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Leinster out-half Johnny Sexton says that the Champions Cup final against Saracens will be the 'biggest battle' of his career.
Munster have distanced themselves from a spectator who confronted Billy Vunipola on the pitch after the Champions Cup semi-final at the Rioch Arena in Coventry.
I was listening to Frank Skinner talk about his most difficult gigs a few weeks back.
If you were scripting the Champions Cup this season then the last scene would involve Leinster, the defending champions, against Saracens, back-to-back winners in 2016 and 2017.
Leinster take on Toulouse in the Champions Cup semi-final at the Aviva Stadium with the winner set to face Saracens in the decider in Newcastle. The game gets under way at 15.15 and you can follow all the action in our live blog.
In a battle between the two most successful sides in Champions Cup history, Toulouse must not be too loose. French rugby's aristocrats have rediscovered their joie de vivre this season but sometimes they get carried away.
Leinster have been dealt a late blow ahead of today's Champions Cup semi-final against Toulouse after flanker Rhys Ruddock was ruled out of the game.
Alex Goode says that Saracens' last Heineken Champions Cup defeat a year ago helped "fuel the fire" for another concerted European title challenge.
Unlike a good number of folks fetching up to Lansdowne Road this afternoon, Devin Toner has been around long enough to remember the Border Reivers.
Saracens star Billy Vunipola said that it was 'quite scary' when he was confronted by a Munster fan after the final whistle of the Champions Cup semi-final at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry.
Warren Gatland is to be reappointed as head coach of the British and Irish Lions for the tour of South Africa in 2021 - but the move will not rule him out of taking over the England job from Eddie Jones.
Munster suffered another semi-final defeat in Europe - their seventh on the bounce starting with the defeat by Leinster in 2009 - when they were well beaten (32-16) by Saracens in brilliant sunshine at Coventry's Ricoh Arena yesterday.
Munster coach Johann van Graan had no complaints as he left the Ricoh Arena following another crushing semi-final defeat.
Tournament organisers have condemned a spectator who appeared to confront England star Billy Vunipola following Saracens' Heineken Champions Cup semi-final victory over Munster.
Saracens stand between Munster and a place in the Champions Cup final in Coventry this afternoon. The game kicks off at 3pm and you can follow the action in our live blog.
SATURDAY, March 30 was all going to plan for Tadhg Beirne. Having played a key role in a tight European quarter-final win, he and his Munster team-mates lingered on the pitch to savour a magic moment before repairing to the dressing-room to begin celebrating and looking ahead to the battles to come.
It's never a good look for a referee when the captain of a team comes across as the more authoritative figure in a disciplinary situation. So it was in Treviso last Friday night when referee Ben Whitehouse gave a yellow card to Benetton centre Tommaso Benvenuti for a red-card tackle on Stephen Archer. The Munster captain for the game felt this was a decision worth pursuing.
What has gone before matters little now, the straitjacket effect of European semi-finals often puts the brakes on sides for whom free-wheeling comes naturally.
Peter O'Mahony has called on his Munster team to produce an era-defining performance against Saracens to overcome the loss of Joey Carbery and Keith Earls and end their 11-year wait for a European final.
Munster's head coach Johann van Graan speaks frequently about resetting to zero at the start of each week as a way of shifting focus from one match to another.
It's a simple, yet devastatingly effective game-plan - get your most lethal strike runner on the ball as often as possible.
THE woman approached tentatively for the man was distracted by the sights and sounds that surrounded him.
London Irish secured promotion back to the Gallagher Premiership after recording a 46-7 victory over Richmond.
Munster are backing Darren Sweetnam to step into the breach and perform once again after losing Keith Earls for tomorrow’s Heineken Champions Cup semi-final against Saracens.
Saracens have received the 19-stone boost of a fit-again Mako Vunipola with the England prop returning for his first match in more than two months to start Saturday’s Heineken Champions Cup semi-final against Munster Rugby.
Chris Farrell admits Munster's inability to progress beyond the semi-finals has become a concern that will influence their approach to Saturday's Champions Cup clash with Saracens.
James Lowe has been selected to start for Leinster in their semi-final against Toulouse on Sunday (3.15) at the Aviva Stadium.
Munster have been dealt a huge blow ahead of tomorrow's Champions Cup semi-final meeting with Saracens with the news that Keith Earls has been ruled out through injury.
The talk of the town may be Toulouse in the Aviva on Sunday in the semi-final of the Champions Cup but for Leinster hooker James Tracy the lingering pain of a first defeat of the season at home at the RDS Arena still hangs.
When a coach of Regis Sonnes' stature turned up in West Cork, the people of Bandon could hardly believe their luck.
The tale of two 10s, Owen Farrell and Tyler Bleyendaal, will provide a fascinating dynamic to the Saracens v Munster Champions Cup semi-final.
Since their loss to Racing 92 in last year's Champions Cup semi-final, the Munster players will have been counting down the 363 days until their next shot at reaching a European final. After a lot of hard work their chance arrives again tomorrow, but if anything the challenge is even greater this year against Saracens.
If you were to put a positive spin on the last two games, Leinster have repaired their squad physically.
Ian Madigan condemned Saracens to a fifth straight away defeat in their domestic competition, as Mark McCall's side warmed up for their Champions Cup semi-final against Munster with a narrow 23-21 defeat to Bristol Bears.
Cashel are in All-Ireland League Division 2A play-off action when they welcome Navan to Spafield tomorrow.
Eoin McCann had to leave Ireland to really appreciate rugby but when he returned to live in Limerick he was determined to stay involved in the game.
Tadhg Beirne, Joey Carbery and Peter O'Mahony have been nominated for the 2019 Munster Rugby Awards which take place next Tuesday evening, at the University Concert Hall in Limerick.
Ireland could really do with an out-and-out openside specialist in the Rugby World Cup this year but they won't have Munster's finest PRO14 poacher at their disposal.
The Ballyseedy Home & Garden Volunteer of the Month for March was awarded to Tramore RFC all-rounder Stephen Butler for his continued involvement in several aspects of the Waterford club.
This is an incredible week for the club. The goal coming into the Champions Cup was to get a home quarter-final and ideally a home semi-final.
1. What boots do you wear?
Tomorrow evening we'll know if we have a Champions Cup final to look forward to, but before that we have a massive challenge ahead of us, and a game that we're all excited about.
Before the teams have been named, the bookies have come down firmly on the side of Saracens for tomorrow's Heineken Champions Cup semi-final. Those pundits who aren't guided by their own loyalties are generally veering towards the English side progressing from the Coventry clash.
Enniscorthy are the club on everyone's lips at the moment.
Every sporting professional desires to delay the inevitable day when they must call time, but theirs is so often a forlorn plea.
Toulouse will be returning to Dublin this weekend with a point to prove after a disappointing showing in Round 5 of the pool stage at the RDS.
All the way up through the ranks Jack Conan was the most important player on his team. At 26, he is assuming that mantle for Leinster.
Meánscoil Iognáid Rís - the Christian Brothers School in Naas - has been to the forefront of educating boys for close to 150 years.
Ireland rugby captain Rory Best says his retirement will be hardest on his children who will no longer be able to walk with him as he leads out the national team.
With the sparkling record that both sides have in the Champions Cup, it won't come as a shock that Leinster and Toulouse have history.
Keith Earls is expected to be ruled out of Munster's Champions Cup semi-final against Saracens tomorrow (3.0).
Enniscorthy will play in the All Ireland League for the first time next season having gained promotion to Division 2C following their 27-0 win in Connemara last Saturday in the AIL Round Robin.
Next month will mark 10 years since London Irish lost their only Premiership final, by a point against Leicester Tigers.
Israel Folau's controversial views that have created a furore in Australian rugby have an element of "selfishness" and are "completely wrong", according to Wallabies scrumhalf Will Genia.
Ireland and Ulster captain Rory Best has announced he will retire from professional rugby after the World Cup in Japan.
Toulouse will pay tribute to the Notre-Dame cathedral with a logo on their shirts for the Champions Cup semi-final against Leinster this weekend.
I was out on my bike last week and I had this strange feeling. I couldn't think of it straight away but eventually it came to me.
Ulster remain hopeful that Jacob Stockdale can play a part in their Guinness PRO14 play-off bid but Marty Moore's season is over.
For the third successive season, Munster have fought tooth and nail to get themselves to a Champions Cup semi-final.
That this season's Champions Cup top-scorers extended their record by putting another 56 points on Glasgow without their chief orchestrator will serve as another reminder of the Saracens threat.
In another era, under another coach, Seán Cronin would be one of the first names on the Ireland team-sheet. Instead, he finds himself in a sort of strange limbo.
Leo Cullen is facing a selection headache regarding his overseas players ahead of the Champions Cup semi-final - and Luke Fitzgerald thinks that wing James Lowe should definitely be in the Leinster team to face Toulouse.
Wales assistant coach Robin McBryde is the front-runner for the soon-to-be vacant Leinster scrum coach job, writes Rúaidhrí O’Connor.
Israel Folau has requested a code of conduct hearing after he was issued with a breach notice by Rugby Australia over his homophobic social media posts.
WHEN Leinster's Ireland internationals returned to UCD after the Six Nations, Leo Cullen and Stuart Lancaster called them in for a meeting to assess the damage and plot a route forward.
Tyler Bleyendaal's body might have robbed him of the best of his Munster years, but his mind has remained willing.
Leinster need Seán O'Brien at his best in Sunday's European semi-final against Toulouse, according to Stuart Lancaster.
To become the top dog in Europe, sometimes a team need to cry havoc and let loose the dogs of war, to quote 'The Bard'.
TOULOUSE could yet be without powerful lock Joe Tekori for Sunday’s Heineken Champions Cup semi-final against Leinster.
On this week's episode of The Left Wing, Will Slattery and Luke Fitzgerald are joined by Munster and Ireland legend Denis Leamy to preview the Champions Cup semi-finals.
Mark McCall expects fans to again boo Billy Vunipola following the Saracens and England forward's official warning from the Rugby Football Union for a homophobic Instagram comment.
Johnny Sexton looks set to return to the Leinster team for Sunday's Heineken Champions Cup semi-final against Toulouse.
A year ago, Peter O'Mahony sat in a sweltering room beneath the Stade Chaban Delmas in Bordeaux and said he was sick of learning lessons.
The intelligence-gathering never stops. They have played each other twice already this season and the entire Leinster coaching ticket travelled to Paris to take in Toulouse's quarter-final win over Racing 92 for good measure, but Leo Cullen and Co will still be trawling through footage for an edge against their French opponents ahead of Sunday's semi-final.
Johann van Graan has left the door open for a surprise Munster return for Ronan O'Gara and Paul O'Connell.
Israel Folau's hopes of featuring at this year's World Cup appear to have been extinguished as the Australian Rugby Union stand firm in their decision to stand down the controversial star, who proclaimed that hell awaits for "drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists and idolaters."
It's Monday afternoon of the biggest week of the season and it is time to set the tone for what is to come this weekend.
Defending champions New Zealand have been dealt a significant blow as utility back Damian McKenzie has been ruled out for the World Cup after he ruptured his ACL playing for the Chiefs on Saturday.
JOHANN VAN GRAAN has left the door open for a surprise Munster return for Ronan O'Gara and Paul O'Connell.
Saracens have said that Billy Vunipola made "a serious error of judgement" by defending a homophobic Instagram post by Israel Folau and he has been formally warned about his future conduct.
Munster fans' fears of taking on Saracens without Joey Carbery look set to be realised as Johann van Graan was unable to provide a positive update on the Ireland out-half.
Israel Folau is unrepentant over the homophobic comments made on social media that Australia head coach Michael Cheika declares have ended his Test career.
New Zealand utility back Damian McKenzie has been ruled out of the Rugby World Cup after suffering an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury, All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has said.
Rugby Australia is pressing ahead with plans to terminate Israel Folau's contract after the Wallabies full-back was served with a breach notice over his homophobic social media posts.
The dream final is not a universal concept; for some, the idea of Leinster meeting Munster in Newcastle for the title of European champions would be more akin to a nightmare. The stakes would be that little bit too high, the nervous tension too much to bear and the build-up could get a little unpleasant.
I would like to share just a few memories from the last time Munster played in Coventry. There are also a few memories I can't remember. Munster won after a dour struggle against Saracens, the team we play on Saturday in yet another European semi-final. That was 11 years ago, the last time Munster won a semi-final.
There's nothing like a first home defeat of the season to sharpen the focus ahead of the biggest game of the year.
Shannon were the big casualties on an emotion-filled final day in All-Ireland League Division 1A, suffering relegation with a 34-19 defeat to Cork Constitution.
Munster Rugby chief executive Garrett Fitzgerald will today be honoured at the Irish Sports Industry Awards for his outstanding contribution to sport over the course of his career.
Watching Tyler Bleyendaal's clinical influence in the Champions Cup quarter-final win over Edinburgh two weekends ago, it was easy to forget that here was a man in his fifth season in red. That's what happens when you are signed as the star attraction, and then, through a series of unfortunate events, find yourself in rugby's equivalent of a cast of thousands. Munster's roster at the start of this season featured five out-halves: Joey Carbery, JJ Hanrahan, Ian Keatley, Bill Johnston and Bleyendaal. It wasn't meant to be like this.
A week on from the atrocities in Christchurch, I was listening to Today with Sean O'Rourke on RTé Radio 1. Paddy O'Gorman had been sent out to a mosque on the South Circular Road to ask if Muslims felt safe in Ireland after the dreadful happenings in New Zealand.
There is a thick stack of envelopes on Tony Smeeth’s desk. The Trinity College Director of Rugby calls them ‘fishing letters’ and will send out 300 to the best Leaving Cert-studying rugby players in the country.
Billy Vunipola - who is due to face Munster in the Champions Cup semi-final next weekend - was under increasing scrutiny last night after high-profile figures in rugby criticised his support of homophobic comments made by Australia's Israel Folau.