2016 Pro12 Grand Final

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2016 Pro12 Grand Final
2016 Final PRO12.jpg
Event2015–16 Pro12
Date28 May 2016
VenueMurrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh
Man of the MatchJohn Muldoon
RefereeNigel Owens (WRU)

The 2016 Pro12 Grand Final was the final match of the 2015–16 Pro12 season. The 2015–16 season was the second with Guinness as the title sponsor and the seventh ever League Grand Final. The final was played between Leinster and Connacht.

Connacht claimed their first title, winning on a 20–10 scoreline.[1]

Route to the final[edit]

2016 Playoffs[edit]

The semi-finals followed a 1 v 4, 2 v 3 system with the games being played at the home ground of the higher placed teams.

20 May 2016
Leinster Ireland 30–18 Ireland Ulster
Try: Nacewa 4' c
Heaslip 47' c
Cronin 64' c
Con: Sexton (3/3)
Pen: Sexton (3/3) 10', 15', 56'
Report[2] Try: Gilroy (2) 38' m, 69' c
Con: Pad. Jackson (1/2)
Pen: Pad. Jackson (2/2) 26', 31'
RDS Arena
Attendance: 19,100
Referee: Ian Davies (WRU)

21 May 2016
Connacht Ireland 16–11 Scotland Glasgow Warriors
Try: Adeolokun 36' c
Con: MacGinty (1/1)
Pen: MacGinty (3/3) 24', 52', 64'
Report[3] Try: Nakarawa 48' m
Pen: Weir (2/2) 26', 56'
Galway Sportsgrounds
Attendance: 7,800
Referee: Marius Mitrea (FIR)


It was announced on 8 September 2015 that the seventh Pro12 Grand Final was awarded to Murrayfield Stadium,[4] the headquarters [5] of the Scottish Rugby Union in Edinburgh on 8 September 2015 with the final to be played 28 May 2016. This is only the second time that the Pro12 Grand Final had been awarded to a host city after the success of Belfast in hosting the 2015 final.[6]

Connacht, who made the play-offs for the first ever time, were appearing in their first ever Pro12 final, while Leinster were making their sixth appearance in the final.[7][8] Leinster were favorites to win the game, priced at 4/9 with Paddy Power Bookmakers, while Connacht were priced at 13/8.[9]

The match was shown live on Sky Sports in Ireland and the UK, and on TG4 in Ireland.[citation needed]


Team selection[edit]

Connacht named an unchanged team from their semi-final win over the Glasgow Warriors. They were forced to plan without injured loosehead prop Denis Buckley, part of the league's Dream Team for consecutive seasons, with veteran Ronan Loughney continuing to deputise in his place.[10] At tighthead prop, Ireland international Nathan White remained absent due to a concussion sustained against Leinster in the league meeting between the sides in the regular season.[11] His Ireland teammate Finlay Bealham started in the number 3 jersey. The team also had to deal with the continued absence of Jack Carty, their top points scorer for the season, as he struggled to return to full fitness following a freak water slide injury in Dubai. United States international AJ MacGinty started at fly-half, with Canada under-age player Shane O'Leary covering from the bench.[12]

Leinster were without their captain Isa Nacewa, who suffered an arm injury in the semi-final against Ulster. Rob Kearney returned from an ankle injury to start in his place at fullback, while the captaincy was taken on by Jamie Heaslip.[13] Their other change to the starting lineup from the semi-final saw Ross Molony come into the second row. He replaced Devin Toner, who was a late withdrawal from the squad following the death of his father.[14] Among the team's longer term absentees was Seán O'Brien, who picked up a hamstring injury in Ireland's Six Nations clash with France that February.[15] Having struggled for fitness over the course of the year and slipped behind Jack McGrath in Leinster's pecking order, Cian Healy was ruled out for the remainder of the season in May.[16]


Connacht full-back Tiernan O'Halloran got the opening try in the 13th minute, running it over in the left corner after Matt Healy had broken through the defence. AJ MacGinty converted to put Connacht in a 7–0 lead.[17] Leinster were forced into an early change shortly after, when second row Mick Kearney was removed from play with a head injury, to be replaced by Hayden Triggs. Winger Niyi Adeolokun scored Connacht's second try midway through the half after his own high kick and chase to go over in the right corner, giving Connacht a 12–0 lead. MacGinty kicked a penalty on 27 minutes to give Connacht a 15–0 lead which they took into the interval.

Despite the 15-point deficit, Leinster made no replacements at half-time, while Connacht replaced flanker Eoin McKeon with Seán O'Brien. Jonathan Sexton opened the scoring for Leinster with a penalty on 43 minutes. MacGinty had an opportunity to respond with his own penalty minutes later, but dropped his effort short. He made amends shortly after however, when his kick through the Leinster defence let Matt Healy in for Connacht's third try on 57 minutes, stretching the lead to 20–3. Former Connacht player Seán Cronin gave Leinster their first try of the game after 67 minutes when he scored in the right corner, with Sexton converting. Injuries to Tiernan O'Halloran and replacement scrum-half John Cooney forced Connacht to reshuffle their backline, with Healy moving to scrum-half, but Leinster were unable to capitalise as neither team scored again with the game finishing 20–10.[18] The win was the first major trophy for Connacht in their 131-year history.[19][20][21]


28 May 2016
Connacht Ireland 20–10 Ireland Leinster
Try: O'Halloran 12' c
Adeolokun 21' m
Healy 56' m
Con: MacGinty (1/3)
Pen: MacGinty (1/2) 27'
Report[22] Try: Cronin 66' c
Con: Sexton (1/1)
Pen: Sexton (1/1) 43'
Murrayfield Stadium
Attendance: 34,550
Referee: Nigel Owens (WRU)
FB 15 Ireland Tiernan O'Halloran Substituted off 68' Substituted in 71'
RW 14 Ireland Niyi Adeolokun
OC 13 Ireland Robbie Henshaw Substituted off 71'
IC 12 New Zealand Bundee Aki
LW 11 Ireland Matt Healy
FH 10 United States AJ MacGinty
SH 9 Ireland Kieran Marmion Substituted off 60'
N8 8 Ireland John Muldoon (c)
OF 7 New Zealand Jake Heenan
BF 6 Ireland Eoin McKeon Substituted off 41'
RL 5 England Aly Muldowney
LL 4 Ireland Ultan Dillane Substituted off 61'
TP 3 Ireland Finlay Bealham
HK 2 New Zealand Tom McCartney Substituted off 71'
LP 1 Ireland Ronan Loughney Substituted off 68'
HK 16 Ireland Dave Heffernan Substituted in 71'
PR 17 Ireland JP Cooney
PR 18 Ireland Rodney Ah You Substituted in 68'
LK 19 Ireland Andrew Browne Substituted in 61'
FL 20 Ireland Seán O'Brien Substituted in 41'
SH 21 Ireland John Cooney Substituted in 60' Substituted off 65'
CE 22 Canada Shane O'Leary Substituted in 68'
CE 23 Ireland Peter Robb Substituted in 65'
Samoa Pat Lam
FB 15 Ireland Rob Kearney Substituted off 60'
RW 14 Ireland Dave Kearney Substituted off 75'
OC 13 Ireland Garry Ringrose
IC 12 New Zealand Ben Te'o
LW 11 Ireland Luke Fitzgerald
FH 10 Ireland Jonathan Sexton
SH 9 Ireland Eoin Reddan Substituted off 57'
N8 8 Ireland Jamie Heaslip (c)
OF 7 Ireland Jordi Murphy
BF 6 Ireland Rhys Ruddock
RL 5 Ireland Mick Kearney Substituted off 16'
LL 4 Ireland Ross Molony Substituted off 62'
TP 3 Ireland Mike Ross Substituted off 41'
HK 2 Ireland Richardt Strauss Substituted off 41'
LP 1 Ireland Jack McGrath Substituted off 71'
HK 16 Ireland Seán Cronin Substituted in 41'
PR 17 Ireland Peter Dooley Substituted in 71'
PR 18 Ireland Tadhg Furlong Substituted in 41'
LK 19 New Zealand Hayden Triggs Substituted in 16'
N8 20 Ireland Jack Conan Substituted in 62'
SH 21 Ireland Luke McGrath Substituted in 57'
FH 22 Ireland Ian Madigan Substituted in 75'
FB 23 South Africa Zane Kirchner Substituted in 60'
Ireland Leo Cullen

Man of the Match:
Ireland John Muldoon

Touch judges:
Ian Davies (WRU)
Ben Whitehouse (WRU)
Television Match Official:
Jon Mason (WRU)


The victorious Connacht Rugby squad were welcomed back to Galway city on 29 May and paraded around the city on an open-topped bus, from outside the Town Hall Theatre in Courthouse Square to Eyre Square and finally to the Sportsground.[23][24][25][26]


  1. ^ "Connacht see off Leinster to win first Pro12 title at Murrayfield". Guardian. 28 May 2016. Retrieved 31 May 2016.
  2. ^ "Leinster hold off Ulster to book Guinness PRO12 final spot : Guinness PRO12 : Match Centre". 21 May 2016. Archived from the original on 21 May 2016. Retrieved 14 September 2017.
  3. ^ "Adeolokun marches Connacht into maiden Guinness PRO12 Final : Guinness PRO12 : Match Centre". 21 May 2016. Archived from the original on 21 May 2016. Retrieved 14 September 2017.
  4. ^ "GUINNESS PRO12 2016 Final tickets on sale now". Archived from the original on 24 October 2015.
  5. ^ "BT Murrayfield stadium is the home of Scottish rugby, and houses the offices of the Scottish Rugby Union". Archived from the original on 5 September 2015. Retrieved 16 September 2015.
  6. ^ "Pro12: Edinburgh to host 2016 final at Murrayfield". BBC Sport. 8 September 2015. Retrieved 16 March 2018.
  7. ^ "Leinster power through to decider after thrilling play-off". RTE Sport. 21 May 2016. Retrieved 24 May 2016.
  8. ^ "Pro12 semi-final: Connacht 16-11 Glasgow Warriors". BBC Sport. 21 May 2016. Retrieved 24 May 2016.
  9. ^ "2016 Pro12 Grand Final Betting". Paddy Power. 24 May 2016. Retrieved 24 May 2016.
  10. ^ "Major blow to Connacht's title hopes as Bundee Aki and Denis Buckley struggle to shake off injuries". Irish Independent. 25 April 2016. Retrieved 19 March 2019.
  11. ^ "Ireland international White forced to retire from rugby after concussion injury". The42. 28 September 2016. Retrieved 28 September 2016.
  12. ^ "The water slide accident that cost Jack Carty his spleen and a Pro12 final". The42. 29 September 2016. Retrieved 26 December 2017.
  13. ^ "Guinness PRO12 final Preview: Connacht v Leinster". Pro12. 28 May 2016. Retrieved 19 March 2019.
  14. ^ "'That's for Dad' - Man of the match Devin Toner's classy tribute". The42. 11 June 2016. Retrieved 19 March 2019.
  15. ^ "COMMENT: Slew of injuries threatening Sean O'Brien's Ireland legacy". SportsJOE. 19 February 2016. Retrieved 19 March 2019.
  16. ^ "Injured Cian Healy could miss rest of the season". Irish Independent. 3 May 2016. Retrieved 19 March 2019.
  17. ^ "Lam's brilliant Connacht earn first-ever trophy with stunning win over Leinster". The 42. 29 May 2016. Retrieved 31 May 2016.
  18. ^ "Pro12 final: Connacht 20-10 Leinster". BBC Sport. 28 May 2016. Retrieved 31 May 2016.
  19. ^ "Connacht make history with epic victory over Leinster in Pro 12 final". Irish Independent. 28 May 2016. Retrieved 31 May 2016.
  20. ^ "'Team for everyone' get their just rewards". Irish Independent. 30 May 2016. Retrieved 31 May 2016.
  21. ^ "2016 Pro12 Final: as it happened". The 42. 28 May 2016. Retrieved 31 May 2016.
  22. ^ "Glorious Connacht complete dream season in style : Guinness PRO12 : Match Centre". 2 June 2016. Archived from the original on 2 June 2016. Retrieved 14 September 2017.
  23. ^ "Alan Quinlan: A glorious dream is now Connacht's reality but they must keep Pat Lam". Irish Independent. 30 May 2016. Retrieved 31 May 2016.
  24. ^ "Thousands pack the streets of Galway for rugby heroes Connacht's homecoming". Irish Mirror. 30 May 2016. Retrieved 31 May 2016.
  25. ^ "One almighty party planned for Galway as Connacht's homecoming parade confirmed". The 42. 29 May 2016. Retrieved 31 May 2016.
  26. ^ "The top 10 moments from Connacht's historic season". Irish Independent. 3 June 2016. Retrieved 3 June 2016.