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Ospreys

Guinness PRO12Leinster’s indifferent start to the season continued as they slipped to a second loss of the campaign away at Connacht, going down 10-9.

The defending champions had led 9-3 at half-time thanks to three Ian Madigan penalties but Kieran Marmion’s solo try ensured Connacht – who had lost their previous 11 all-Ireland clashes – preserved their 100 per cent start to the season.

At the Liberty Stadium, Ospreys ran in nine tries against Edinburgh to consolidate their one point lead at the top of the table.

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EdinburghAlan Solomons Edinburgh left the Liberty Stadium on Sunday with their egos battered and bruised following a second half onslaught by the Ospreys in their third round Guinness PRO12 fixture. The score was 0/0 at some point, but that was before kick off and didn’t last too long once the referee’s whistle had blown to start the game as Ospreys impressive scrumhalf, and man of the match, Rhys Webb scored a try in the first minute.

The home side had already score three tries by half time with Edinburgh dotting down once as they went into the break with the score – Ospreys 24/10 Edinburgh Rugby. Edinburgh’s last points of the match came shortly after half time from the boot of Tom Heathcote as he slotted a penalty which went over after hitting the right hand upright. It was one way traffic from here on as Ospreys piled on the points and won the match by almost 50 points, scoring nine tries in the process. The final score was Ospreys 62/13 Edinburgh Rugby and is the biggest margin of victory so far this season.

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Leigh Halfpenny

Leigh Halfpenny

Cardiff Blues and Ospreys are interested in signing Leigh Halfpenny if his Toulon contract is terminated.

Toulon president Mourad Boudjellal says Halfpenny’s ongoing injuries could lead to his departure without playing a game since arriving for 2014-15.

Blues director and Wales legend Gareth Edwards said: “We’d welcome him with open arms.”

Ospreys coach Steve Tandy said: “We’d always be interested in the quality of Halfpenny, but it’s paper talk.”

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Guinness PRO12The third round of matches in the Guinness PRO12 take place this weekend with three matches scheduled for Friday night, two for Saturday and one for Sunday.

Welsh outfit the Ospreys, who are unbeaten in the PRO12 this season, will head into round 3 at the top of the table with nine points. The only two other unbeaten teams are Glasgow Warriors and Connacht who are in 2nd and 3rd position respectively. Ulster are the other team in the top 4, courtesy of a draw and a win in their first two fixtures and they are the only team who have two bonus points for scoring four tries or more. Ulster top the try scoring list at this early stage in the competition having scored nine tries in their two matches. However, they have conceded the most tries, a handful, of the teams in the top four.

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Guinness PRO12Connacht continued their winning start to the season with another tight triumph, this time a 14-13 victory over Edinburgh Rugby thanks to Willy Faloon’s last-gasp try.

Tom Heathcote’s boot and a try from Cornell du Preez gave Edinburgh a 13-6 lead at half time; Connacht’s points coming from two Darragh Leader penalties.

Faloon was sent to the sin bin with 16 minutes left on the clock, but returned to touch down the winning try in the dying minutes.

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OspreysNew Ospreys lock De Kock Steenkamp is keen to nail his colours to the mast and break into the Welsh national team.

The deal for the South African-born star was approved by Wales Rugby Union and covers the three years it would take for him to achieve qualification through residency.

And Steenkamp admits he would relish the chance to represent the Red Dragons once he has established himself in the Guinness PRO12.

“I’d be delighted,” he said.  “As far as I know, the only foreigners that can come to Wales must be eligible to play for Wales in three years’ time, so that’s why the contract is for three years.”

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Guinness Pro12Reigning champions Leinster were toppled by beaten finalists Glasgow Warriors at Scostoun, with Stuart Hogg slotting over the winning penalty with the last kick of the game.

Warriors stormed to a 19-0 lead with tries from Peter Horne, Josh Strauss and Jonny Gray, but then Leinster staged a late revival.

Jack McGrath and Tom Denton found their way over the whitewash to put the Irish province into the lead for the first time, but ill-discipline in the dying minutes led to Hogg’s successful penalty.

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De Kock Steenkamp

De Kock Steenkamp

Welsh club Ospreys have confirmed that they have signed Stormers lock De Kock Steenkamp on a three-year contract, despite the player having one more year on his contract in the Cape.

Steenkamp, 27, secured an early release from his Stormers contract and will join the PRO12 club after representing the Stormers on 49 occasions in Super Rugby and playing 59 games for the Western Province in the Currie Cup.

“Joining the Ospreys is a great opportunity for me and a challenge that I can’t wait to get stuck into,” said Steenkamp in a statement on Ospreys’ official website.

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WalesWith Welsh Rugby getting ready for the competitive part of the 2014/15 season, which starts on Friday, we have a look at the big name moves, including the ins and outs at the four Welsh regions and a look at some of the player and coach movements outside the country.

Adam Jones became the biggest Welsh rugby headline-stealer with his shock signing for Cardiff Blues after being an Osprey since 2003.

But the British and Irish Lions prop’s switch after season-long speculation was not the only move to make fans sit up and take notice.

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RaboDirect PRO12 balls 5/8/2011Round 22 of the Pro12 promises to be a fitting finale to the regular season, with Play-Off spots and European qualification still to be settled.

As with previous seasons all 6 games will kick off simultaneously to add to the excitement and give no advantage to any team.

At the top of the table 3 teams are still in contention for the 2 home Play-Off spots and European qualification still to be settled.

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ospreysHanno DirksenWing Hanno Dirksen has signed a new three-year Ospreys contract keeping him at the Liberty Stadium until the end of the 2016-17 season.

He has been signed up ahead of the region’s final RaboDirect Pro12 clash of the season with Connacht on Saturday.  Dirksen, 23, is the 13th player to re-commit to the region along with the likes of Alun Wyn Jones and Dan Baker.

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RaboDirect PRO12 balls 5/8/2011The May Day weekend should provide the most intense scrutiny of the RaboDirect PRO12 table to date.

The opening fixture between Zebre and Ospreys could go a long way to answering some of the questions – a loss for the hosts would put Treviso in the driving seat for the Italian spot in next season’s European competition, whilst a loss for the visitors Ospreys, without picking up any league points, would take away their mathematical chances of making the Play-Offs .

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RaboDirect PRO12 balls 5/8/2011With the Six Nations over the club  tournament of Wales, Scotland, Ireland and Italy takes centre stage once again as round 17 kicks off this Friday.

Having led Leinster to the Pro12 title last season, Ireland coach Joe Schmidt took the 6 Nations crown at the first time of asking in a tense finish to the Championship last weekend.  Following on Ireland’s success it is perhaps appropriate that as the Pro12 returns to centre stage three of the top four teams are Irish Provinces.

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RaboDirect PRO12 balls 5/8/2011After a round of games played in dreadful conditions during which yet another fixture fell foul of the weather, players and spectators alike must be hoping that Round 14 of the Pro12 fares better.

The round kicks off with two games in the Irish capitals on Friday night, one in Belfast and one in Dublin, both featuring Welsh opposition.

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RaboDirect PRO12 balls 5/8/2011The festive fixtures continue as return local derbies were scheduled to take place in Scotland, Wales and Italy during the Pro12’s Round 12.

Wales and Scotland were set to start the New Year with a game on New Year’s Day, as Cardiff Blues hosted Newport Gwent Dragons and after the Hogmanay celebrations in Scotland, Glasgow Warriors welcomed Edinburgh to Scotstoun. However, the game in Glasgow was called off less than an hour before kick off due to the field being waterlogged.

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RaboDirect PRO12 balls 5/8/2011The traditional festive season local derbies are set to take centre stage as the Pro12 Round 11 provides an exciting escape from turkey and TV. The games in Scotland and Wales take place on Boxing Day, whilst Ireland foregoes St Stephens’ Day games and sticks to the traditional Friday and Saturday slots.

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RaboDirect PRO12 balls 5/8/2011Round Eight of the Pro12 kicks off on Friday night with both Scottish teams in action – early season leaders Glasgow Warriors welcoming Newport Gwent Dragons to Scotstoun, whilst Edinburgh travel to Belfast to face Ulster.

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RaboDirect PRO12 balls 5/8/2011The top-of-the-table clash at Thomond Park between Munster and Ospreys on Saturday headlines Round Seven of the Pro12.  Munster currently lead the pack thanks to winning one more game than Ospreys, but Ospreys have garnered more bonus points in the six rounds than their hosts, so the scene is set for an epic battle.

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RaboDirect PRO12 balls 5/8/2011RaboDirect PRO12 log leaders Glasgow Warriors face second-placed Munster in a tantalising top-of-the-table clash at Scotstoun on Friday.
As the competition gets back into full swing with Round Six this weekend after a successful European double header, it’s clear that the Pro12 is going from strength to strength.

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RaboDirect PRO12 balls 5/8/2011Leinster and Munster will look to solidify themselves as early pace-setters in Round Two of the Pro12 this weekend.  These two teams were the only sides who collected maximum points from their first-round Pro12 games, between them running in ten of the 22 tries that were scored last weekend.

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Scotland1jonathan humprheysA man who has steered his club to the most league titles in Celtic rugby has today been appointed to the position of Scotland forwards coach.

Jonathan Humphreys, the former Welsh hooker and captain, will join the Scotland management ahead of the quadrangular tournament with Samoa, South Africa and Italy in June. He will be on a two year contract.

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RaboDirect PRO12 balls 5/8/2011It was all change yet again at the top of the Pro12 table following Round 20, with Ulster retaking the top position, whilst Glasgow Warriors slipped to third.

And with just two rounds left, and a maximum of 10 points on offer, five teams are still vying for the four play-off places.

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RaboDirect PRO12 balls 5/8/2011Round 17 of the Pro12 kicks off with five games on Friday, with both contenders for the top spot in action.
Leaders Ulster, who have been at the top since round five, welcome Benetton Treviso to Ravenhill whilst Glasgow Warriors host Cardiff Blues at Scotstoun.

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