Heineken Cup Final Preview: Leinster vs Ulster

Having produced some weighty previews for the two semi-finals [and here] , there’s not a whole heap new to say about the two Irish provinces competing for the Heineken Cup on Saturday.

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Q: What Can You Read Into A Game Against Newport Gwent Dragons?

A: Probably Too Much

It would be very interesting to hear the opinions of Devin Toner on a youthful Leinster team’s win in Newport ten days ago. Toner has started the last five editions of this fixture – teammate Kev McLaughlin has started the last four – and it has long been one of the curios on the calendar in terms of selection. Continue reading

“If Isa Was Irish”

Isa Nacewa has been selected to play his 100th game for Leinster tomorrow in the Pro12 semi-final against Glasgow.

The story goes a little bit like this: “If Isa Nacewa had never been called off the bench for the last two minutes of a game by Fiji back in the 2003 Rugby World Cup as a 21 year old, he’d be an Irish international by now.”  Continue reading

Pro12 Semi-final Preview: Leinster vs Glasgow

Cian Healy bursts through the Glasgow defense in the Heineken Cup fixture between the sides at Firhill. Leinster have more weapons all over the pitch than Glasgow, and will be looking to avenge the regular season loss at the RDS.

Glasgow will pitch up at the RDS on Saturday intent on repeating the mid-September upset that saw them run out 19-23 winners. They’ll try to forget the 38-13 shellacking they took a couple of months later in the Heineken Cup, when Leinster’s front-liners cleaned their clock and had run up four tries before halftime.  Continue reading

Leinster’s New Contracts

Leinster announced a huge number of contract extensions together, neatly defusing inspection of new recruits (Denton and Bent) and camouflaging some other calls which might have got more attention in the media were they announced piecemeal.

In the wake of their Heineken Cup semi-final win in Bordeaux against Clermont Auvergne, Leinster have released a statement detailing a whole raft of contract renewals and a few new signings. Continue reading

Match Reaction: Clermont Auvergne 15 – 19 Leinster

Vintage Drico.

In a raucous and colour-drenched Stade Chaban-Delmas, Leinster edged out French heavyweights Clermonts in an absolute dogfight of a semi-final.  Continue reading

HEC Semi-final Preview: Clermont vs Leinster

Heaslip dots down under the sticks in the 2010 quarter-final classic. Given that it's only a couple of weeks more than two years later, the two teams are dominated by the same players who took the field in that stormer of a game. That night it was Leinster who hung on by the slenderest of margins, even given home field advantage ... will it go the other way this time around?

The Clermont Auvergne vs Leinster semi-final pits two of the best teams to grace European competition in the last five years against each other in a winner-takes-all match. As Shane Horgan said on Sky Sports’ The Rugby Club last night, “This is a Heineken Cup semi-final. You don’t get anything for finishing within seven points.” Continue reading