European Teams for the Weekend

Edinburgh vs Munster

Date: Sat 30 March 2019 12:45 (GMT)
Venue: BT Murrayfield Stadium
Live on Channel 4

Richard Cockerill has gone for form in the selection of his forward pack to face the might of Munster, foregoing a second row replacement in favour of both Jamie Ritchie and Magnus Bradbury on the bench. It’s a strong group of players and the bench looks great too. If any Scottish pack of the last decade could stand up to a Munste/monstering, it’ll be this one.

In the backs it’s a little bit different with Darcy Graham sure to be the centre of attention as the last line of defence at fullback. The Prince of Hawick is picked ahead of Blair Kinghorn (injured) and Dougie Fife (??). Watch out for Peter O’Mahony’s elbows.

The centre pairing of Dean and Johnstone that got them to this point is restored for the big game without disruption from either Matt Scott or Mark Bennett who are now fit, although Bennett sits on the bench.

Musnter also have their strongest team. If we can avoid the 10-man rugby they were clearly rehearsing last week in the PRO14, it could be a great game in front of a record crowd and on free-to-air telly too.

Saying that, if Edinburgh can win against the bookies odds, the home fans probably won’t care.

Edinburgh Rugby: 15. Darcy Graham, 14. Damien Hoyland, 13. James Johnstone, 12. Chris Dean, 11. Duhan Van Der Merwe, 10. Jaco van der Walt, 9. Henry Pyrgos; 1. Pierre Schoeman, 2. Stuart McInally (capt), 3. WP Nel, 4. Ben Toolis, 5. Grant Gilchrist, 6. John Barclay, 7. Hamish Watson, 8. Viliame Mata.
Replacements:16. Ross Ford, 17. Allan Dell, 18. Simon Berghan, 19. Magnus Bradbury, 20. Jamie Ritchie, 21. Charlie Shiel, 22. Simon Hickey, 23. Mark Bennett.

Munster: 15. Mike Haley, 14. Andrew Conway, 13. Chris Farrell, 12. Rory Scannell, 11. Keith Earls, 10. Joey Carbery, 9. Conor Murray, 1. Dave Kilcoyne, 2. Niall Scannell, 3. John Ryan, 4. Jean Kleyn, 5. Tadhg Beirne, 6. Peter O’Mahony (c), 7. Jack O’Donoghue, 8. CJ Stander.
Replacements:16. Rhys Marshall, 17. Jeremy Loughman, 18. Stephen Archer, 19. Billy Holland, 20. Arno Botha, 21. Alby Mathewson, 22. Tyler Bleyendaal, 23. Dan Goggin,

Referee: Pascal Gauzère (FFR)

Saracens vs Glasgow

Straight after that one on Saturday is a resumption of hostilities between the players (and friendships between the fans) as Glasgow aim to redefine insanity by trying this fixture again and getting a different result.

Saracens have their full team out and it will require a monumental effort from Glasgow to turn this one around.

The surprise for Glasgow is perhaps Jonny Gray on the bench but the return of Stuart Hogg and George Horne as well as the continuing form of Ali Price gives hope that Glasgow can impose some of the swashbuckling style that suits them so well.

It’s also a huge opportunity for Stafford McDowell at 13 alongside man of the moment Sam Johnson, with both Huw Jones and Nick Grigg injured, as is Tommy Seymour.

The chances of an all Scottish semi-final are slim, but we should see some great rugby in the process of deciding that outcome.

Date: Sat 30 March 2019 15:15 (GMT)
Venue: Allianz Park
Live on BT Sport

Saracens: 15. Alex Goode, 14. Sean Maitland, 13. Alex Lozowski, 12. Brad Barritt (capt), 11. Liam Williams, 10. Owen Farrell, 9. Ben Spencer, 1. Richard Barrington, 2. Jamie George, 3. Christian Judge, 4. Will Skelton, 5. George Kruis, 6. Maro Itoje, 7. Jackson Wray, 8. Billy Vunipola.
Replacements:16. Tom Woolstencroft, 17. Titi Lamositele, 18. Vincent Koch, 19. Nick Isiekwe, 20. Schalk Burger, 21. Tom Whiteley, 22. Nick Tompkins, 23. David Strettle.

Glasgow Warriors: 15. Stuart Hogg, 14. Kyle Steyn, 13. Stafford McDowell, 12. Sam Johnson, 11. Rory Hughes, 10. Adam Hastings, 9. Ali Price; 1. Oli Kebble, 2. Fraser Brown, 3. Zander Fagerson, 4. Tim Swinson, 5. Scott Cummings, 6. Robert Harley, 7. Callum Gibbins (c), 8. Matt Fagerson.
Replacements:16. Kevin Bryce, 17. Jamie Bhatti, 18. Siosiua Halanukonuka, 19. Jonny Gray, 20. Chris Fusaro, 21. George Horne, 22. Peter Horne, 23. Niko Matawalu,

Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)

Unavailable players: Bruce Flockhart (back), Nick Grigg (ankle surgery), Huw Jones (knee), Lee Jones (knee), Kiran McDonald (back), D’Arcy Rae (ankle), Tommy Seymour (ribs), Matt Smith (shoulder), George Turner (head), DTH van der Merwe (shoulder) and Ryan Wilson (knee).    

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Alan Kerr is a long time rugby lover and occasional player for Broughton FP RFC. Site co-founder Al prides himself on offering the "man on the bus" view of Scottish Rugby!

60 comments on “European Teams for the Weekend

  1. Neil on

    Well… some real wildcard selections for both Edinburgh & Glasgow.

    Only real surprise for Edinburgh is Hoyland on wing with Graham at 15 & 2 backrows on the bench.
    a physical backline with a nice blend of everything for glasgow, might of had Steyn on bench with Niko starting though.
    Big surprise is Gray not starting although mabey that is rewarding the form of Cummings.

  2. Sam Benedict on

    Nathan Fowles is off to Ealing Trailfinders. That’s been announced by the Trailfinders on their official Twitter.

    Gordon Reid, Finn Russell, Richie Gray, Duncan Weir, Byron McGuigan, Rory Hutchinson, Nick Haining, Alun Walker, Elliot Millar-Mills and Jack Owlett all start this weekend; Greig Laidlaw, Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, Scott Steele, Cornell du Preez and Josh Strauss are benched for their respective clubs.

    London Scottish team to play Doncaster Knights tomorrow:

    Ingall; Stevenson, Griffiths, Richie Vernon, Bobby Beattie; Jennings, Hoadley; Harris, Saunders, Palframan; Hodge, Vukasinovic; Uanivi, Tyas; Bright (C)
    (Adams, Brodley, Phil Cringle, Wakeling, Barton, Grayson Hart, Mantella)

  3. Not rocket science on

    Both teams with benches to unload. Looking forward to England v Scotland Part II and the moment Matawalu, Horne and Gray enter. .

  4. Stu2 on

    Embra choke.

    Terrible tactics against a one-dimensional team – Schoeman’s brainfart didn’t lose Embra the game, the woeful Pyrgos and tactics did.

    Very poor performance.

    Embra desperately need a SH for next season.

  5. csc on

    Edin vs Munster: Entertaining gritty game. Edin showed that they can play power rugby and fast rugby, but only really bothered Munster when they increased the pace -a strategic failure then in persisting with slow ball and pointless box kicks. Once again, speed and tactical variety lacking in Scottish rugby.

  6. Sotonsaltire on

    Glasgow are pretty poor. Lack of skills and strength.

    Needs a refresh which probably won’t happen.

  7. Busy Little Bee on

    Edinburgh blew it. As with the test team it’s daft to pass up the shots at 3 points, especially when the kicker is as good as VDW. Typical Scottish team, naive and poor decision making.

    Glasgow wheeled out a proper trojan horse for Edinburgh with the Pyrgos deal. Meanwhile the superb G.Horne gets 5 minutes at the end with Glasgow a million points down, such a waste.

  8. Stuart Kinnear on

    Completely unacceptable result in the Glasgow match – the players and staff have to take a long hard look at themselves for that.

    Home town Owens didn’t help but the basically capitulated – really poor stuff.

      • Allan on

        Owens was a tad lenient with Sarries going off their feet at the ruck. Barrett in particular never goes AT the ball or supports his weight. Even dallaglio had a hard time making excuses for his illegal jackal technique. And that last forward pass he called was a ridiculous decision. That being said, weeg were waaaay too passive. Harley was an embarrassment today. Barely pro14 standard nowadays. Time to pension him off methinks

  9. Fraser on

    I’m much more annoyed with the Edinburgh result – Munster are not anything special and that was a game they should have won.

    Saracens away is a massive task, and they scored some stunning tries and dominated in the forwards. Glasgow were never going to win unless Saracens had a really off day.

    Good to see Hogg back and looking fairly sharp (kicking to touch aside…) and George Horne giving quick ball and running great support lines.

    • Stu2 on

      They scored one stunning try – the other two were against a team 30+ pts up.

      Imagine what George Horne could do to that Embra side?

    • Not rocket science on

      Hogg got caught in a sheet sprint for the line on his break. Looked well off the pace. Embarrassing being at the Allianz today.

      • Campbell B on

        Hogg back from injury and is a few games away from getting to his contract at Exeter. He is probably not 100 percent fit. No one wanted to make it a hard game.

        Contrast Graham and McInally for Edinburgh , who have everything to gain by staying in the cup. Glasgow have the Pro14 to work on. Let’s celebrate the cup exit and focus on the League.

  10. pragmatic optomist on

    Disappointing day for both sides. I was hoping that they both make a statement about the state of Scottish rugby, but it was not to be today. Particularly disappointed in the Edinburgh, result, as it was a game they had more than enough possession to win . The slowness at the breakdown was excruciating. If this is a pre-prepared plan, it’s a really defensive one and only moves the line forward while giving away valuable possession. Would like to see more attacking intent.
    Sarries away, is probably the toughest game for any European side at the moment, so they were not expected to win. That said, Glasgow didn’t do themselves justice today. Not a great performance.
    Now they need to concentrate on the Pro 14.

  11. Rj on

    A minor point in the grand scheme of things really, but why was Charlie shield completely gassed after a few mins on the pitch? He looked out on his feet. Was he injured?

  12. Saint4805 on

    Edinburgh need a decent SH and Glasgow short of quality forwards. Common sense suggests that G Horne should move to Edinburgh with Ritchie or Bradbury moving the other way. With Barclay now fit I think this will optimise game time for them all.

    Can see Cockers being lined up to succeed Townsend if he continues to progress with Edinburgh. He’s outshining Rennie by some way

    • Andy on

      Ah, the old “for the good of the Scottish game” (Edinburgh entitlement) line! 😂
      Suggest exposing more players than is necessary to a Hodge coached backline in no way serves the good of the Scottish game.
      Perhaps this is where Edin management should focus their energy instead of enviously bumping their gums about what Glasgow have #developedthemselves?
      It worked getting Pyrgos (and Bennett) but more is required?

      Have they splurged all Glasgow’s Hogg/Russell/Nakarawa cash on the new ground, the Fijians and Barclay?

  13. DJB on

    I watched both games and although I wanted both Scottish teams to win, I’m a Glasgow fan. I thought Edinburgh played well and probably deserved to win. They came up against an incredibly effective defensive effort from Munster.
    Glasgow, on the other hand were poor – way too many mistakes and they lacked their usual inventive prowess. They were woeful under the high ball.

    • Andy on

      Edinburgh did play well but the amount of box kicking was a joke..no need for it….far too predictable…that’s what lost Edinburgh the game. Not until the last 10 minutes when they stopped doing it they looked their best. Munster should not have won away from home

  14. Warks Scot on

    Not Henry’s best game – shame Ben Vellacott has been snapped up by Wasps as he could have added much needed competition for the 9 shirt (maybe even tempt SHC back or perhaps too much water under the bridge now). Ball from break down seemed very slow at times as others have mentioned, giving the guys in red far too much time to get their well-drilled defence set up – presumably someone would tell the team not to play like that unless it was a stipulated tactic from the coaches? Too much possession lost as well – fumbles, ball lost in contact, really can’t afford to be that charitable.
    Talking of exiles, a backline comprising Cameron Redpath, James Lang (remember him?), & Hutchison wouldn’t be a bad addition to the national pool?

  15. TEE CEE on

    just watched the Edinburgh munster game.looks like the Irish have caught the Welsh disease of falling down screaming like a five year old girl and once again the ref has fallen for it.

      • Referendum on

        Yes it was ridiculous. That happens what 40 to 50 times in a rugby match??? All about the fall and the treatment needed by the chap for throwing himself and therefore injuring himself rather than other way around. It’s a disgrace. Hogg has been injured by clear foul play and got up and tried to play on. Scotland got nothing but a five point swing for being as honest as possible. Irish players seem to know how to cheat well. We need to learn fast. Why on Earth was a penalty reversed for such an incident? Completely crazy. I’m not sure Munster would have won without this moment. 6 points down with 10 to play. I think Edinburgh would have held out

  16. Bazz on

    Things Edinburgh need to fix if they want to win silverware.

    1 – Get a better 9
    2 – Kick points when they are on offer
    3 – Use the backs more
    4 – Stop slowing their own ball down
    5 – New attack coach (who can also address points 3 & 4).

    On the plus side I thought Hoyland played quite well. The difference in attitude between him and DVM was palpable. With Seymour, Maitland, Mcguigan & Jones reaching the tail end of their careers he may well see himself become a possibility for Scotland soon. Graham had another great game and is now entering the same conversation as Hogg and Russell in terms of quality.

    I do however, have my doubts over Dean and Johnstone when it comes to big games against big opposition. Despite them being starved off ball for the first 70 minutes they were quite limited in attack. Hopefully we can get the Scott/Bennett axis going next season and a game plan where we actually utilise them.

    • Greenhorn on

      I thought Dean had a good game was it only me that thought Earls first try should not of counted as Stander pole axed Prgros illegally not wanting to sound bitter but Scotland Scottish teams never seem to get these decisions.

    • Neil on

      I think Edinburgh went well beyond expectations if you were to judge them from start of season, they are progressing nicely & im hoping we see some real speed and flair develop in the backline next season to complement the forwards power, for me that will define wether cockerill is a good but limited coach or a great coach.

      On Glasgow…. it just once again highlights the need to buy-in some power locks/backrows, but we have been saying this since Nakarawa & Strauss left.

  17. john on

    Edinburgh forwards fine, well coached & capable of mixing it with most teams. The backs are another story, I don’t know why VDW isn’t tried at 12, with Hickie given a run at 10. The ball is so slow its easy to defend against, the box kick is a good option to have but Edinburgh overuse it. A new SH is really required. Not sure if its as easy as blaming Hodge for the back struggles but there’s something needs fixed. Glasgow showed more incisiveness in the 1st 90 seconds than Edinburgh showed in the entire game

    • Stu2 on

      The backs were mostly given dreadful slow ball from the forwards and Pyrgos – they were not to blame for the defeat on Sat.

      The tactics were terrible – Embra are not Leicester, Cockerill needs to understand this.

  18. Rob on

    Once more, when the business end comes along, the Scottish sides can’t handle it. Lack of mental strength? Also, based on above comments re Edinburgh game, is there a lack of rugby intelligence to change the game plan when they see it not working …. or do they not have the nous to change????

    • Csc on

      Think back to RWC 2015, Japan vs SA. The Blossoms varied their tactics throughout and not once delivered slow ball from the breakdown. I cannot see any strategic advantage in Scottish rugby persisting with one dimensional, ponderous rugby. RWC 2019 could be a short tour unless this attitude changes.

  19. TeamCam on

    Edinburgh really should’ve beaten Munster. Gauzere was dreadful as usual, but, even so, Edinburgh should have won that. The pack were excellent, as was wee Darcy. Pyrgos had a poor game (what was he thinking with that deliberate knock on?!), Johnstone and vdM did, too.

    Murray should’ve been YCed (like Gauzere did to Dunbar for the same thing in Dublin 2016) and the first try chalked off as a result. Similarly, Beirne should’ve been YCed for his pathetic, shameful dive. Still, if you’re looking for a reasonable performance from Gauzere…

    • Bazz on

      What I don’t get is that we had penalty advantage so not sure why the penalty was reversed for something so minor. If Munster knock the ball on and then we knock the ball on its our scrum as they knocked on first.

      With the first Munster try, Pyrgos infringed first with a delibrate knock on…then murray infirnged with an illegal ‘tackle’…if you are going to reverse penalties for foul play then that needed to be looked at and the first try should not have stood.

      P.s I personally think both Pyrgos and Murray should seen yellow…and Beirne

      • Merlot on

        Penalties are reversed if it’s deemed foul play. Which it was. Beirne made a meal of it but Schoeman should be ashamed of himself. This lost us the match – Munster kicked to the corner and scored in the next period of play. We had a kickable penalty and were 13-10 up.
        As for Murray’s tackle on Pyrgos – it may be a penalty offence but certainly not a YC. The ref should, however, have disallowed the try and re-set (or reversed) the penalty as it was interfering with a potential defender.
        Edinburgh had done enough to win that. For those crying about how slow the ball was and why we kept on hammering away at the forwards – it worked last week against Leinster. We were just a bit less accurate in looking after the ball this weekend. Should’ve taken the points from the first penalty though. There should be a different mindset for knockout rugby and I didn’t see it.
        Disappointed by the result but thought the performance against a side like Munster was pretty good.
        On the other hand, disappointed by Glasgow performance, but not the result!
        Either way, cant see anyone beating Saracens this year (at theirs) so may as well concentrate on the league.

      • TeamCam on

        Merlot: as I said, it was pretty much the same offence Gauzere yellow carded Dunbar for in 2016. Regardless, going by his own performance in this match, he needed to reverse the penalty and disallow the try. In fact, the scrum had yet to disengage when Earls took his tap, so he should have called play back anyway. And it looked dubious that vdM carried the ball over the line.

        As for the Beirne incident: yes, it was dumb of Schoeman, but it isn’t what lost Edinburgh the match; Gauzere’s response did. That he even countenanced Beirne’s behaviour, let alone rewarded it is worthy of the utmost contempt. That’s two awful calls from the ref that led directly to tries.

        Stu: it worked against Munster, too. They were dominated. Edinburgh’s pack is better and played better than Munster’s in every area except ‘streetwiseness’. As soon as they get a bit more dirtbag in there, they’ll be just fine. And maybe then they can start trusting the backs a bit…

      • Stu2 on

        Sorry Teamcam it didn’t work against Munster – we rarely had their defence in much bother and I felt our forwards could have battered away for hours without scoring.

        We are not Leicester – yes Embra have a good pack, but we should be playing a mixed game – especially with they have a SH who cant box kick.

      • FF on

        Teamcam – after almost every game there is an incident or two you point to as the difference between winning not losing. I’m not necessarily saying you’re wrong but quality teams take the ref out of the game. Too often Scotland, Edinburgh or Glasgow give themselves an opportunity to win but don’t take it whether it is game management, unforced errors or a lack of clinical finishing. They are the reasons we still struggle in the most competitive environments and that is what our teams need to fix. Everyone has a good moan about refs, inconsistent decision are just part of the game we have to swallow.

      • TeamCam on

        FF: I take your point, but any half-decent ref (e.g. Owens) would have penalised Beirne for diving, not rewarded his illegal play. Munster didn’t take the ref out of the game; they benefited from poor refereeing. I totally agree that our teams often beat themselves – look at the 6N games we lost! – but I’d add that some of that is a result of pressure created by shonky refereeing (cf. the Ireland game) which disproportionately affects our teams as we’ve got worse reputations. It’s just galling that the first Glasgow/Sarries game was decided by the referee, the Edinburgh/Munster game was decided by the referee etc.. Why don’t we benefit from home advantage as much as everyone else?! Even Benetton do…

    • david on

      I’d argue with the word ‘should’, would agree reluctantly with ‘could’ but only with serious caveats. Starting to think Edinburgh vs Munster had some similarity with the 1974 rumble-in-the-jungle with the clever stuff from Munster comfortably playing rope-a-dope to the brain dead box kicking of deadinburgh. Deadinburgh might simply as a whole not be smart enough to tactically adjust or cute enough to exploit referees the way others do (and Munster did), no prizes for second.
      Ask Will Carling about the importance of plan B and his caustic honesty about his team loosing the championship to Scotland in 1990. It looks like his words are wasted up here. I’m sick of listening to that tune before internationals, with the line “But we can still rise now, And be the nation again” – leaves me ready again for dull witted junk to be followed post match by well practiced facile excuses. Perhaps the 6N does need relegation to allow the 3rd fate to fail and face reality.

    • Campbell B on

      Is there a referee anywhere that like’s us? Damn few and they are aw deid it would seem!

      We seem to hate them all, French, Irish, Welsh and on and on. It is embarrassing.

      Joubert was in a class of his own, not incompent, knew exactly what he was doing.

      He really is the only one I can say deserves discredit. We should set him aside and leave him there, alone.

      Some one has to lose , it was us this week. Beathen by better sides , no shame n that. Time to move on , Pro14 to close out and a world cup to get into.

      Stop blaming the refs, we are better than that.

    • TeamCam on

      There are very few good referees. Owens and Barnes are generally good. I think Whitehouse has been good this season. I thought the referee for the France/Scotland game was good. Matthew Carley and Luke Pearce seem promising. But that’s about it.

      The thing is, we suffer disproportionately from refereeing ‘errors’. That’s partly because our captains aren’t good at talking to refs, partly because we’re not streetwise enough and partly because we’ve been rubbish for so long we’ve got a bad reputation. But there are some games in which we are not beaten by the better team on the day; we’re beaten by the referee.

      And, for the record, I don’t think Joubert could have done anything different regarding the intentional offside (although he could have told Skeen to sod off when he recommended a YC for Maitland #neverforget).

  20. JohnMc on

    I’ve never seen myself as a boo-boy, but I must admit I started to join in the ‘get on with it!’ cries from home fans as time and time again the delivery from ruck was slowed so that a) Munster could jog back into defensive line and b) Pyrgos could launch a 2/6d Standard Fireworks rocket mainly into the arms of a Munster defender. Just so frustratingly predictable, unimaginative and more often than not ineffective.
    This wasn’t solely why we lost a game we should have won, but it certainly assisted a Munster game plan which could have been based around something like, ‘tough it out, and wait for Edinburgh to make inevitable mistakes’. Also sure I remember in the first ten minutes or so the ignoring of a huge overlap wide right while the forwards were trying to batter their way over under the posts.
    Basically, it was a waste of a fine forward effort on Saturday, and Edinburgh simply must find a way to introduce more variety into half back and midfield attacking play.

  21. Gavin Barr on

    It seemed to me that in his first try Keith Earls took the penalty kick way ahead of the point where the penalty was committed. Am ah right or a meringue?

  22. BorderBadger on

    It wasn’t Schoeman’s idiocy that cost Embra that match. Although it was idiocy at that time in that position.
    It wasn’t Berne’s disgraceful ‘dive’ either. Although it was utterly disgraceful and he should have been reprimanded for it.
    It wasn’t even Gauzere’s double standards in not pulling their first try back for Murray’s foul play but reversing the penalty for Schoeman’s. Although it was utter double standards and dreadful inconsistent refereeing.

    What cost Embra this game, in my opinion, was either the tactics or the player that decided to allow Munster’s defence all the time they needed to reset at every ruck on Embra’s ball; even when in attack within their 22. This meant the only options were to ‘truck it up’ or put in another pointless, poorly executed box kick.

    It is testament to the work of the pack and some of the backs (Wee mad Darcy take a bow!) that, in spite of that, Embra were still in with a shout of winning at the end.

  23. pytelium on

    the majority of posters on here after every loss moan about the referee or the opposition’s foul tactics instead of analyzing the real reasons for the loss. A few posters touch on the shortcomings of the home side.

    • Alanyst on

      Well, don’t see much moaning about the Glasgow game, which I thought was played in good spirit throughout, despite being one-sided.

      Murray, O’Mahony, Beirne, Earls…all ‘proud’ Munstermen who will take what they can get, do what they think they can get away with, and have few scruples about doing so.

      Its not a new phenomenon. Edinburgh should be aware of this and could have adjusted better and also had a good chat with ref before game (does that still happen?)

  24. Niall B. on

    Best news of the weekend: Richie Gray, barring a dropped ball at the lineout, was excellent for the full 80 minutes in Racing-Toulouse.

  25. pragmatic optomist on

    After the breast-beating about the Euro games, we’re back to Pro 14 this weekend.
    The Glasgow pack need to up their game to beat a revived Ulster and do themselves and Edinburgh a favour. A win for Glasgow at all costs, even without a bonus point. Edinburgh’s away game to the Scarlets is difficult but ‘winnable’. They’re a fine team when they have all their top players, but seem to be going through a transitional season after losing a number of top players. A must win game for Edinburgh too.
    Benneton are away to Leinster, so it depends what kind of team Leinster put out.
    All to play for, but semi finalists should be nearer after this.

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