Media Watch: Furlong happy with Leinster platform and McFarland stresses ethos

Andy Baber
06 December 2019

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European rugby returns with a bang this weekend as 12 Guinness PRO14 teams turn their attention back to securing their progression to the knockout stages of the two competitions.

And we start Friday’s Media Watch with Tadhg Furlong looking ahead to a block of games that he believes could prove season-defining for Leinster.

The Irish province resume their Champions Cup adventure with a blockbuster clash against Premiership league leaders Northampton Saints at Franklin’s Gardens on Saturday.

It is the first part of a fascinating double-header between the two sides, with Leinster then welcoming Saints back to the Aviva Stadium for the reverse fixture the following weekend.

But despite the challenge that awaits last season’s beaten finalists, Furlong insists Leinster’s unbeaten start to the season has laid the foundations for more success.

Staying in Ireland, Connacht will also be on the road this weekend as they travel to Kingsholm Stadium to face more Premiership opposition in the form of Gloucester Rugby.

The visitors currently have one win and one defeat to their name in the Champions Cup after two games while the Cherry and Whites are winless so far and sit bottom of Pool 5.

Like Leinster, Connacht play Gloucester back-to-back and Dennis Buckley has told the Irish Examiner that a victory at Kingsholm will put the Irish province right in the knockout mix.

There will also be another Ireland-England encounter this weekend as Ulster Rugby look to continue their unbeaten start in Europe on Saturday when they welcome Harlequins to Belfast.

With Dan McFarland’s side well-placed to repeat last season’s Champions Cup quarter-final spot and sitting pretty in the Guinness PRO14, everything is looking rosy for the Ulstermen.

And McFarland has been speaking about his approach to bringing in new talent, revealing that any potential signings must show a willingness to buy into his ethos.

Munster and Saracens complete this weekend’s Ireland-England match-ups as Johann van Graan’s men bid for revenge after losing to the reigning champions in their semi-final last year.

Their cause will be assisted by the arrival of Graham Rowntree, who has joined the province’s backroom team following the Rugby World Cup after a stint with Georgia.

And the 48-year-old forwards coach insists Munster must be wary of the threat posed by the English champions despite their off-field woes – stressing that they will be even more dangerous.

Elsewhere, Glasgow Warriors forwards coach John Dalziel has been singing the praises of loosehead pro Aki Seiuli after his performance against Leinster at Scotstoun.

In Wales, Dan Evans has revealed he hasn’t given up on his international hopes just yet as he prepares for Ospreys’ meeting with Racing 92 in the Champions Cup.

And finally, with European action back on the table, Guinness PRO14’s two South African teams – Toyota Cheetahs and Isuzu Southern Kings – appear to be taking very different approaches to the Championship hiatus.

Cardiff City Stadium will play host to the 2020 Guinness PRO14 Final on June 20 as one of the most exciting days in the club rugby calendar comes to Wales!

General sale tickets are available from and prices start at just £13 for concessions and £26 for adults (subject to booking fees), that’s a 15% early bird discount. Family ticket (2 adults / 2 children) prices begin at £64 and fans are encouraged to buy early to get the best value tickets.

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