Rassie Erasmus: Johann van Graan is used to massive pressure
Munster's players met their soon-to-be boss yesterday morning, before the current supremo began preparing them for Saturday's must-win meeting with Racing 92 at Thomond Park.
Munster's players met their soon-to-be boss yesterday morning, before the current supremo began preparing them for Saturday's must-win meeting with Racing 92 at Thomond Park.
European rugby is all about contrasting styles and that extends beyond the pitch.
Ireland star Jenny Murphy has hit out at the IRFU's decision to advertise the national women's coach job as a six-month, part-time position.
He's the fastest man in Irish rugby, but it took Barry Daly a long time to get here.
There is plenty of road to run in Pool 3 of this year's Champions Cup, but Leinster gave themselves a head-start by collecting five points at the RDS in the face of adversity on Saturday.
It lasted just seven seconds, but it was one of those moments that summed up the 80 minutes.
Looking down at the warm-ups at the Aviva Stadium last Saturday, it was curious to note the outlier in the Munster ranks.
When Devin Toner was asked this week about his memories of Nathan Hines, he immediately compared him to Leo Cullen.
This tale of two out-halves took a surprising and somewhat disappointing turn yesterday when news came through that neither Johnny Sexton nor Aaron Cruden would be starting at the RDS this lunchtime.
Munster insist their coaching transition will go ahead as planned despite reports in South Africa that Rassie Erasmus will take up his position with SARU on November 1.
Munster are insisting that their coaching transition will go ahead as planned despite strong reports in South Africa that Rassie Erasmus will take up his position with SARU on November 1.
Johann van Graan knows what pressure looks like. He sat alongside Heyneke Meyer when South Africa were enduring the harrowing final moments...
Leinster and Munster fell back in love with European rugby last season and the feeling was mutual as the return of the Irish provinces...
Despite losing the sight in his left eye in 2012, Dubliner Ian McKinley has taken another step towards playing international rugby after he was called up to the Italy squad for the November internationals yesterday.
Given the nature of their position, scrum-halves don't quite engage in mano-a-mano battles. They co-exist on the pitch and rarely come into direct contact, but their battle for influence on a game is crucial nonetheless.
In a different life, Rassie Erasmus and Reggie Corrigan shared the Lansdowne Road turf when South Africa came to Dublin in 1998 and blew Ireland away.
Rassie Erasmus has defended his decision to field an experimental line-up in last Saturday's defeat to Leinster at the Aviva Stadium.
The extract from Rob Andrew's upcoming book, 'Rugby: The Game of My Life' that was published in the Daily Telegraph yesterday contains scathing criticism of Leinster senior coach Stuart Lancaster for his role in England's ill-fated 2015 World Cup campaign.
Sean O'Brien is a major doubt for Leinster's European Champions Cup opener against Montpellier on Saturday after missing training at UCD yesterday.
Rassie Erasmus exists in a comfort zone few coaches can enjoy right now, the decisions he makes in his current job will have no long-term implications on his own future.
It is unlikely that memories of the 2015 World Cup are ever far from Stuart Lancaster's mind, but the publication of extracts from Rob Andrew's soon-to-be-published autobiography in an English newspaper yesterday brought the issue back front and centre.
Leo Cullin's press conferences have not been known for bombastic statements over the course of his two and a bit seasons in charge of Leinster, but on Saturday the three-time European Cup-winning captain launched a shot across the bows of the big-spending English and French clubs ahead of the tournament's opener next weekend.
This was far more comprehensive than the scoreline suggests as Leinster sailed into Europe with a big derby win and plenty to work on and Munster were left with a whole host of questions.
For these two great rivals, the 2017/18 season will get properly under way this afternoon and by the time the sun sets on Ballsbridge they will have a better idea of where they stand.
Jacob Stockdale made a flying start to his Ireland career in June and in front of the watching Joe Schmidt and Andy Farrell he staked his claim for a big role in November last night.
Conor Murray knows there are doubts about Munster's capacity to build on last season given the impending exit of Rassie Erasmus and he's not shying away from the issue.
Jacob Stockdale made a flying start to his Ireland career in June and in front of the watching Joe Schmidt and Andy Farrell he staked his claim for a big role in November tonight.
There was so much to Munster's 2016/17 campaign, it seems churlish to boil it down to brass tacks but at the end of it all they finished with battered pride on the Aviva Stadium turf. Twice.
It takes a certain type of character to hear the news that Ruan Pienaar is being forced to leave Ulster and call his agent right away, sensing an opportunity.
News of Ulster losing their first game of the season in Zebre last weekend must have gone down like a lead balloon among the Connacht squad contemplating their trip north this weekend.
For Josh van der Flier, Saturday's Aviva Stadium clash with Munster represents an unchecked box on his career to-do list.
It is entirely conceivable that when Joe Schmidt names his squad for the November internationals, all of the back-rows will be drawn from Leinster and Munster.
Racing will be without Donnacha Ryan when they visit Munster in round two of the European Champions Cup later this month.
Leinster's almost annual pre-European clash with Munster never fails to draw the crowds, but sometimes it can under-deliver on the pitch.
Leinster scrum coach John Fogarty has warned his charges that anything less than their best will not suffice against Munster at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday.
It would be easy for Munster to write this season off as one of transition, to use the impending coaching changes as a cover for underachievement.
European rugby chief Vincent Gaillard has revealed that Ireland will not be bidding to host the 2020 Challenge and Champions Cup finals.
A year ago, the Dublin launch of the European Champions Cup was a pretty sombre affair.
Leinster look set to be without captain Isa Nacewa as they enter what Fergus McFadden has labelled "the defining part" of their season.
Google searches for 'Johann van Graan' must have spiked pretty severely on Friday morning when news of the Springbok assistant coach's likely move to Munster emerged - and it was a similar case with 'David Wessels' a couple of days earlier when he was widely believed to be coming to Limerick.
If Leinster repeat this lacklustre performance at the Aviva Stadium in a week's time, they could be in for a long afternoon against Munster.
Munster are set to appoint Springbok assistant Johann van Graan as their new director of rugby. The relatively low-profile career coach has emerged as the front-runner to replace departing coach Rassie Erasmus when his commitments with South Africa come to an end at the conclusion of the Rugby Championship.
IF LEINSTER repeat this lacklustre performance at the Aviva Stadium in a week’s time they could be in for a long afternoon against Munster.
Munster's search for a new coach has taken a fresh twist after favourite David Wessels turned down the chance to move to Thomond Park in favour of remaining in Australia to join the Melbourne Rebels.
Tonight at the RDS, Johnny Sexton returns to the place he belongs. Centre stage.
LEINSTER coach Leo Cullen says Jamie Heaslip could require a second operation on his back injury.
Munster will once again have a fight on their hands to keep hold of Simon Zebo who is attracting significant interest in France.
Since he made his European debut at home to Bath on the first day of the 2005/'06 campaign, Jamie Heaslip has been present on the opening day of each season since.
The favourite for the Munster head coach's role Dave Wessels yesterday refused to rule himself in or out of the job when contacted by an Australian newspaper.
It turned out the man at the next table at breakfast on Friday was kind of a big deal.
Ireland have Bono aboard and are promising to crack the American golden goose, France are hauling truckloads of cash on to a ferry and offering to get their rogue clubs in line, and South Africa are channelling the spirit of 1995 and Nelson Mandela in the hopes of capturing the hearts and minds at half the price of a European tournament.
Leo Cullen has promised that Leinster will do an "extensive review" of their incident-packed two-match tour of South Africa after it concluded in a heavy defeat to the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein last night.
Welcome to the Guinness PRO14 party, South Africa. The Cheetahs always looked a better bet of the two newcomers to make waves in the tournament and they gave Leinster plenty to think about as they make their long journey home in drips and drabs this morning.
Warren Gatland last night received the backing of Lions chief executive John Feehan after the coach and his assistants came in for strident criticism from Ireland flanker Seán O'Brien.
For a man making up for lost time, Jordi Murphy remains implacably calm as he reflects on his nine months out of rugby and his big ambitions for the season ahead.
Reading Seán O'Brien's withering assessment of the Lions coaches' shortcomings in New Zealand last summer, a couple of images of the morning after the night before came to mind.
Robbie Henshaw has given Leinster an early season boost by declaring himself fit to return to action for the province next week against Edinburgh.
A year ago, when Joey Carbery's early-season form was attracting all levels of interest, Leo Cullen was fielding questions from left, right and centre about precocious young out-half.
Leinster chief executive Mick Dawson has warned that the Guinness PRO14 must not push its expansion plans too quickly.
The future of the RDS will become clearer in the next month or two, according to Leinster Rugby chief executive Mick Dawson.
This weekend, Leinster go to play in Bloemfontein - home of the Springbok factory Grey College.
Where will it end? That's the question somebody in the corridors of rugby power should be asking of the latest attempts to grow the game into new territories.
There hasn't been a dull moment since the Irish province landed in Johannesburg last Wednesday and found that their New Zealanders could not enter South Africa and yesterday's news that Cian Healy was asked to leave their flight from Port Elizabeth to Cape Town for using his laptop when the use of electronics had been forbidden continued the bizarre backdrop.
Leinster’s incident-packed mini-tour of South Africa hit another snag yesterday after Ireland prop Cian Healy was asked to leave their flight from Port Elizabeth to Cape Town.
Leinster pair Jamison Gibson-Park and Isa Nacewa have linked up with the rest of the squad in Cape Town as Leo Cullen's side begin preparations for Friday's Guinness PRO14 clash against the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein.
WHEN Port Elizabeth native Sarah Edgecombe learnt that Leinster were visiting her home town, the memories came flooding back.
A limp and lacklustre occasion with an underwhelming encounter to match; this was exactly the kind of first impression the Guinness PRO14 could have done without in these parts.
The word from the Leinster dressing-room was that the Southern Kings' physicality stood out, but the hastily assembled local side has a lot to do to be able to make their impressive power count.
For the organisers of the Guinness PRO14, the scale of the challenge in expanding into new territories was fully exposed in Port Elizabeth yesterday as Leinster came and left with five championship points without anyone in this corner of South Africa really noticing.
This was billed as a historic occasion, but the extent of the job the Guinness PRO14 has in its expansion mission was laid bare in Port Elizabeth this afternoon.
Rob Kearney and Rory Best are in a race to be fit for Ireland's November internationals as the pair recover from hamstring injuries.
As he makes his way through the lobby of Leinster's swanky team hotel in an upmarket area of Johannesburg, in search of a quiet spot to chat, Rhys Ruddock is stopped by a local woman who wants to know if he is a rugby player.
Leinster coach Leo Cullen lamented the "oversight" that meant two New Zealand players were turned away at immigration on arrival in South Africa.
Leinster coach Leo Cullen has revealed that neither Isa Nacewa or Jamison Gibson-Park were scheduled to start tomorrow’s Guinness PRO14 clash with the Southern Kings as the province confirmed the duo will return to South Africa on Sunday.
Leinster head of rugby operations Guy Easterby has said the province take full responsibility for the "administrative error" that saw captain Isa Nacewa and scrum-half Jamison Gibson-Park denied access to South Africa on Wednesday.
As soon as they entered the Guinness PRO14, the Southern Kings went to the top of the stadium charts with the best the championship has to offer.
On Monday, Jamison Gibson-Park was one of two Leinster players put forward for media duty and the Kiwi scrum-half was decidedly upbeat about the prospect of heading back to South Africa.
Leinster's mini-tour of South Africa got off to the worst possible start last night when captain Isa Nacewa and scrum-half Jamison Gibson-Park were denied entry to the country and forced to return to Europe.
Leinster touch down in Johannesburg this morning without a slew of senior players after Leo Cullen confirmed that first-choice second-rows Devin Toner and Scott Fardy have remained in Ireland.
Leinster departed Dublin last night in the midst of the soft launch of the domestic season, but when they return from playing the Southern Kings and Cheetahs they will go right into the busy period of the campaign.
Leinster board the plane for South Africa this evening without two more senior internationals after first choice second-rows Devin Toner and Scott Fardy remained in Dublin as their wives are expecting their first children in the coming weeks.
Leinster are sweating on the results of a scan on Rob Kearney's hamstring amid fears the Ireland full-back could face a lengthy spell on the sidelines.
For many, the perceived glamour of the two new additions to the Guinness PRO14 has already worn off after four heavy defeats and yet the excitement in the Leinster squad as they prepare to depart for Johannesburg this evening is palpable.
Rob Kearney's troublesome hamstring will keep him out of Leinster’s two-match tour to South Africa and the province are waiting on scan results to determine how long the Ireland full-back will be sidelined.
The schedulers could have been kinder to the Guinness PRO14's newest faces but the Southern Kings and the Cheetahs have gone straight in at the deep end.
Eventually when it came to Leinster's abundance of back-row riches, something had to give. Eight internationals competing for three spots meant someone always ended up disappointed and last season Dominic Ryan decided it was time to seek a starting berth elsewhere.
This November represents the point at which the World Cup cycle pivots forward and Japan 2019 comes hurtling into view.
Leinster are excited about what Andrew Porter can do for them on the tighthead side of the scrum, but John Fogarty has insisted that patience is required as the powerful youngster continues to learn on the job.
Brian O'Driscoll believes Rassie Erasmus's impending mid-season departure from Munster could prove a disruptive force in their season.
As it struggles for oxygen between the conclusion of the GAA championships, the beginnings of the Premier League and the stuttering culmination of Ireland's World Cup qualification campaign, the rugby season at this time of year has an easy getting-to-know-you feel.
No one at Leinster was jumping up and down at the news that Robbie Henshaw and Garry Ringrose were ruled out for the start of the season, but this is a ruthless business and, for the up-and-comers hoping to make the grade in the absence of the Ireland pair, it's the kind of opening that doesn't come along too often.
Long gone and almost forgotten, the Border Reivers name rose from the ashes at UCD yesterday as Devin Toner sifted through his Leinster memories ahead of his 200th cap.
FOR so long, women’s rugby has operated on the fringes of Irish sporting life but this month, after years of incremental growth, it is ready to take centre stage.
Scans have revealed the extent to which Johnny Sexton bravely battled through the pain barrier during the Lions' third Test draw against New Zealand two weeks ago.
We're not in the Celtic League anymore, that's for sure.
The Guinness PRO12 is set to undergo wholesale changes in the coming season as it prepares to welcome two South African franchises into the competition.
IRFU chief executive Philip Browne has dismissed Pat Lam's criticism of the organisation's policy of including break clauses in coaches' contracts as he revealed that Munster director of rugby Rassie Erasmsus told his employers he was leaving in the spring; months before his departure was announced.
Although he refused to confirm the seemingly inevitable arrival of South African franchises Southern Kings and Cheetahs into the Guinness PRO12 from next season, IRFU chief executive Philip Browne said the competition has to expand if it is to keep pace with its rivals in England and France.
The 2016/17 campaign may have reached a conclusion on Saturday but the problems for Leinster and Ireland continue to mount ahead of next season after Garry Ringrose (pictured) was yesterday ruled out for up to five months after undergoing surgery on his shoulder.
As the Lions leave New Zealand having drawn a memorable series with the All Blacks, Ruaidhri O’Connor rates their individual performances
The clown nose was gone and the official garb swapped for civvies, but when Warren Gatland reported to the team hotel to fulfil his final media engagement of the tour yesterday he was in defiant mood.
At the end of 240 minutes of the most intense, aggressive and high-stakes rugby, the two teams were left wondering what to make of it all and the referee was once again the centre of attention.
Leinster and Ireland have been left counting the cost of a bruising Lions tour as they fret on injuries suffered by Sean O'Brien and Johnny Sexton in Saturday's final-Test draw.
He is looking forward to getting home to Wexford and tidying up some niggly injuries, but there must be part of Tadhg Furlong that wishes this season would never end.
When the final whistle sounded, the cauldron melted. Players in red and in black sank to their knees and an eerie silence descended over this corner of Auckland. After six weeks in New Zealand, the Lions leave with the respect of the locals - but they had come for the series.
Steve Hansen opted not to criticise referee Romain Poite for his controversial call to downgrade a potentially decisive penalty to a scrum in the closing stages of yesterday's epic 15-15 draw with the Lions, but the All Blacks coach made it clear that he felt the French referee had made a mistake.
After six weeks, 10 matches and an epic, absorbing Test series the Lions tour concluded in anti-climax with a draw that sees the two teams share the spoils.
It is easy, particularly when experienced through the prism of Sky Sports' hyperbole, to dismiss the Lions. As a concept it is archaic and out of sync with the modern game; it is squeezed on the schedule and increasingly difficult to pull together from an administrative and coaching point of view.
Sean O’Brien admits he feared the worst when he was cited after last Saturday’s second Test win over New Zealand, but believes the right decision was reached by the judicial panel.
Johnny Sexton reckons the Lions are getting the best out of a fit and firing Sean O'Brien.
Warren Gatland believes New Zealand are on the back foot ahead of tomorrow's decisive third Test in Auckland as he warned his Lions not to get 'caught with their pants down' as Ireland did in November.
They've already got three All Blacks in the house, but tomorrow's game is set to be a special occasion for the Barrett clan, once of Co Meath, as they prepare to watch Beauden, Scott and Jordie in black.
The plates have shifted beneath this series. Suddenly, Steve Hansen is talking in terms of a great All Black transition and Warren Gatland is claiming he's barely glanced at the New Zealand team-sheet.