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Dublin: 11 °C Friday 28 February, 2020


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Good afternoon and welcome along to our live coverage of the first of the day’s Guinness Pro14 inter-pros as in-form Leinster welcome Ulster to the RDS.

Both sides come into the third and final derby fixture of the Christmas and New Year period off the back of wins, and with crucial Champions Cup games to come next weekend, it’s a chance to build up some further momentum.

The rugby is coming thick and fast as we enter the business end of the season, so stick with us over the course of the evening — we’ll also be live from Thomond Park for the meeting of Munster and Connacht from 7.45pm — as we bring you all the action as it happens.

TEAM NEWS: Let’s get straight to this evening’s line-ups, starting with Leinster. Leo Cullen has again made widespread changes as he manages his squad over this busy period, with Jack McGrath captaining the province for the first time at home.

Johnny Sexton, Luke McGrath, Rob Kearney, Andrew Porter and Noel Reid are among those who drop out from last week with the electric Jordan Larmour given another chance at fullback and flanker Josh Murphy handed his second start.


15. Jordan Larmour
14. Fergus McFadden
13. Garry Ringrose
12. Robbie Henshaw
11. Barry Daly
10. Ross Byrne
9. Jamison Gibson-Park

1. Jack McGrath (captain)
2. James Tracy
3. Tadhg Furlong
4. Devin Toner
5. Scott Fardy
6. Josh Murphy
7. Jordi Murphy
8. Jack Conan


16. Seán Cronin
17. Ed Byrne
18. Andrew Porter
19. Mick Kearney
20. Max Deegan
21. Nick McCarthy
22. Johnny Sexton
23. Noel Reid.

TEAM NEWS: As for Ulster, Les Kiss is boosted by the return of captain Rory Best for his side’s visit to Dublin while Jacob Stockdale and Iain Henderson are also back in the side having sat out the New Year’s Day win over Munster.

Former Leinster scrum-half John Cooney is given a breather and starts on the bench so academy nine Johnny Stewart gets a big chance to impress alongside Christian Lealiifano in the halfbacks.


15. Charles Piutau
14. Andrew Trimble
13. Darren Cave
12. Stuart McCloskey
11. Jacob Stockdale
10. Christian Lealiifano
9. Johnny Stewart

1. Callum Black
2. Rory Best (Captain)
3. Rodney Ah You
4. Pete Browne
5. Iain Henderson
6. Matty Rea
7. Sean Reidy
8. Jean Deysel


16. Rob Herring
17. Kyle McCall
18. Wiehahn Herbst
19. Alan O’Connor
20. Nick Timoney
21. John Cooney
21. Johnny McPhillips
22. Tommy Bowe

Perfect evening for rugby in Dublin, with the RDS pitch in pristine condition.

A general view of the RDS Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

A view of the match balls Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

A general view of the RDS Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

PRE-MATCH READING: Kick off is fast approaching at the RDS but to whet your appetite between now and 5.35pm, why not browse some of our pre-match offerings.

Leo Cullen yesterday spoke about Josh Murphy and why he is different to the plethora of back rowers Leinster have at their disposal, while Murray Kinsella looks at the province’s defence following last week’s narrow win over Connacht.

It’s a big evening, meanwhile, for Stuart McCloskey as he comes up against Robbie Henshaw and Garry Ringrose in midfield, with the Ulster centre desperate to show Joe Schmidt what he can do.

TODAY’S OTHER SCORES: It’s a busy weekend of Pro14 action before the Champions Cup and Challenge Cups resume next week with seven round 13 fixtures down for decision today.

There were big wins for Edinburgh and Scarlets earlier while Treviso’s resurgence under Michael Bradley continues as they saw off the Cheetahs.

  • Edinburgh 37-7 Southern Kings
  • Scarlets 47-13 Dragons
  • Benetton Treviso 27-21 Cheetahs
  • Ospreys 29-28 Cardiff Blues (L)
  • Zebre 20-40 Glasgow Warriors (L)
  • Munster v Connacht (7.45pm)

PREDICTIONS: Leinster have lost only one of their last four fixtures with Ulster — 13-17 in Belfast last May — and Leo Cullen’s men are currently on a six-game winning streak stretching back to the end of September when they were defeated in Glasgow.

So, which way do you see this one going?

Poll Results:

Leinster (389)
Ulster (31)
Draw (13)

The teams are out at the RDS and we’re just about to set to get underway!

Flag 1Mins

KICK OFF: Ross Byrne gets us underway, with Leinster playing from right to left as we look in this first half.


2 mins – Some early possession for Leinster as they move the ball through the hands. Ringrose spreads it wide to Conan, who in turn feeds Fergus McFadden but we’re coming back for a forward pass in that passage of play.


3 mins – Good signs for Ulster at the first scrum having been completely dominated by Munster last weekend with referee George Clancy awarding the visitors a penalty. Christian Lealiifano finds a good touch on this near side and Ulster have a good attacking platform here.


4 mins — Piutau runs over Ringrose but Fardy and Jordi Murphy combine in the tackle to force the turnover penalty and Byrne brings Leinster up into the Ulster 22.


6 mins — TRY! Leinster 7-0 Ulster (Jordan Larmour)

And Leinster are away! From the lineout, McFadden picks a nice line to collect Byrne’s flat pass and he cuts through the Ulster defence before offloading for Larmour, who steps inside Stockdale to run it in under the posts.


8 mins — Ouch! Jack Conan with a huge hit on Christian Lealiifano but it’s actually the Leinster number eight who appears to have come off worse as he receives treatment. He looks okay to continue and we’ll restart with a scrum.


9 mins – Ulster are under all sorts of pressure already — much like at the Sportsgrounds before Christmas when they shipped 40+ points — as Leinster hammer away in the 22 again.


10 mins — Rory Best eases the pressure on his side momentarily as he does brilliantly on the ground to snatch the ball off Devin Toner, but here come Leinster again as Josh Murphy takes Tracy’s lineout.


ACTION SHOT: Barry Daly evades the tackle of Stuart McCloskey as Leinster put the visitors under early pressure.

Barry Daly with Stuart McCloskey Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO


12 mins – Byrne turns down three points to kick for the corner and the rolling maul rumbles on towards the Ulster line, before Reidy comes through and it all gets a bit scrappy. Leinster have the scrum five yards from the line.


15 mins — Leinster win another scrum penalty and call for the set-piece again. They move it out right, where there is an overlap but McFadden loses his footing and the initial chance is gone.

Flag 16Mins

16 mins — TRY! Leinster 12-0 Ulster (Barry Daly)

No mistake this time. Leinster switch the point of attack and again Larmour is heavily involved as he straightens and feeds Daly, who fends off Piutau to score in the corner. Byrne is unable to add the extras from this near touchline.


19 mins – Ulster have been woefully poor again in the opening 20 minutes and this game is already slipping from their grasp before they’ve fired a shot. That attempt at a tackle from Piutau just about sums it up.


21 mins – A better passage of play from Ulster as they break the gain line a couple of times through big carries from Best and Reidy before Stockdale links with Lealiifano but, once again, Leinster stand firm and snuff it out with Jordi Murphy this time diving on the loose ball.


22 mins – Worrying signs here for Leinster and Ireland as Tadhg Furlong stays down after that last play and appears to be in a little discomfort as he holds his arm. Andrew Porter is ready to come on.


23 mins – But after a long set of treatment, Furlong is back up and straight back into the mix as Ulster go to the rolling maul from the lineout.


24 mins – The ball squirts free and Leinster look to launch a counter-attack. McFadden is freed by Conan and he has support on the left but delays the pass and is then hit high by Trimble in midfield.


25 mins — Ulster do well to hold Scott Fardy up when Leinster had momentum five metres out. James Tracy, meanwhile, has been replaced by Sean Cronin with the latter holding his thumb as he made his way towards the tunnel.


ACTION SHOT: Leinster celebrate Jordan Larmour’s fifth try of the season.

Jordan Larmour celebrates scoring the first try with Fergus McFadden Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO


29 mins — Leinster probing again and as Ross Byrne looks to fling a floating pass out right, Stockdale reads it and should really have intercepted to have a clear run to the line but fumbles and the RDS breathes a collective sigh of relief.


36 mins – Ulster go through eight phases of possession, working it left to right without much avail, before Robbie Henshaw is penalised for not rolling away. Lealiifano kicks for the corner.


38 mins – Ulster have responded well to another poor start but they’ve been horribly inaccurate which continues to undo any good work. Piutau fends Ringrose off and creates the overlap but Reidy’s final pass to Stockdale on the left is forward and goes into touch. That was their best chance of the half.


40 mins – Leinster look to strike right at half-time. Byrne kicks it into space and Daly and Larmour eat up the ground but the latter knocks it on as he looks to ground it under pressure from Iain Henderson.



That’s the last action of the half as the hosts go into the break in the driving seat courtesy of tries from Larmour and Daly. Ulster started poorly again and while they improved as the half progressed, Les Kiss’ side have serious work to do to get back into this game.

Barry Daly celebrates scoring a try with teammates Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

Barry Daly scores a try despite Andrew Trimble Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

Rory Best with Jacob Stockdale Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Tadhg Furlong and Devin Toner with Stuart McCloskey Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO


KICK OFF! Back underway at the RDS, where Leinster have made a change for the second half. Andrew Porter is on for Furlong, who suffered that arm injury in the opening period.


43 mins – Superb score from Leinster as Larmour stabs through and Gibson-Park collects to offload back inside for the fullback to run it in, but the scrum-half was offside and the try has been ruled out. A shame.

Flag 49Mins

47 mins — TRY! Leinster 19-0 Ulster (Fergus McFadden)

Leinster are over this time; and it all starts with Larmour again. The fullback chips and chases, before the hosts switch it right where McFadden has the freedom of the wing to step inside Stockdale and run it in. Brilliant work from the wing, brilliant from Leinster.


51 mins — TRY! Leinster 26-0 Ulster (McFaddden)

Leinster are running riot now. Cave loses the ball in contact five yards from the blue line and the hosts pounce. Porter shows incredible strength and agility to bounce off two defenders and step past Stockdale before releasing Gibson-Park. The scrum-half has McFadden on his shoulder and no-one is at home for Ulster, with the winger running in the bonus-point try.


ACTION SHOT: McFadden goes over for Leinster’s third try, before quickly scoring his second moments after.

Fergus McFadden scores a try Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO


57 mins – Leinster are a joy to watch, but this is getting ugly very quickly for Ulster again.


59 mins – A break in play and a chance for us to catch our breath as Garry Ringrose receives treatment after an awkward collision with Stockdale. The centre will be replaced by Noel Reid, while Leinster have also brought Johnny Sexton and Ed Byrne on.


ACTION SHOT: 17,373 inside the RDS this evening and the vast majority are enjoying what they’re seeing.

Leinster celebrate Fergus McFadden's try Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO


RAMPAGING RUN: Here’s Andrew Porter hammering out of his own 22 with a powerful carry to smash Darren Cave and Jacob Stockdale into the turf in the build-up to Leinster’s fourth try.


67 mins — TRY! Leinster 31-0 Ulster (Larmour)

It’s that man again! Leinster retain possession through the phases and superb hands from Henshaw feeds Larmour to dot down in the corner.


70 mins – Cullen emptying his bench now with Nick McCarthy on in Gibson-Park’s place. Ulster, too, have made changes with John Cooney and Johnny McPhillips among those to come on.


72 mins — TRY! Leinster 31-5 Ulster (Stockdale)

Ulster are on the board. Tommy Bowe makes the initial break but his hauled down yards from the line by Larmour, but the visitors recycle and have numbers out wide with Stockale left to finish.


MAN OF THE MATCH: No surprise here as Jordan Larmour has been named MOTM. 12 runs, 58 metres gained, two clean breaks, three defenders beaten and two tries — not a bad evening’s work for the 20-year-old fullback.

Jordan Larmour celebrates scoring the first try Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Flag 80Mins

80 mins — TRY! Leinster 38-7 Ulster (Sexton)

A fitting end to a superb performance from Leinster. Reid breaks out of defence and offloads superbly inside for Max Deegan. The replacement number eight shows great strength to hold off Rob Herring and feed the supporting Sexton as he goes to ground, with the out-half running it under the posts from 40 yards out.


Leinster finish the Christmas inter-pro series with three straight wins and it’s now seven consecutive victories for Leo Cullen’s side, who are playing some sensational rugby at present.

Jordi Murphy and Fergus McFadden celebrates scoring a try Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

Our match report from the RDS can be found here, while we have live coverage of Munster’s clash with Connacht from Thomond Park here.

About the author:

Ryan Bailey


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