Monday 23 October 2017

O'Leary set for RDS return against Leinster as Henry pens deal

Tomas O’Leary. Photo: Sportsfile
Tomas O’Leary. Photo: Sportsfile
David Kelly

David Kelly

Ireland's 2009 Grand-Slam winning scrum-half Tomás O'Leary will be fit for Montpellier's Champions Cup tie against Leinster in the RDS this Friday with French international centre Benjamin Fall also due to return after being out with a thigh injury.

O'Leary featured in the first fixture between the sides before Christmas but his Top 14 stint for the side he joined from Munster ended after just 30 minutes when he subsequently injured his knee against Racing 92.

Montpellier are third in the Top 14 title race as they seek a vital win this week that, combined with an expected home victory against wounded Northampton a week later, would be sufficient to chart their progress towards the last eight.

However, Jake White's men must, for this week at least, plan without the services of Cameroonian lock Robins Tchalé-Watchou, key Springbok front-row duo Jacques and Bismarck du Plessis, and French international centre Alexandre Dumoulin.

Glasgow Warriors are likely to welcome back Stuart Hogg at full-back for their decisive Pool One clash against Munster at Scotstoun's 4G pitch on Saturday as they seek to avenge their second-round humbling in Limerick.

"It's a massive game," says Peter Murchie, who may have to relocate despite a try brace in last week's consummate Cardiff win due to Hogg's return. "We've played them twice already this season and lost both times.

"We know how big the game is and that they'll come flying out at us. We've got to be more up for it than them. It's going to take our best performance of the season."

Glasgow have rediscovered their momentum in Europe since that loss and, after a sticky start to the league, a run of five successive wins has lifted them into the play-off positions but coach Gregor Townsend is aware that Munster is a step up in class.

"The Cardiff win felt like a performance we're very much capable of but there are still areas to improve," said the incoming Scotland coach.

"In defence we will need to work harder because we did concede a few line breaks. Munster will come at us with ball in hand, they are very physical.

"It will be a real test of how we deal with their high balls and their set-piece challenge. We will have to be better if we want to win that game."

Ulster back-row Chris Henry has fended off hinted interest from overseas by committing to the province until 2019 in a new two-year deal announced last night.

Budgets

"The player market is becoming increasingly competitive as a result of big budgets in France and England, but I'm delighted, as I'm sure the supporters will be, that we've been able to retain Chris until at least the summer of 2019," said director of rugby Les Kiss in a nod to the unconfirmed reports of interest in the player's signature from elsewhere.

"Chris has been a key player for Ulster Rugby for a number of years and he represents everything that is good about the organisation.

"He has been unfortunate with injuries and illness over the past couple of seasons but he has worked extremely hard to get back onto the pitch and I've no doubt that he'll be a massive asset for us over the next couple of seasons."

Ireland Sevens coach Anthony Eddy has named a 14-man squad for a two-day training camp as the build-up to the summer Grand Prix series continues.

Irish Independent

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