Munster still at Europe's peak
MUNSTER are still the leading side in the ERC's latest Heineken Cup rankings list published last night.
Despite losing at the semi-final to Biarritz, Munster have a four-point lead over Leinster, who were also beaten at the penultimate stage this season.
However, should three-times champions Toulouse triumph over Munster's conquerors Biarritz in tomorrow's all-French final in Paris, they will leapfrog the Irish province and secure the No 1 ranking.
London Irish have taken a step back in time -- by actually signing up an Irish player!
Yesterday, they confirmed the signing of Terenure College player/coach Brian Blaney, who played 71 times for the Leinster club before falling out of favour.
The 28-year-old, also capped for Ireland Schools and 'A' team said: "I look forward to following in the footsteps of the great Irishmen who have played for the club."
Munster target George Smith will join Toulouse half-backs Byron Kelleher and Jean-Baptiste Elissalde in the Barbarians squad who will play Ireland in Thomond Park on June 4.
There are a wealth of back-row resources available to coaches Philippe Saint-Andre and Kingsley Jones, with Smith being joined by Martyn Williams, Xavier Rush and the previously confirmed Alan Quinlan.
Gareth Steenson, the former Ballymena and Ulster out-half, kicked three penalties to edge Exeter to a 9-6 first-leg lead in their English Championship promotion play-off against Bristol.