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LEINSTER coach Leo Cullen has said that retiring Kiwi legend Isa Nacewa will leave an 'unbelievable' hole in the province as he prepares to captain the side for the last time in their quest to win an historic double.
Captain Isa Nacewa has been passed fit to play his final game for Leinster and is selected at inside centre for tomorrow's Guinness PRO14 final with Scarlets at the Aviva Stadium.
Even before he kicked the penalty that secured Leinster’s record-equalling fourth European crown, Isa Nacewa’s status as the greatest import in Irish history was assured. The only question now is whether that extends to all of European rugby.
Elliot Daly will start England's non-cap international against the Barbarians at full-back, with Danny Cipriani having to settle for a place among the replacements.
Saying that Ireland is a sports mad and rugby-loving nation is somewhat of an understatement especially after this season's Grand Slam.
Leinster Rugby is coming to the end of a very successful two-year charity partnership with both Debra Ireland and Aware at the end of this season.
In times gone by, Leinster would have been forgiven for dropping their guard after a European title success.
Prior to Leinster's Champions Cup semi-final win over the Scarlets last month, Academy player Will Connors was the unfortunate chosen one to play the role of Tadhg Beirne during training in the week leading up to the game.
Tallaght Rugby Club was set up in 2002 as part of the 'Tallaght Project', an IRFU initiative designed to introduce rugby in non-traditional areas.
What a weekend it was. May 12, 2018 and the San Mames Stadium in Bilbao will go into the history books together with other great occasions in Murrayfield, in the Millennium Stadium and in Twickenham and a fourth star can finally be added to the Leinster Rugby jersey. It really was a massive moment for the club but perhaps more than that it was a massive moment for this group of players.
Jonathan Sexton is expected to be passed fit to lead all-conquering Leinster's assault on an historic trophy double when head coach Leo Cullen unveils his side for tomorrow's Aviva Stadium Guinness PRO14 decider against Scarlets.
1: Pre-match meal?
There are not many men that can lay claim to four stars on a jersey and a role in each one. Indeed, the exact number is six. Four have been from Leinster and two, Cedric Heymans and Frederic Michalak, are French internationals with medals picked up at a number of clubs.
When, in March, the rugby writers in this parish sharpened their pencils and settled a pub debate as to what is Leinster's best 23 if all of the players were fit, not one of us picked Ross Byrne.
What to do next after the "perfect fit" proves itself to be about as imperfect as a pair of ill-fitting, crotch-chafing polyester trousers?
Wayne Pivac has called on his Scarlets side to prove that winning the Guinness PRO12 last season was not a once-off as they look to topple Leinster in tomorrow's decider (6.0).
Would you like to climb Kilimanjaro with an Irish Rugby star? Earth's Edge are looking for 64 adventurous men and women aged over 18 to answer the call to climb Kilimanjaro and raise vital funds for the IRFU Charitable Trust.
Anyone who expected Joe Schmidt to experiment with his squad for the upcoming three-Test tour of Australia hasn't been paying attention.
Ireland have been dealt a tough blow ahead of the U20 World Cup after two of their star forwards were ruled out of the tournament after suffering knee injuries.
Discovering your optimum performance weight is something every player has to go through, according to Munster and Ireland star Conor Murray.
Leinster will have Jonathan Sexton, Isa Nacewa and Dan Leavy back on board for their bid to complete an unprecedented European Cup-PRO14 League double.
Former Wallabies captain James Slipper has been handed a two-month ban and a £14,000 fine after testing positive for cocaine.
Ken Owens doesn't shirk the reality - his Scarlets side were out-fought, out-thought, and ultimately beaten out the gate on their last visit to the Aviva Stadium.
Joe Schmidt has left little room for experimentation on Ireland's tour of Australia after naming a 32-man squad yesterday that is locked and loaded with Grand Slam stars for the three-Test tour.
Conor Murray has revealed that he was 'really pissed off' when he learned that Munster Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus was leaving midway through this season.
Joe Schmidt has announced his 32-man Ireland squad to tour Australia for a three-test tour next month, with Ross Byrne and Tadhg Beirne in line for their first international caps.
With just two new caps in Joe Schmidt’s squad to tour Australia next month, it illustrates how hard it will be for outsiders to break in ahead of the 2019 World Cup.
Scarlets second row Tadhg Beirne is in line to make his Ireland debut after being selected in the squad to face Australia in a three-test series next month.
Robbie Henshaw will not make it to the starting line for Leinster’s PRO14 League final against Scarlets at The Aviva Stadium on Saturday.
Tries from Ireland's Andrew Conway and Tadhg Beirne have been shortlisted for the Champions Cup Try Of The Season.
Conor Murray and Johnny Sexton have formed one of the most feared half-back partnerships in world rugby but it didn't just happen overnight.
Welsh rugby legend Jonathan Davies has told Scarlets that if they are to have any chance of upsetting Leinster this weekend they mus 'put a shot' on Johnny Sexton every time he's in possession.
Australia's home series against Ireland next month will provide an idea of how much progress the Wallabies have made since they were swept 3-0 by England in a similar series in 2016, coach Michael Cheika said on Wednesday.
Twenty-five appearances for club and country later, 1,023 minutes, a Grand Slam and a Champions Cup medal secured, and yet Jack McGrath's insatiable desire for success shows no signs of abating in the season that keeps on giving.
As preparations for the biggest week of the club's season go, the Scarlets' plans ahead of the Guinness PRO14 final haven't exactly gone well.
Declan Kidney has been confirmed as London Irish's director of rugby, having initially joined as a technical consultant in March.
Scarlets head coach Wayne Pivac has urged his fellow Kiwi Joe Schmidt to include Tadhg Beirne in his Ireland squad for next month's three-Test tour to Australia.
On this week's episode of The Left Wing, Will Slattery and Luke Fitzgerald are joined by Munster and Ireland scrum-half Conor Murray to discuss his eventful season and his career to date.
Scarlets' preparations for this weekend's Guinness PRO14 final against Leinster at the Aviva Stadium have been hampered by burn injuries from Glasgow's 4G pitch at Scotstoun Stadium.
Ireland's 2009 Grand Slam-winning head coach Declan Kidney has been appointed director of rugby at London Irish.
Charles Piutau and Bundee Aki have been ruled out of the Barbarians' clash against England at Twickenham on Sunday.
The Scarlets have confirmed that Scotland captain John Barclay has suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon and undergone surgery.
The rugby world is at Jordan Larmour's dancing feet, but he has taken each new challenge in his stride.
Sometime next week, Ulster scrum-half John Cooney will be preparing himself for a long-haul flight. Whether it is Australia with the Ireland squad or Thailand for a holiday remains to be seen.
Leinster hope to have Johnny Sexton, Rob Kearney, Dan Leavy and Isa Nacewa fit and available for Saturday's Guinness PRO14 final against Scarlets (6.0), but Robbie Henshaw is expected to miss out with his knee issue.
Gloucester have confirmed the signing of Munster second-row Gerbrandt Grobler for next season.
Of the six fresh faces in the Ireland U-20s squad for the upcoming World Cup campaign, which begins against the hosts France next Wednesday, Caelan Doris's inclusion is a particularly significant boost.
Ulster have lined up a replacement for Paddy Jackson but it remains unclear if the IRFU will approve the deal.
Simon Zebo has opened up on being dropped from the Ireland squad earlier this season, saying he was surprised that Joe Schmidt dispensed with his services so soon after he announced his move to France.
For the second week running, the best team in Europe found a way across the winning line when it really mattered. Yes, it was tight and exciting in the dying moments but unlike Bilbao the previous week, I felt this game lacked quality.
Harlequins have confirmed the appointment of England defence coach Paul Gustard as their new head of rugby.
Leinster hope to have Johnny Sexton, Rob Kearney and Dan Leavy available for Saturday's Guinness PRO14 final against Scarlets, while they are also upbeat on Isa Nacewa's prospects of recovering in time to play his final game.
Ireland have named a 28-man squad for this summer's World Rugby U20 Championships in France.
When the dust finally settles on this remarkable season, Leinster will reserve a special place in the memory for this Guinness PRO14 win.
One miserable point is all that was between Munster and finally a final. That's seven semis in a row lost and gone.
It's just over two years since Johnny Sexton decided to publicly criticise Leinster and their culture.
Ulster coach Jono Gibbes defended his trip to France for talks with La Rochelle three days before the Champions Cup playoff against the Ospreys, saying that it had no impact on his side's performance.
The stench of wasted opportunity was the overriding aroma in the aftermath of this match. What-ifs rolling off the tongue. Leinster, infinitely smarter, got the job done. Their challenge was a far more difficult task to deal with because the battle was not with Munster but with themselves.
Ulster will be playing in next season’s Champions Cup after a brace from Craig Gilroy helped them defeat the Ospreys 35-12 in their Champions Cup play-off at Kingspan Stadium.
Stephen Ferris has strongly criticised Ulster head coach Jono Gibbes for holding talks with French side La Rochelle just three days before the province's crunch Champions Cup playoff against the Ospreys.
He may have steamrolled him in the first half but Leinster's James Lowe has nothing but respect for Simon Zebo.
New Zealand made their feelings very clear when England demanded Brad Shields be allowed to join up with Eddie Jones' squad for the summer tour to South Africa. They were not happy.
Simon Zebo may have played his last game for Munster but has not ruled out a move back to Thomond Park in the future.
Ben Youngs has paid tribute to his “phenomenal” brother Tom days after it was confirmed that his sister-in-law, Tom’s wife Tiffany, has gone into remission following a four-year battle with cancer.
'They'll be coming down off the back of a Grand Slam - strong favourites to do well down there. Poor old us. We'll just have to put up against the big green giant when it comes down!"
What a great finish to a very good game. Had Munster managed to complete what was an unlikely comeback - Joey Carbery's penalty left them 16-8 down with four minutes to go - it would have been thoroughly deserved for they brought a huge amount to this contest.
Munster captain Peter O'Mahony defended his decision to kick for the corner when his side trailed 13-8 on the scoreboard with 12 minutes remaining.
No matter who won yesterday's cracking Guinness Pro14 semi-final, they would have had a tailor-made story for next Saturday against Scarlets at the Aviva. A year ago, on a lovely, sunny evening at the RDS, the Welsh side ran Leinster off the park. And then did the same a week later to Munster.
As Allen Clarke was driving out the gate of Ravenhill last year - a casualty in the reshuffle that saw himself and Neil Doak replaced by Jono Gibbes and Dwayne Peel - the Future Fairy flagged him down with a message. "Never mind Clarkey, you'll be back here before you know it!"
Leinster wing James Lowe paid tribute to Isa Nacewa after the club captain played his last game at the RDS ahead of his retirement at the end of the season.
Leinster survived a late Munster push and will have the chance to complete a unique double at the Aviva Stadium next Saturday thanks to a second gritty win in the space of a week.
In 2010 John Joseph Hanrahan was part of a particularly talented Rockwell College group led by then Ireland schools lock Shane Buckley. Hanrahan, along with Cian O'Donnell and Buckley, were central to the Munster schools inter-provincial side that season.
Leinster take on Munster at the RDS this afternoon, with the winners set to face Scarlets in the Guinness PRO 14 final at the Aviva Stadium next weekend. Follow all the action in our live blog, with the game kicking off at 15.15:
There was fire in their eyes, an intensity, a collective will, and a ferocity in the tackle that we just couldn't match. We were emotionally drained and caught slightly below-par, and that makes all the difference at this level.
Wasps and England rugby player James Haskell will miss his potential final game with Wasps on Saturday after arriving at the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, just hours before his teammates take on Saracens for a place in the Premiership final.
The curious case of Jono Gibbes and La Rochelle continued yesterday with sources in France still believing the departing Ulster head coach will take a job with the Top 14 outfit.
Tadhg Beirne's Scarlets booked their return to Dublin by easing their way to the Guinness PRO14 final with a convincing victory over Glasgow at Scotstoun.
Leinster coach Leo Cullen insists his European champions are playing catch-up to Munster ahead of today's Guinness PRO14 semi-final at the RDS (3.15).
The Racing 92 team injected something called fun into last Saturday's Champions Cup final when the players wore berets as they ran onto the pitch at the San Mamés Stadium in Bilbao.
Johnny Sexton will miss Saturday's Pro14 semi-final against Munster with a calf problem, Leinster coach Leo Cullen has confirmed.
Alan Quinlan and Luke Fitzgerald have picked their combined Munster and Leinster teams of the professional era .
Ireland centre Bundee Aki will lead the Barbarians against England as one of three front-line home unions internationals included in the squad for the non-cap fixture at Twickenham.
Leo Cullen is confident Robbie Henshaw will recover from a knee injury in time to make Ireland’s tour to Australia next month.
Leinster coach Leo Cullen says Isa Nacewa will not replace Girvan Dempsey as the province's attack coach, but confirmed they are on the look-out for a new assistant to replace his former team-mate.
Leo Cullen has shown confidence in his squad by making six changes to his Leinster team to play Munster in the PRO14 League semi-final at the RDS tomorrow (KO3.15, TG4 & Sky Sports Action).
Leinster take on Munster in an all-Irish Pro14 semi-final in the RDS this Saturday, with a place in the Aviva stadium finale the prize for the winner.
Ross Byrne will be Leo Cullen's man to replace 'The Man' against Munster in the PRO14 League semi-final at the sold-out RDS on Saturday.
Leinster Rugby Juniors became the 2018 Junior interprovincial champions after they defeated reigning champions Ulster at the University of Ulster Coleraine last Saturday.
Munster in the RDS Arena tomorrow at 3.15pm with a place in the Guinness PRO14 final 2018 at stake. That is the focus this week and the chatter from Leinster Rugby HQ would echo that sentiment. But it is hard to look forward to the match ahead without acknowledging the weekend that was.
Take 20: Jimmy O'Brien
And just like that a Champions Cup final comes and goes with a fourth star added to the jersey.
The biggest week Leinster have had since winning the Heineken Cup trophy in 2012 and here it was. A week to enjoy. Personally, I had been trying my hardest to get back fit after an ankle injury. Thankfully, I was fully fit for the big week ahead. I have to give (rehab coach) Diarmaid Brennan a special mention for helping me every day. I would not have been fit if it was not for his hard work and positivity throughout my rehab schedule.
Kinsale RFC have enjoyed recent success across the age groups, with their U-14 squad making history after securing the club's first age-grade double and their U-13 squad winning the South Munster U-13 League Cup.
Munster finished their Junior inter-provincial campaign with a 41-10 victory over Connacht at Rathcooney last weekend.
Munster have bolstered their back-row options ahead of next season with the signing of South African Arno Botha on a one-year contract.
Tadhg Beirne hopes back-to-back titles with the Scarlets can help him cement his place in the Ireland squad to tour Australia this summer.