Tuesday 12 December 2017

Leinster welcome new faces

Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

LEINSTER have confirmed their squad and coaching ticket ahead of Joe Schmidt's first season in charge of the province.

Many of the signings had been well-heralded ahead of yesterday's official announcement, with Ulster duo Isaac Boss and Ed O'Donoghue moving south to Dublin and South African Heinke van der Merwe beefing up the propping options.

Ireland U-20 back Andrew Conway has signed his first professional contract, while Academy graduates Brendan Macken, Jack McGrath, Niall Morris, Rhys Ruddock, Paul Ryan and Eoin Sheriff have penned development contracts with the Senior team.

With Chris Whitaker following Michael Cheika to Stade Francais and Kurt McQuilkin and Alan Gaffney also heading for the exit door, there has been considerable upheaval in the backroom team.

Guy Easterby will be team manager, while former New Zealand prop Greg Feek has signed a deal to become the senior team's Consultant Scrum Coach. Jono Gibbes continues as Forwards Coach, while Richie Murphy's role has been expanded to include skills as well as kicking responsibilities.

Leinster also announced record season-ticket sales of over 12,500.

Schmidt's first match in charge of the side comes on August 20 when they face Wasps in a pre-season friendly in Donnybrook. Leinster also travel to England to face Leicester the following Saturday at Welford Road.

Elsewhere, Ulster have signed Springboks forward Pedrie Wannenburg (29) on a two-year deal. The move was agreed after Ulster confirmed that Xavier Rush is remaining at Cardiff.

Meanwhile, Wanderers Rugby Club will host a Tag Rugby blitz in aid of GOAL on Saturday July 10. It costs €200 to enter a team and those interested are asked to contact leinster_comps@yahoo.ie.

Irish Independent

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