Leinster Rugby is one of the four professional provincial rugby teams from the island of Ireland.
It’s Tuesday morning in the front square of Trinity College and a young man with a huge frame negotiates his e-bike across the cobbles, past the tourists and the students to our meeting point beneath the Campanile.
There was a touch of football’s English Premier League about last weekend’s opener to the URC; less in what happened on the field and more in the mood music coming from the four coaches of Ireland’s provinces.
Leinster have handed a debut to summer signings Jason Jenkins and Charlie Ngatai in their United Rugby Championship opener against Zebre at Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi (KO 1pm Irish time - LIVE on RTÉ, Premier Sports and URC TV).
Around about 6pm on Friday evening when the sky went dark yet again, and big fat globs of rain were pinging off the windows, we decided to stop dithering and accept the gift offered by the bookies. What’s rare sometimes is wonderful, and their pricing of the Leinster versus Bulls tie was wrapped in colourful paper and finished off with a bow. The South Africans were given a 22-point start.
The last great empire to fall was the British Empire, which really started to crumble after World War 2. It might seem over the top to think of Leinster as an empire, given the lack of European silverware in the last few years, but not in terms of their dominance of our domestic competition — winning the last four and topping the league table year on year. Leinster have been the dominant force in the United Rugby Championship (URC), along with being consistent and genuine contenders in Europe.
Leinster head coach Leo Cullen has admitted he’s not reading too much into anything opposing coach Ronan O'Gara has said in his several media commitments this week, as he looks to plot the downfall of La Rochelle in the Heineken Champions Cup final.
After previously pouring cold water on the prospect, the lure of home has proved too alluring for Felipe Contepomi as confirmation arrived this morning that the Leinster assistant coach will reunite with his former boss Michael Cheika as the Pumas’ assistant coach.
Not long before the kick-off to this ultimately lopsided European sem-final Leo Cullen was asked if he reckoned Munster had done his side a favour in dragging Toulouse through an energy-sapping schlepp before getting to the final whistle last weekend.
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