Tadhg Furlong has signed a new Irish Rugby Football Union contract until the end of the 2021-22 season.

The Ireland and Leinster prop had been linked with a move overseas but has decided to stay in his homeland.

Furlong has won 49 caps since making his Ireland debut in 2015 and was last week selected for the British and Irish Lions tour of South Africa, having also played in three Tests against New Zealand four years ago.

The 28-year-old lifted the European Rugby Champions Cup with Leinster in 2018 and has won five PRO12/14 titles, but a defeat to La Rochelle ended Leo Cullen's side's bid for European glory this year.

Furlong said: "Happy to sign on for one more year. There has been some tough days of late but I believe the squads we have in both Leinster and Ireland are able to compete for trophies in the future.

"I look forward to hopefully playing at a packed out RDS or Aviva Stadium in the months ahead."

David Nucifora, IRFU performance director, said: "Tadhg was a long time out of the game but showed upon his return in January what a positive influence he can be for both Ireland and Leinster.

"He has grown as a senior voice in the Ireland squad and his recent performances reminded everyone why he is rated as one of the best tightheads in world rugby."

 

La Rochelle earned a convincing 32-23 victory over Leinster at Stade Marcel Deflandre to reach their first European Champions Cup final.

The French side, who had never previously made it as far as the last four, will now face fellow Top 14 club Toulouse at Twickenham on May 22.

Leinster have won the competition on four previous occasions and started Sunday's contest brightly through Tadhg Furlong's eighth-minute try.

The hosts were a man short at that point after Wiaan Liebenberg was sin-binned for an offside infringement, but they hit back thanks to a penalty and drop goal from Ihaia West.

West was successful from a couple more kicks before half-time, but only after Ross Byrne had added six points from the boot for Leinster in a tightly-contested opening period that ended with the visitors ahead by one.

That kicking battle ensued in the early stages of the second period when Byrne responded to West edging La Rochelle in front for the first time in the contest.

Leinster were a point to the good at that point but lost James Lowe to a yellow card for not rolling away in what proved to be a pivotal moment in an entertaining clash.

West split the sticks once more to restore his side's advantage and Gregory Alldritt found a way over the line 15 minutes from time, which West inevitably added to with the extras.

La Rochelle pushed for another try to seal the win and they found it as Will Skelton broke away from the driving maul to start the celebrations.

Byrne had the final say in terms of the scoring by finding a gap and dotting down late on, but La Rochelle comfortably held on to set up an all-French final at Twickenham.

Johnny Sexton will continue to strut his stuff for Ireland and Leinster after signing a one-year contract extension to the end of the 2021-22 season.

The 35-year-old laid to rest speculation over his immediate future as he agreed a longer deal with the Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) on Tuesday.

Sexton, the 2018 World Player of the Year, is Ireland's captain and talisman, with the fly-half in no rush to hang up his boots. 

"I am really enjoying my rugby and I want to keep learning and adding value to both the Ireland and Leinster environments," he said. 

"I am enjoying the challenge of captaincy and the added responsibility that it brings. My appetite for success is the same as it ever was and the ambitions of both the Ireland and Leinster squads match my own."

Sexton's impressive list of honours includes three Six Nations titles with his country, for whom he was won 97 caps, and four European Cups with Leinster. 

Ireland's 2021 Six Nations campaign started with back-to-back loss against Wales and France before Saturday's thrashing of Italy.

James Lowe is set to make his Ireland debut in the Autumn Nations Cup after being included in Andy Farrell's 34-man squad.

New Zealand-born Lowe is eligible for Ireland having played for Leinster since 2017 and is one of three uncapped players in the group.

The 28-year-old versatile back has scored more Pro14 tries than any other player since his Leinster debut three years ago. He also ranks in the top three for clean breaks (52) and offloads (53).

Munster centre Shane Daly was brought in due to Garry Ringrose's broken jaw sustained against Italy in the Six Nations, while former England youth international Billy Burns replaced Jack Carty.

Keith Earles has returned from a back problem and Iain Henderson is included after serving a suspension, though Jack Conan has gone back to Leinster to recover from injury.

Ireland will face Wales at home next Friday before matches against England and Georgia. Their final game of the inaugural Autumn Nations Cup will be on December 5 against either Fiji, France, Italy or Scotland.

Farrell's team will be hoping to bounce back from a disappointing loss to France last weekend that handed England the Six Nations title.

 

Ireland squad:

Forwards: Finlay Bealham, Tadhg Beirne, Ed Byrne, Will Connors, Ultan Dillane, Caelan Doris, Cian Healy, Dave Heffernan, Iain Henderson, Rob Herring, Ronan Kelleher, Peter O'Mahony, Andrew Porter, Quinn Roux, John Ryan, James Ryan, CJ Stander, Josh van der Flier.

Backs: Bundee Aki, Billy Burns, Ross Byrne, Andrew Conway, Shane Daly, Keith Earls, Chris Farrell, Jamison Gibson-Park, Robbie Henshaw, Hugo Keenan, James Lowe, Kieran Marmion, Stuart McCloskey, Conor Murray, Johnny Sexton, Jacob Stockdale.

Ireland will be without Garry Ringrose for their decisive Six Nations showdown with France after the centre was ruled out for up to six weeks with a broken jaw. 

Ringrose was caught in the face by Edoardo Padovani's knee early in the 50-17 hammering of Italy when the Six Nations resumed at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday. 

The Leinster player, who was replaced by Robbie Henshaw, will miss the trip to Paris for a final match of the tournament that Ireland will start needing another bonus-point win to secure the title. 

Ireland head coach Andy Farrell said: "Garry Ringrose has broken his jaw, so bad news for us all. 

"He's been so good for us the last 10 days, he has been absolutely fantastic with his leadership and he was a big part of the reason why we got what we wanted [versus Italy]. 

"He was unfortunate with his thumb injury earlier in the Six Nations and has come back and had a setback like that which will keep him out for four to six weeks, so we're gutted for Garry."

Ringrose also looks set to sit out the Autumn Nations Cup encounters with Wales, England and Georgia in November. 

Ireland are a point ahead of France and England - who play Italy in Rome - ahead of the final round of Six Nations matches.

Ireland full-back Jordan Larmour will miss the conclusion of the Six Nations and the Autumn Nations Cup after suffering a dislocated shoulder.

Larmour will undergo surgery this week, having sustained the injury in Leinster's Pro14 win at Benetton Rugby on Saturday.

The versatile 23-year-old will not be available to Andy Farrell for the Six Nations encounter with Italy at the Aviva Stadium on October 24 nor the final match of the tournament against France at Stade de France seven days later.

Larmour has also been ruled out of the internationals against Wales, England and Georgia next month.

Leinster on Monday stated that no timeframe had been put on a potential return for the influential Larmour.

Ryan Baird will be assessed this week after the lock suffered an adductor strain in the victory at the weekend.

Saracens were spurred on by the prospect of "another week together" after holding off a fightback from Leinster to reach the European Champions Cup semi-finals.

The star-studded squad Sarries have assembled will be hit by departures at the end of the campaign after they were administratively relegated from the Premiership for salary cap breaches.

However, the holders appear determined to go out on a high in European competition and a dominant first half was enough for them to defeat the Pro14 champions 25-17.

They led 22-3 at half-time, Alex Goode kicking three penalties and converting his own try while Elliot Daly added another pair of three-pointers.

Andrew Porter and Jordan Larmour crossed for Leinster in the second half to narrow the gap to five points, but Saracens held on and Goode's late penalty clinched victory.

Captain Brad Barritt - who will leave the club at the end of the season - said: "It was the prospect of having another week together.

"We know after this season there will be a slightly different-looking squad and we owed it to ourselves to have a big game. We showed a huge amount of character playing in games that don't mean anything.

"Today was about fighting for something tangible. We owed it to ourselves to represent the Saracens badge and I couldn't be more proud of my team."

Saturday's other quarter-final saw Racing 92 claim victory over Top 14 rivals Clermont Auvergne.

Racing led 24-8 at half-time, with six penalties from Teddy Iribaren and tries from Louis Dupichot and Francois Trinh-Duc key to the 36-27 success they claimed despite a spirited second-half showing from Clermont.

Leinster beat Ulster 27-5 to claim a third successive Pro14 title in emphatic fashion on Saturday.

Heading into Saturday's clash in Dublin looking to extend their undefeated run, Leinster fell behind after four minutes.

James Hume ran in a fantastic opener for Ulster, who were in the hunt for their first trophy since 2005-06.

However, James Lowe quickly got Leinster on track, with any hopes of an Ulster comeback swiftly extinguished after the break.

Billy Burns' pass – which seemed to have been aimed at Marcell Coetzee – was gathered in by Robbie Henshaw, who burst over for Leinster's second, with Caelan Doris' score swinging the match firmly in the holders' favour.

It was enough to secure a 17th straight Pro14 win, with Leinster becoming the first side in the competition's history to take the title seven times and on three consecutive occasions.

With one piece of silverware secured, Leinster's focus will now switch to next weekend's Champions Cup quarter-final tie with Saracens.

Ulster staged a thrilling late comeback to deny Edinburgh and book a Pro14 final against defending champions Leinster.

Trailing by 12 heading into the closing stages at Murrayfield, the visitors scored 15 unanswered points to win 22-19 and reach their first final for seven years.

Ian Madigan – who had previously scored a clutch conversion – put a last-minute penalty through the posts after Michael Willemse was penalised for a deliberate knock-on.

That capped the fightback after tries from Rob Herring and John Andrew had hauled Ulster level.

Prior to the late drama, it appeared Ulster would fall at the last-four stage against Scottish opposition for the second straight season, having failed to get the better of Glasgow Warriors in last year's semi-finals.

Stuart McInally forced his way over to give Edinburgh a five-point half-time lead, before scores from Darcy Graham and Chris Dean extended their advantage despite an impressive try from Ulster wing Rob Lyttle.

But Edinburgh folded late in the contest and their wait to win the competition continues, having lost their only appearance in the final 11 years ago.

The dramatic match on Saturday came after Leinster defeated Munster 13-3 on Friday to remain on course for a third consecutive title and seventh overall.

The Scarlets face a nervous wait to see if they qualify for the Pro14 play-offs after an impressive 41-20 win over the much-changed Dragons on Saturday kept them in contention.

In a thrilling contest at Rodney Parade, Scarlets enjoyed a significant advantage in the scrums and had Dan Jones produce a fine display at fly-half, but it was not all plain-sailing for the visitors.

Scarlets held a slender four-point advantage at the break, with Samson Lee, Steff Evans and Jamie Davies touching down, while Jared Rosser and Taine Basham scored at the other end.

But Scarlets charged ahead after the interval, with Johnny McNicholl, Tom Rogers and Dane Blacker getting in on the act, while Jones' kicks were on the money five times.

The six-try victory secured Scarlets a bonus point, which moves them second in Conference B, but they need Connacht to do them a favour against Munster on Sunday otherwise their season will be over.

In Conference A, Leinster and Ulster have already made sure of their places in the play-offs, though the latter will be concerned about their chances in the next stage after disappointing in the two teams' meeting on Saturday.

Leinster, who gave many fringe players the opportunity to impress, claimed a brilliant 28-10 win at the Aviva Stadium.

Ed Byrne's early try sent them on their way, with the boot of Ross Byrne giving them a 13-0 lead at half-time.

Ulster were a little more threatening in the second 40, with Rob Herring getting them back in contention by finishing in the 53rd minute, but Scott Penny and Harry Byrne went over late on to wrap up a superb victory.

JJ Hanrahan missed a vital conversion as Munster slipped to a 27-25 defeat to Conference A leaders Leinster in the Pro14.

Having trailed 17-13 at the break, Munster looked to be staring down a heavy defeat when Leinster – who are already sure of their place in the Final Series – went a further seven points clear early in the second half.

However, Devin Toner's sin-binning handed Munster the initiative, and the visitors rallied through Keith Earls' superb try.

Ross Byrne's penalty nudged Leinster further ahead, but Andrew Conway's second try appeared to have saved Munster, only for Hanrahan to send his kick narrowly wide.

Edinburgh booked their place in the Final Series with a 30-15 victory over Scottish rivals Glasgow Warriors, with Duhan van der Merwe's moment of brilliance the inspiration.

Glasgow held a slender 15-13 advantage heading into the final 20 minutes on Saturday, but Van der Merwe's superb run and offload teed up Nic Groom for his second try of the game.

Charlie Shiel's try sealed the win and Edinburgh will finish top of Conference B should they defeat the Warriors again next time out.

In the first Pro14 match back since the coronavirus-enforced hiatus, Scarlets – under the tutelage of new coach Glenn Delaney – turned on the style to run in five tries in a 32-12 hammering of Cardiff Blues in south Wales, boosting their Final Series hopes in the process.

Saracens have been assured they will be able to complete their European Champions Cup defence even if they are relegated to the Championship first.

The reigning English and European champions will be demoted from the Premiership to the second tier for next term following salary-cap breaches.

The club were deducted 105 points, guaranteeing their relegation, but have continued to progress in the Champions Cup.

The season's suspension due to the coronavirus pandemic throws up some difficulties, however, as sport is set to return behind closed doors in England before some other European countries.

The Champions Cup may therefore not be concluded until after the next domestic campaign has started in England, with Saracens by then in the Championship.

But European Professional Club Rugby chairman Simon Halliday insists the team's European challenge will not be impacted.

"Saracens have qualified for the quarter-finals and I'll defend their right to complete the Champions Cup campaign no matter what," Halliday said, quoted in the Mirror.

"As long as we can complete the tournament, they should be allowed to participate for as long as they keep on winning."

Saracens have won the Champions Cup in three of the past four seasons and defeated Leinster in the 2018-19 final.

They will face the Irish province again in the last eight of this term's competition.

Ireland back Fergus McFadden has revealed he will retire at the end of the season, calling time on a career that took in World Cup, Six Nations and European club rugby exploits.

The 33-year-old won 34 caps for his country, pulling on the green shirt from 2011 to 2018 and scoring 10 tries as a versatile wing and centre.

He has made 184 appearances to date for Leinster, helping the province become European champions twice, appearing in their 2011 and 2012 Champions Cup final triumphs over Northampton and Ulster respectively.

He missed the 2018 final victory over Racing 92 after injuring himself three weeks earlier when scoring a try in the semi-final win against the Scarlets.

McFadden said: "They say the best time to leave a party is when you're still having fun so the time has come for me to announce my retirement from the end of the season."

He told Leinster's website: "It's hard to put into words what a privilege it has been to have had such a long career playing for the team I grew up supporting and pulling on a green jersey to play for my country. It has been a dream come true."

McFadden went with Ireland to the 2011 World Cup in New Zealand and bagged a try in the group game against Russia in Rotorua, while he also helped his country win the 2014 and 2018 Six Nations and appeared in six campaigns.

Leinster head coach Leo Cullen said: “Fergus has been an amazing contributor to lots of great things that have taken place in Leinster and Irish rugby and he's definitely one of the great characters that we’ve had around in the group. He had so many strings to his bow and he's going to be a great loss to the group.

“We are being guided by public health guidelines at the moment but naturally the hope is that Fergus gets the chance to pull on the Leinster jersey again."

Massive sporting events do not always live up the occasion.

The boxing world was delivered a reminder of that five years ago as a fight a long time in the making proved a drab affair.

It is the unexpected that often produces the most excitement and that was the case during a 2015-16 Premier League campaign that stands as arguably the most memorable in the division's history.

Here we look back at May 2 in the world of sport.

2009: Pacquiao makes light work of Hatton

"From the ends of the earth to the centre of the ring" was the tagline attached to a light-welterweight title bout billed as the' Battle of East and West'.

With seven seconds left in the second round, Ricky Hatton was indeed in the centre of the ring, on his back having been dumped to the canvas by a thunderous left to the chin from Manny Pacquiao.

The fight marked the last at elite level for Hatton, who finished his career in 2012 with a loss to Vyacheslav Senchenko.

Pacquiao has gone on to secure his legacy as one of the greatest boxers of all time, but his journey has not been without its lows, the biggest of which would come six years later at the same MGM Grand Garden Arena venue...

2009: Leinster-Munster semi-final draws record crowd

Leinster v Munster is regarded as one of the biggest provincial rivalries in world rugby, and it reached new heights as the pair met in the Heineken Cup semi-finals at Croke Park.

A crowd of 82,208, a world-record attendance for a club match, witnessed Leinster secure their place in the final with a 25-6 victory.

They would go on to lift the trophy, beating Leicester Tigers 19-16 at Murrayfield.

2012: Messi breaks European club goals record

Lionel Messi's incredible career has been defined by him shattering records and collecting medals at will.

Eight years ago he bettered a mark that had stood since the 1972-73 season with a hat-trick against Malaga.

The treble took Messi to 68 goals for the 2011-12 season, the most by a single player in a European club season.

Gerd Muller had previously held the record with 67. Messi would go on to stretch his advantage over the Germany great, finishing the campaign with a remarkable 73 goals.

2015: 'Fight of the century' fails to inspire

After years of protracted and tempestuous negotiations, Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather finally agreed to touch gloves in the biggest fight of the 21st century.

The contest did not match the hype surrounding it, however, Mayweather maintaining his unbeaten record in uninspiring fashion.

Pacquiao struggled to land punches on a defensive Mayweather, whose tactical acumen won the day in a fight some dubbed 'Better never than late' in the aftermath.

Mayweather followed up that win with a victory over Andre Berto in September, before coming out of retirement in 2017 to defeat UFC star Conor McGregor and improve to 50-0.

2016: Leicester achieve the impossible

The established order of the Premier League was upset in unbelievable fashion in 2015-16 as 5,000-1 outsiders Leicester City, having narrowly avoided relegation the previous season, clinched the title.

Tottenham had been the Foxes' closest challengers in a year where Manchester City, Manchester United and Arsenal all struggled for consistency, with Liverpool and Chelsea well off the pace.

However, it was Chelsea who ended Tottenham's hopes and ensured the trophy would head to the King Power Stadium.

Spurs needed to win at Stamford Bridge to keep their hopes alive and led 2-0 thanks to goals from Harry Kane and Son Heung-min.

But Gary Cahill pulled one back and Eden Hazard levelled matters seven minutes from time to spark delirious scenes among the Leicester players watching on TV.

The Premiership has been suspended for five weeks and the quarter-finals of the European Champions Cup and Challenge Cup have been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Premiership Rugby's decision followed new guidance from the United Kingdom government on Monday.

British prime minister Boris Johnson encouraged people to avoid mass gatherings and all "non-essential" travel and contact with others.

"The safety of our fans, players and staff is our first priority, and we would like to wish all of those who are affected our heartfelt best wishes and a very speedy recovery," a Premiership Rugby statement read.

"We'll continue to work closely with DCMS [the Departure for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport] and Public Health England, and to follow the advice of medical experts, and work with our clubs to help them to support their own wider communities at this time."

The decision to call off the European rugby season was taken during a conference call on Monday.

It means the matches in the Champions Cup and Challenge Cup scheduled for April 3, 4 and 5 will not now go ahead as planned, although organisers hope to rearrange the fixtures for later dates.

In a statement, the board of European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR) said: "While respecting all further directives by governments and local authorities, EPCR, in conjunction with the relevant leagues and unions, remains committed to trying to find a solution which will enable it to complete the 2019-20 Champions Cup and Challenge Cup tournaments at such a time as that aligns with preventative measures undertaken by an overwhelming majority of sport's governing bodies and tournament organisers in Europe.  

"EPCR's priority is the health and welfare of players and club staff, and an update regarding the knockout stages of the tournaments will be communicated to all stakeholders as soon as practicable."

Page 1 of 3
© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.