Ireland women’s captain Ciara Griffin and Sevens star Louise Galvin have welcomed their appointments to the board of Rugby Players Ireland following the representative body’s expansion of its executive committee to reflect its growing remit in the Irish professional rugby.
Jonathan Sexton’s mood was one of the talking points in a disappointing Six Nations campaign for Ireland and it’s unlikely that his humour has improved given his absence from today’s Heineken Champions Cup quarter-final between Leinster and Ulster.
Ulster may have achieved their goal in leapfrogging Benetton in the chase for a Guinness PRO14 knock-out place, but there was mixed news in the aftermath of Saturday’s win over Southern Kings for coach Dan McFarland ahead of next week’s Champions Cup quarter-final with Leinster.
Callum Black would love nothing more than to leave Ulster in the same shape he found them back in 2012. And he aims to help move things in that direction tomorrow evening in a vital Guinness PRO14 game at the Kingspan Stadium against a revitalised Ospreys side.
While Ulster’s players and management insist that the focus is entirely on Saturday’s lunchtime clash with Pool 1 leaders La Rochelle, it’s become clearer who will be replacing Christian Leali’ifano when the Wallaby’s short-term contract ends this month.
It’s a fixture which Connacht have only won four times in 29 meetings but coach Kieran Keane is hoping that Tiernan O’Halloran’s decision to remain at the Sportsground will be the start of a great festive period.
Ireland and Lions winger Tommy Bowe will return to the Ulster squad this Saturday when Bordeaux-Begles fly into town for what is a Champions Cup dead rubber. Bowe, who was omitted from last week’s disappointing defeat in Exeter, watched Ulster’s feeble attempt to qualify out of Pool 5 as one of the best runners-up.
“You watch Clermont as we have and you’ve just got to be impressed by what’s on offer, admiring too, and otherwise it might put the fear of God in you.” Ulster’s Director of Rugby Les Kiss was certainly not underestimating the task facing his side when the French Championship leaders come to Kingspan Stadium on Saturday for the third pool game in the Champions Cup.