Tuesday 20 March 2018

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.

Irish Independent

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