Tommy Bowe with young supporters on Ulster's Open Day last year. ©INPHO/Presseye/Darren Kidd
provincial wrap

Cheer up Donegal sports fans, Ulster Rugby are coming to town

The provinces are getting out and about as part of their preseason preparations.

WE ARE THREE weeks away from the first preseason game of 2013/14 [Castres v Connacht in France] but Ulster, Munster and Leinster do not get their first run-outs until the weekend of 23-25 August.

The clubs, shorn of their Lions players for two more weeks, are already back in training. is going around the provinces for a quick update on their progress.

Ulster are off to Donegal Town and Strabane next week to hold two open training sessions. Last season’s Pro12 finalists visit Donegal Town RFC next Wednesday [from 10:30am] and Strabane RFC [from 11am] on Thursday. Players and coaches will host mini-rugby coaching sessions at both venues and players aged between six and 12-years-old are invited to come down and join in.

Ulster director of rugby David Humphreys said, “[The sessions] give fans the chance to see how the senior team train and give them the opportunity to meet players that they might only have ever seen on television. This is a great way to say thank you for the support that the team receives from the North-West of the province… Hopefully these visits will help inspire new players and followers to the game.”

Munster’s signing of South African winger Gerhard van den Heever has gone down well with supporters, who were also heartened to see this lad [below] taking a full part in their recent training sessions:

Andrew Conway looking well in his new Munster kit. (Credit: @Munsterrugby)

Conway’s former club, Leinster have confirmed that their new jersey, which may closely resemble this picture, will be officially launched before the month is out. The Blues are also holding open sessions, at Cill Dara RF on 9 August and at Dundalk RFC on 22 August.

The Pro12 and Amlin Cup winners have announced that their Heineken Cup pool stage fixture against Northampton Saints will be held at the Aviva Stadium at 6pm on Saturday, 14 December. Tickets have yet to go on sale for the clash, which will be a replay of the 2011 Heineken Cup final that Leinster won.

To buy tickets for Connacht’s games next season, the western province has announced that is the way to go about it. Connacht have signed a five-year deal with the Irish-owned company following a break away from Ticketmaster.

Head of marketing with the club, Alex Saul said, “Tickets can now be purchased nationwide in SuperValu and Centra stores, online on as well as from the Connacht Rugby ticket office at the Sportsground.”

While the other three provinces are gearing up for their first matches of the season, Connacht, having played Castres and Wasps, will be teeing up for their annual golf challenge. For more details click here >>

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