

(U20)

9. Joe van Zyl

(Harlequins)

10. Sidney Tobias

(Northam)

11. Schalk Erasmus

(Tuine)

LOCKS:

12. Walt Steenkamp

(Betway Centurion)

13. Sintu Manjezi

(Harlequins)

14. Reinhardt Ludwig

(U20)

15. Ruan Nortje

(ABE Midas Naka Bulle)

16. Janko Swanepoel

(Pretoria)

LOOSE-FORWARDS:

17. Arno Botha

(ABE Midas Naka Bulle)

18. Marcell Coetzee

(ABE Midas Naka Bulle)

19. Jacques du Plessis

(FNB Tuks)

20. Muller Uys

(FNB Tuks)

21. Elrigh Louw

(FNB Tuks)

22. WJ Steenkamp

(Tuine)

SCRUMHALVES:

23. Zak Burger

(Tuine)

24. Embrose Papier

(FNB Tuks)

25. Marco Jansen van Vuren

(Pretoria)

26. Keagan Johannes

(FNB Tuks)

FLYHALVES:

27. Johan Goosen

(ABE Midas Naka Bulle)

28. Chris Smith

(Harlequins)

CENTRES:

29. Cornal Hendricks

(Northam)

30. Harold Vorster

(Northam)

31. Lionel Mapoe

(Pretoria)

32. Stedman Gans

(Northam)

OUTSIDE BACKS:

33. Kurt-Lee Arendse

(Betway Centurion)

34. Madosh Tambwe

(Pretoria)

35. Stravino Jacobs

(Harlequins)

36. Ruan Combrinck

(Tuine)

37. David Kriel

(Betway Centurion)

www.leinsterrugby.ie | 77


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Club in Focus

MU Barnhall

Location! Location! Location!

The mantra of the property pundits among us

is as true today as it ever has been. There are

those who would move heaven and, especially,

earth to build in the right place.

MU Barnhall has always realised

that its location, situated in a

burgeoning area, would lend

itself to establishing a thriving

rugby club where the many

local, rapidly growing towns are

serviced by the sport.

The venue is readily accessible, close

to the M50, M4 and N7 motorways. It

means a reasonable commute even for

those in other provinces. Most notably

though is the carpet-like playing facilities,

which have been maintained by long

term club legend Christy Dunne.

“You look at Barnhall as a club with

the great car and bus parking facilities,

one of the best-kept, best-playing grass

surfaces in Ireland,” says club stalwart

Peter Black.

“We didn't go with astro. We stayed

with the natural grass pitch and it is

unbelievable. Beside that, we've got

the second pitch which is great for

Interprovincial warm-ups.

“There are great views for supporters.

There is a nice clubhouse, an all-purpose

gym, eight changing rooms, two first-class

AIL standards.”

The fruitful partnership with Maynooth

University only further enhances this

prospect and the future ambitions

to continue building towards a club

competing at the highest levels of

both the male and female games are

attainable.

Recently, the Age Grade Interprovincials

came to a conclusion at MU Barnhall’s

grounds at Parsonstown. It didn't happen

by accident.

“We have always tried to be a

progressive community club, building

steadily,” stresses Peter.

“We have made ourselves open to the

Leinster Branch and the IRFU to come to

us at relatively short notice to host Age

Grade, U-20s and senior representative

rugby because we have the ability to

move club games to wonderful facilities

under lights at Maynooth University.”

It is about visibility, winning and keeping

the trust of the Leinster Branch and the

IRFU, putting on a good show for the

provinces and the guests that come to

the club.

“From a player point of view, we have

Interprovincials at many different levels,”

he says.

“If you are playing Interpro rugby, but

not at the RDS or the Aviva, wouldn't you

want to run out at your home club playing

for your province? We've got that now.

“There is no point in locals coming to

MU Barnhall rugby club if no one on the

Leinster squad is from the club.

“When people found out the U-18 Girls

were playing in Barnhall, there was a

80 | www.leinsterrugby.ie


huge interest in seeing Emma Tilly, just

one girl. It is a real community club and

the local support is unbelievable.

“As a club, we are seen in a really good

light by Leinster and the other provinces

when we host. It is the ultimate stamp of

approval as a well-organised, well-run

club.

“It is also to give back to our players,

who are making those squads. They can

run out from their home club onto the first

pitch in MU Barnhall in the blue shirt of

Leinster.”

The long-term plan for the club and the

rugby programme, linked to Maynooth

University, is to attract players in. Then,

the position of the club in the men’s and

women’s AIL can make it appealing for

them to stay.

The emergence of women’s rugby has

been a major catalyst for growth.

When Ireland international Eve Higgins

came down to the club to play rugby,

there were no girls minis at that stage, so

she played with the boys.

The latent talent Eve showed prompted

the club to set up a girls youths team to

provide an outlet for her and to see what

others were out there.

When Eve moved away to play with

Railway Union, the club realised it had

to put the pillars in place to do what they

could to prevent it from happening again.

The work has been put in to develop Girls

squads at U-18, U-16 and U-14, some

senior players being drawn back into

coaching.

www.leinsterrugby.ie | 81


Then, of course, Tom McKeown has

spearheaded the addition of women

to the rugby programme between

Maynooth and Barnhall, thus MU

Barnhall.

The women have delivered on the time

invested in them, moving up from Division

3 to qualify for Division 1 of the Leinster

League just before Covid struck in 2019.

There will be no entry into the All-Ireland

League until 2022, at the earliest, and,

at the moment, that is awarded through

an application to play rather than the

desired promotion-relegation system.

Barnhall prides itself on being a

‘University Rugby Club’, belonging to its

communities. This is brought to life by the

extensive local schools and community

engagements through larger than life

Club Community Rugby Officer Luke

Ingleton, operating on behalf of the

club and Leinster Rugby in a strategic

way to bring rugby to those who maybe

wouldn’t get to experience it.

AIL status would grant MU Barnhall the

profile to hold onto their best women

82 | www.leinsterrugby.ie


We have worked

hard to produce

all these

Interprovincial

players and

the club took

the opinion

of pushing

to host the

Interprovincials.

players and attract even more quality to

the scholarship programme in Maynooth.

The same goes for the youths and the

adult men’s teams with MU Barnhall

located in Division 2A of the AIL.

“At Age Grade levels, we started to see

more boys and girls being selected for

trials and extended squads,” says Black.

“In 2018, we saw Holly Leach making

the Leinster Women's U-18 squad, the

first Age Grade interpro from the club.

This year, you had Emma Tilly playing

for them.

“At senior level this year, we had three

girls for the Leinster squad, Holly,

Katelynn Doran and Ciara Faulkner, one

for Connacht, Orlaith Murray, and one

for Ulster, Ava Fannin.

“For the boys, Keith Farrell made the

Leinster U-18 Clubs this season. David

Dooley was at inside centre for the

Leinster U-19s. At U-16s, we had nine

boys screened and involved in the Metro

U-17 squad, namely Gavin Keane, Dylan

Hewitt, Ethan Fennell, Sean Kearney,

Ruaidhri Smith, Edgar Kucinskas, Hugh

Donegan, Adam Gray and Mar Cleary.

There has been a steady, consistent

growth that has suddenly exploded.

“We have worked hard to produce all

these Interprovincial players and the club

took the opinion of pushing to host the

Interprovincials.”

In addition, the club is working with

Kildare County Council to further develop

Lough na Mona, an eight-acre site, on

which they trained during the lockdown.

The University rugby programme

produced its first Ireland U-20 player

since the club-university partnership’s

inception with Will Reilly playing at

scrum-half during the belated U-20 Six

Nations campaign.

He has built on this honour by earning

a place in the Connacht Academy. He

Left: Peter Black; Middle: Barry Smith; Right: Tom McKeown.

joined the University programme from

Portlaoise RFC and his trajectory is

certainly a success story many school

leavers are taking note of.

“The way the IRFU structures AIL rugby

and national players, the players coming

out of Age Grade rugby, they have to

play in the top tier of AIL rugby, the likes

of Lansdowne, Clontarf.”

The plan is to make it to that elite tier of

AIL rugby.

“The development of the women’s game,

our increase in Age Grade Interpros,

both boys and girls, and our partnership

with Maynooth University puts the club in

a strong position to build towards the top

tier in the AIL, thus enabling us to keep

the players we develop.

“We don't want to lose the Eve Higgins’,

the Holly Leeches, the Emma Tillys, the

Will Reillys, the David Dooleys.”

They are doing all they can to make that

happen.

www.leinsterrugby.ie | 83


IRFU U19 Men’s Interprovincial

Championship

www.leinsterrugby.ie | 85


86 | www.leinsterrugby.ie


Brian

Deeny

THE ACADEMY

INTERVIEW

BY RYAN CORRY

It was a

quiet summer

for Leinster

Rugby Academy

second row

Brian Deeny,

two weeks of

holidays, time

spent back

at home in

Wexford with

family.

During that time, he dug in around

the house, helping his parents

with work, something he’s no

stranger to having grown up in

a BnB in the middle of Wexford

town.

But, all the while he was helping out at

home, there was a solitary mindset to

him, as he counted down the days before

he could get back to UCD where the

province’s Academy are based training

alongside the senior team.

It had been 19 months since his last game

of rugby, Ireland’s third round of the

2020 U-20 Six Nations Championship,

a 39-21 win for Ireland over England at

Northampton Saints’ Franklin’s Gardens,

a third win on the bounce and a good

shot at back-to-back Grand Slams for

Noel McNamara’s men.

First, there was Covid, and then an ACL

injury that would take his 2020/21

campaign away from him. It’s been a

difficult journey but one that reached

a happy ending in Aviva Stadium on

Friday, 10 September.

Deeny lined out in the second row as

Leinster took on Gallagher Premiership

champions Harlequins in a Bank of

Ireland pre-season friendly, his first

taste of senior action with the

province.

“Even though it was a friendly game,

I was so nervous. I was just trying to

visualise to make sure that the feelings

I would be having on the day, that it

wouldn’t be the first time that I would

have those in the stadium,” Deeny

explains.

www.leinsterrugby.ie | 87


RUGBY

YOU KNOW BETTER

BECAUSE YOU GET

Official Media Partner of Leinster Rugby


“I did sort of let the emotion get the best

of me for the first five minutes when I

walked out into the Aviva. I think once

I made the first tackle, got the first hit, I

kind of got to grips with things.”

On the night, he was joined by both Max

Deegan and Conor O’Brien, also making

returns from serious injuries that had seen

them absent from the action throughout

the majority of the previous campaign.

A shared experience for the three of

them – one none of them wanted to have

but were the better for having it together.

Deeny emphasises the input of those

teammates and the support system within

the backroom team as being a major

boost.

“I think all of us did our ACLs in the

space of like a month so we were going

through the same journey. You’d never

wish it on anyone but it made it easier for

each of us because we could bounce off

each other and let each other know how

the knees were feeling on a day-to-day

basis,” he adds.

“And then when we were playing in the

game, the fact that all three of us were

playing our first game, it made things a

lot easier. I was so happy to play with

them and have the three of us come back

together at the same time. It was a really

special moment for myself.

“Darragh (Curley) was my physio. There’s

such a great staff in Leinster Rugby, and

then in terms of physios and S&Cs, they

just make it so much easier when you’re

coming in every day. They can probably

recognise when you’re having a shit day

and they’ll have the laugh with you.

“It makes the whole thing more

enjoyable, Darragh definitely made

my process as easy as possible. I was

working with Joe (McGinley) then for

S&C to strengthen up my quad and my

hamstrings to help come back as fast

as possible. I had Gordon (Brett) then

towards the end and I thought both of

them equally helped me as much as

possible.”

The ‘shit days’.

Post-op, no light at the end of the tunnel,

just crutches or knee braces, and

watching your teammates go out and do

what you wish you still could.

How does a young player trying to eke

out a career in the professional game

overcome that obstacle?

“I didn’t really come to terms with it. The

first three months, you’re so pro-active,

getting better and focusing on the injury

and until you experience a long-term

injury, you don’t fully understand how

dark it can get,” Deeny says.

“It’s very lonely when you’re coming in

and doing rehab by yourself, you’re not

actually training with the lads. It can get

quite lonely. That lasted for about two

months in the middle while you come to

terms with it then.

“But after that when I could see the light

at the end of the tunnel, close to coming

www.leinsterrugby.ie | 89


ack running and training, everything fell

into place then and I was really happy

with how things went.”

“Usually when you have a long-term

injury like that, they encourage you to

focus on something outside of rugby. I

deferred my second year in college so

I did half a semester the year of my Six

Nations, and deferred the second half.

“The first six months of my injury, I didn’t

have any college so I couldn’t focus on

that and then with Covid and the social

distancing, I couldn’t see anyone except

for the lads I was living with which was

hard as well. I couldn’t go home and see

my family.”

Once his own inner will made the

first steps, from there it was family, the

physios, the teammates, the rehabilitators

and the coaches who made sure that the

extra yards would follow.

“I couldn’t have had a better experience

through that. I’ve had friends who have

done ACLs in other sports and I’m so

lucky that I’ve had the help I had in

Leinster, coming in doing physio and

S&C. I’m very grateful and understand

how lucky I am to be in this situation.”

So what’s next? Deeny is now in his third

year in the Academy, and will be looking

to continue building on his recovery from

injury, taking every step possible away

from that nightmare few months.

“It’s tough for anyone to try and impress.

Training is so competitive and so hard, if

everyone is going to impress, it’d be hard

but I think the coaches see the amount of

effort that goes in.

“I’m just hoping to stay as available as I

can and get as much gametime as I can

whether that’s with the seniors or the ‘A’s

or in the AIL. I’ve missed a lot of matches

so coming back and playing as much as I

can is the goal for this year.”

And for a young second row, you could

do far worse than to be working under

the tutelage of Leinster head coach Leo

Cullen, a decorated lock in his own

career, captaining the province to three

Heineken Cup titles before later winning

it as a head coach. He also racked up

32 Ireland caps and won a Premiership

medal in his time with Leicester Tigers.

Sharing a dressing room, there’s also

Devin Toner, Leinster’s most-capped

player after overtaking Gordon D’Arcy’s

record on the day the province won a

fourth PRO14 title in a row in April 2021.

“If you’re looking for advice or have any

questions from a second row point of

view, or at the set-piece, lineout or scrum,

their answers are the best ones you’re

going to get. It’s very helpful to have

the likes of them to help along the way,”

Deeny states.

“A lot of the lads are Ireland

internationals but I’m just focusing on

learning as much as I can from the lads

that are there and trying to train to the

best of my abilities. The competition

brings out the best in everyone because

there’s such an amount of talent in

Leinster. It is hard but it’s very enjoyable.”

Off the field, he’s returned to his studies

after the deferral. Previously doing

Biomedical Science in Trinity College,

Deeny has now transferred to UCD

where he will specialise in Physiology,

something that goes hand-in-hand with

the life of a modern athlete.

“Because we’re training and working

in UCD, I transferred there this year

so I’m doing Biomedical Science but

specialising in Physiology this year. When

you’re coming out of school, nobody

really knows what they want to do. I was

interested in science in school, from a

young age, I was interested in how the

body works and how the systems interact

with each other.

“It was either Physiology or Zoology and

then Physiology won out. For the first two

years of college, I enjoyed those modules

the most.”

So, back fit and back in the books. Deeny

will be hoping that this season is a busier

one for him both on and off the field.

However, he still doesn’t view the last

90 | www.leinsterrugby.ie


season as a year lost. It’s simply one

that happened. The next one is always

the most important – and this time the

motivation is greater than ever.

“I was more just frustrated because I

couldn’t play. I don’t know was it a year

lost but I was just trying to focus on the

positives throughout the whole thing and

just try to get back as quickly as possible.

“Because there weren’t that many games,

I didn’t miss as much as I would have if

Covid wasn’t there, the other Academy

lads, they weren’t playing ‘A’ games,

weren’t playing AIL. It made things worse

but made me miss less. It was a long,

heavy process but it’s doable.

“It made things harder but, I suppose,

going through that rocky road, and with

every restriction that’s lifted, I appreciate

it so much, my friends and family, college,

all that. I probably have a bit more drive

now because I know what it’s like when

it’s taken away from you.”

www.leinsterrugby.ie | 91


Leinster Rugby Academy

Year Three 2021/22:

Leinster Rugby Academy

Year two 2021/22:

Second Row

Brian Deeny

DOB: 02/03/2000

HEIGHT: 1.99m WEIGHT: 121kg

HONOURS: Ireland U20 (8 caps)

Did You Know: Brian played youth rugby with Wexford

Wanderers RFC. He got his first Irish cap playing for

Ireland Under-18 Sevens. Brian played midfield for

his school St Peter’s College in Gaelic football and

reached the All-Ireland Colleges Final in 2017. He is

currently studying Science in Trinity and lives in Abbey

House B&B, Wexford...if you are looking for a room?!

Instagram: brian_deeny

wing

Niall Comerford

DOB: 06/04/2000

HEIGHT: 1.83m WEIGHT: 86kg

HONOURS: Ireland U20

Did You Know: Niall played both hurling and Gaelic

football with Kilmacud Crokes for 14 years. He also

represented Dublin in Gaelic football in the U17

Leinster Championship. He is currently studying

Commerce in UCD.

Instagram: niall_c123

Cormac Foley #1299

DOB: 24/10/1999

HEIGHT: 1.81m WEIGHT: 88kg

HONOURS: Ireland U20 (9 caps)

& Leinster Rugby (1 cap)

Marcus Hanan #1295

DOB: 03/10/2000

HEIGHT:1.8m WEIGHT:110.91kg

HONOURS: Leinster Rugby (3 caps)

Scrum Half

Did You Know: Started playing rugby with Greystones

RFC when he was nine. Growing up, Cormac did a lot

of show jumping and he is now studying Economics and

Finance in UCD.

Instagram: cormacfoley6

prop

Back Row

Martin Moloney #1300

DOB: 19/10/1999

HEIGHT: 1.88m WEIGHT: 99kg

HONOURS: Ireland U20 (5 caps) &

Leinster Rugby (1 cap)

Did You Know: Martin played hurling for Kildare and

played GAA and basketball for his secondary school,

Knockbeg College, and local GAA club, St Laurence’s.

He played his youth rugby with Athy RFC. He is now

studying Business and Law in UCD, He also enjoys

working on the family farm. Instagram: martin_moloney

Second Row

Joe McCarthy

DOB: 26/03/2001

HEIGHT: 1.95m WEIGHT: 119kg

HONOURS: Ireland U20 (3 caps)

Did You Know: Joe started playing rugby with Blackrock

College RFC at the age of six before moving to

Willow Park and then Blackrock College. He was also

on the Blackrock swim team for five years. He’s currently

studying Global Business in Trinity College Dublin.

Instagram: joetmmcc

Second Row

Charlie Ryan

DOB: 03/02/1999

HEIGHT: 2.01m WEIGHT: 115kg

HONOURS: Ireland U20 (15 caps)

Did You Know: Charlie played youth rugby at Blackrock

College RFC while also attending the school since

Senior Infants. He captained Ireland to the U20 Grand

Slam in 2019 and again for the U20s World Cup. His

friends call him Chuck! He is currently studying Business

and Legal Studies in UCD.

Instagram: chuck_ryan5

hooker

John McKee

DOB: 15/02/2000

HEIGHT: 1.82m WEIGHT: 105kg

HONOURS: Ireland U20 (12 caps)

Did You Know: John grew up in Belfast going to school

at Campbell College where he won a Senior Cup. He

was involved with Ulster at age grade level until moving

to Dublin after school. He also has multiple medals

from Northern Irish Schools Judo competitions.

Instagram: johnmckee_

Centre

Liam Turner #1287

DOB: 14/07/1999

HEIGHT: 1.73m WEIGHT: 91kg

HONOURS: Ireland U20 (10 caps)

& Leinster Rugby (6 caps)

Did You Know: Liam started to play rugby at the age

of six at Blackrock College RFC. He later joined

Blackrock College and was part of the 2018 Senior Cup

winning team. He was also part of the Ireland U20 team

that went on to win the 2019 Grand Slam. Liam currently

studys BESS in Trinity College. Instagram: liamtn123

Centre / Full Back

Jamie Osborne #1294

DOB: 16/11/2001

HEIGHT:1.93m WEIGHT:96.82kg

HONOURS: Leinster Rugby (6 caps)

92 | www.leinsterrugby.ie


Seán O’Brien #1297

Lee Barron

DOB: 31/07/2000

HEIGHT: 1.90m WEIGHT: 103kg

HONOURS: Ireland U20 (3 caps)

& Leinster Rugby (2 caps)

DOB: 15/02/2001

HEIGHT: 1.91m WEIGHT: 108kg

Back Row

Did You Know: Seán started playing rugby at age

six with Greystones RFC where he played up until Under-13.

He then played on the Junior and Senior Cup

teams in Blackrock College. He is currently studying

Economics and Finance in UCD

Instagram: seanobrien456

Hooker

Did You Know: Lee played golf growing up in the

Castle Golf Club and in the end was playing off a

handicap of eight. He has family roots in Carlow but

went to school in Dublin and attended St Michael’s College.

As well as rugby with his school, he also played

GAA and even lined out in Croke Park.

Max O’Reilly #1291

Chris Cosgrave

Full Back

DOB: 26/02/2000

HEIGHT: 1.85m WEIGHT: 86kg

HONOURS: Ireland U20 (3 caps) &

Leinster Rugby (7 caps)

Did You Know: Max is currently in his third year of

Business and Management in DIT. His preferred sport

was soccer until about the age of 15, which he had

played at centre midfield with Enniskerry FC for over 10

years and also for Wicklow.

Instagram: max_oreilly

full back

DOB: 24/07/2001

HEIGHT:1.83m WEIGHT:85kg

Did You Know: Chris is a member of UCD RFC, where

he is also an Ad Astra scholar studying Agricultural

Science. His athleticism is best highlighted by his feats

in the field of Athletics with All-Ireland honours to his

name in both the 4x100m relay and the Discus. Before

the UCD and St Michael’s College days, he played at

a young age with Old Belvedere RFC.

Andrew Smith #1292

Mark Hernan

DOB: 21/07/2000

HEIGHT: 1.83m WEIGHT: 91kg

HONOURS: Ireland U20 (3 caps) &

Leinster Rugby (2 caps)

DOB: 04/07/2000

HEIGHT: 1.88m WEIGHT: 99kg

Back Three

Did You Know: Andrew is currently studying Quantity

Surveying and Construction Economics in TUD. In

2019, he won the Leinster Schools Senior Cup with St

Michael’s College. Andrew also played Gaelic football

with his local club - Clanna Gael Fontenoy GAA Club.

Instagram: andrew.sm1th

Flanker

Did You Know: Mark was coached by Ross Molony,

Josh Murphy, Ross Byrne and Nick McCarthy when in

St. Michael’s College. His grandfather Fergus O’Brien

was Lord Mayor of Dublin and his father, Ray, played

for Connacht seniors and Ireland u25s.

Alex Soroka #1296

Temi Lasisi

Back Row

DOB: 19/02/2001

HEIGHT: 1.95m WEIGHT: 104.5kg

HONOURS: Ireland U20 (2 caps)

& Leinster Rugby (2 caps)

Did You Know: Alex’s family moved to Ireland from

Ukraine shortly before his birth. He was born in Cork

before moving to Dublin.

Instagram: alex._.soroka

prop

DOB: 09/05/2001

HEIGHT: 1.78m WEIGHT: 115.8kg

Did You Know: The TUD Mechanical Engineering

student originally picked up the oval ball in Enniscorthy

before later moving to Lansdowne FC. Temi rose

through the ranks in the Youths system, his first outing

with the province came at U-18 level against Northampton.

He also describes himself as a ‘competent

pianist’.

Ben Murphy

DOB: 23/04/2001

HEIGHT: 1.75m WEIGHT: 80kg

Leinster Rugby Academy

Year one 2021/22:

Scrum half

Did You Know: Ben played all different sports growing

up including football, GAA and golf and won an 800m

gold in the U-14 East Leinsters. He is studying economics

in UCD. Ben’s father Richie played for Leinster

Rugby and has coached at all levels of the game and is

the current Ireland U-20s head coach.

Jack Boyle

DOB: 10/03/2002

HEIGHT: 1.85m WEIGHT: 106kg

Rob Russell

DOB: 13/01/1999

HEIGHT: 1.83m WEIGHT: 90kg

Prop

Did You Know: UCD Commerce student Jack is also

one of the college’s Ad Astra Scholars. Outside of rugby,

he’s also accomplished in Athletics, winning bronze

in both the hammer throw and long jump at Leinster

Schools level. His first memory of rugby is walking out

at the RDS Arena as team mascot beside then captain

Leo Cullen for the clash with Scarlets in 2008.

Full Back / Wing

Did You Know: Rob is currently in his final year of

Business and Management in DIT. He started playing

rugby at the age of five with Wanderers RFC. He also

played football up to minor level with Kilmacud Crokes

and it took priority over rugby until he left school.

www.leinsterrugby.ie | 93


Date

KO/

Result

25/09 17:15 URC VODACOM

BULLS

03/10 14:00 URC DRAGONS

Opposiotion Venue 15 14 13 12 11 10 9 1 2

Aviva

Stadium

Rodney

Parade

09/10 13:00 URC ZEBRE RDS Arena

fixtures and

results 2021/22

16/10 17:15 URC SCARLETS RDS Arena

22/10 19:35 URC GLASGOW Scotstoun

Stadium

27/11 20:00 URC ULSTER RDS Arena

03/12 19:45 URC CONNACHT RDS Arena

10/11/12

Dec

17/18/19

Dec

TBC

HCC BATH

TBC HCC MONTPELLIER

26/12 19:35 URC MUNSTER

01/01 19:35 URC ULSTER

Aviva

Stadium

GGL (Altrad)

Stadium

Thomond

Park

Kingspan

Stadium

07/01 19:35 URC SIGMA LIONS RDS Arena

14/15/16

Jan

21/22/23

Jan

28/29/30

Jan

18/19/20

Feb

04/05/06

Mar

25/26/27

Mar

01/02/03

Apr

22/23/24

Apr

29/30/01

Apr

20/21/22

May

TBC HCC MONTPELLIER RDS Arena

TBC

TBC

HCC BATH

URC CARDIFF

RUGBY

Recreation

Ground

Cardiff Arms

Park

TBC URC OSPREYS RDS Arena

TBC

URC BENETTON

tadio

Monigo

TBC URC CONNACHT Sportsground

TBC URC MUNSTER RDS Arena

TBC

TBC

URC CELL C

SHARKS

URC DHL

STORMERS

Jonsson

Kings Park

Green Point

Stagium

TBC URC EDINBURGH RDS Arena

94 | www.leinsterrugby.ie


3 4 5 6 7 8 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23

www.leinsterrugby.ie | 95


matchday

Squads

Hugo Keenan

Rory O’Loughlin

Garry Ringrose

Ciarán Frawley

James Lowe

Johnny Sexton [C]

Luke McGrath

15

14

13

12

11

10

9

FULL BACK

RIGHT WING

OUTSIDE CENTRE

INSIDE CENTRE

LEFT WING

FLY HALF

SCRUM HALF

David Kriel

Cornal Hendricks

Lionel Mapoe

Harold Vorster

Madosh Tambwe

Johan Goosen

Zak Burger

officials

REFEREE:

MIKE ADAMSON

(SRU, 55th competition game)

ASSISTANT REFEREES:

AJ JACOBS (SARU),

DANIEL CARSON (IRFU)

TMO:

NEIL PATERSON (SRU)

Andrew Porter

Dan Sheehan

Michael Ala’alatoa

Ross Molony

James Ryan

Rhys Ruddock

Josh van der Flier

Caelan Doris

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

LOOSE HEAD PROP

HOOKER

TIGHT HEAD PROP

SECOND ROW

SECOND ROW

BLINDSIDE FLANKER

OPENSIDE FLANKER

NUMBER 8

Gerhard Steenekamp

Bismarck du Plessis

Mornay Smith

Walt Steenkamp

Ruan Nortje

Marcell Coetzee [C]

Arno Botha

Elrigh Louw

James Tracy

Ed Byrne

Cian Healy

Ryan Baird

Max Deegan

Jamison Gibson-Park

Ross Byrne

Jamie Osborne

16

17

18

19

20

21

22

23

REPLACEMENT

REPLACEMENT

REPLACEMENT

REPLACEMENT

REPLACEMENT

REPLACEMENT

REPLACEMENT

REPLACEMENT

Joe van Zyl

Simphiwe Matanzima

Jacques van Rooyen

Janko Swanepoel

Jacques du Plessis

Keagan Johannes

Chris Smith

Stedman Gans


At Sword we know how important the Game is.

We know how important your memories are ....so relax

and enjoy yourself, you're in safe hands.

LEINSTER RUGBY FANS .... Secured by the team at Sword

Dublin: 01-6688220

info@swordsecurity.com

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Parting Shot

10 September 2021

Supporters during the Bank of

Ireland Pre-Season Friendly match

between Leinster and Harlequins at

Aviva Stadium.

98 | www.leinsterrugby.ie


www.leinsterrugby.ie | 99

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