Owen Franks

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 Leinster’s Ryan Baird during the Champions Cup round two match against Northampton Saints: the standout memory will be the performance of the galloping all-action   Baird. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

Leinster 35 Northampton 19 Halfway through the group stages and it’s not putting the cart before the horse to suggest that Leinster can realistically(...)

Ryan Baird returns to the Leinster secondrow for the meeting with Nortahmpton at the RDS on Saturday afternoon. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Leinster v Northampton Saints, RDS, Saturday, 1pm – Live on Virgin Media/Channel 4/BT Sport Already atop Pool A as one of only two sides to obtain a (...)

 Oli Jager lands awkwardly during  Canterbury’s Mitre 10 Cup match against Southland at Orangetheory stadium  in Christchurch in August 2019. Photograph: Martin Hunter/Getty Images

False narrative: Oliver Jager was lured away from the land of his birth to pursue the All Blacks dream. In the summer of 2013, a 17-year-old realised(...)

Irishman Oli Jager has committed himself to becoming an All Blacks player after signing a contract extension with the Canterbury Crusaders. Photograph: Phil Walter/Getty Images

Oli Jager, the former Blackrock College tighthead prop, has re-signed for the Canterbury Crusaders until 2022. The 24-year-old, who moved to Christc(...)

Chris Boyd was impressed with the quality of Leinster during their Champions Cup loss. Photo: David Rogers/Getty Images

True wisdom tends to come from independent observation. Chris Boyd has climbed high enough up the rugby food chain in his 61 years to understand what (...)

Chris Boyd: the wily Northampton Saints coach has led the club to the top of the Premiership table. Photograph: David Rogers/Getty

Over the last 20 years Northampton have gone from Heineken Cup champions in 2000, to the bottom of the English Premiership, then into the Heineken Cup(...)

Cian Healy on Leinster’s returning internationals: ‘We came in to train first. We didn’t come in just to jump into a position. We had to work into game minutes and that was the pressure that was there.’ Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Last season Cian Healy had played nine Leinster matches before the end of the calendar year. This week brings Northampton in the first of Leinster’s b(...)

Northampton lock Courtney Lawes will miss Saturday’s Heineken Champions Cup game against Leinster at Franklin’s gardens. Photograph: David Rogers/Getty Images

England secondrow Courtney Lawes will miss Saturday’s Heineken champions Cup clash against Leinster at Franklin’s Gardens on Saturday and is only rate(...)

 Saracens’ celebrate with the trophy after beating Leinster in last year’s final. Photograph: Gary Carr/Inpho

Pool 1 Leinster Coach: Leo Cullen. Captain: Johnny Sexton. Last season: Runners-up. How they qualified: Pro 14 champions. Key man: Sexton is the(...)

New Zealand blindside wing forward Ardie Savea was phenomenal as South Africa ran riot over the All Blacks in those opening 20 minutes of their group clash. Photograph: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Practise the skill and not the drill. And, of course, the crucial decision-making process. In attack or defence, when hunting to convert pressure into(...)

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