Leinster Rugby

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Leinster Rugby
LeinsterRugby logo 2019.svg
Founded1879; 142 years ago (1879)
LocationDublin, Ireland
Ground(s)RDS Arena (Capacity: 18,500)
Aviva Stadium (Capacity: 51,700)
CEOMick Dawson
Coach(es)Leo Cullen
Captain(s)Jonathan Sexton
Most capsDevin Toner (263)
Top scorerJonathan Sexton (1,507)
Most triesShane Horgan (69)
League(s)Pro14
2020–211st Conf A (Champions)
1st kit
2nd kit
Official website
www.leinsterrugby.ie

Leinster Rugby (Irish: Rugbaí Laighean) is one of the four professional provincial rugby teams from the island of Ireland and the most successful Irish team both domestically and in European competition. They compete in the Pro14 and the European Rugby Champions Cup (where their 4th title, achieved in 2018, ties the record for that competition alongside Toulouse).

Leinster play their home games primarily at the RDS Arena, although larger games are played in the Aviva Stadium when the capacity of the RDS is insufficient.[1] Before moving to the RDS in 2005, Leinster's traditional home ground was Donnybrook Stadium, in Dublin 4. The province plays primarily in blue and the team crest features a harp within a rugby ball, the harp being taken from the flag of Leinster.

Leinster turned professional along with its fellow Irish provinces in 1995 and has competed in the Pro14 (formerly known as the Celtic League and the Pro12) since it was founded in 2001, having previously competed in the annual Irish interprovincial championship.[2]

History[edit]

Founding (1879–1899)[edit]

The Leinster Branch was inaugurated at a meeting on 31 October 1879. The meeting was held at Lawrence's premises 63 Grafton Street and was largely attended. Although this was the formal founding of Leinster as we know it today, with the amalgamation of the Irish Football Union and the Northern union, the Leinster provincial team had been active since 1879 – when the first interprovincial derby was played against Ulster. The Leinster and Ulster teams also made up the representative Irish team that competed against England in Ireland's first ever international in 1875. Upon the founding of the union, Munster were also added to the fray in 1879, when their first provincial team was selected and first Munster players represented Ireland.[3][4]

F. Kennedy (Wanderers) was elected first Hon. Secretary of the Branch and C.B. Croker (Lansdowne) first Hon. Treasurer.

The function of the Branch was to organise the game of rugby football in the province. Every year five representatives would be selected to join the IRFU Committee. They would be known was the "Leinster Five" and would pick the Leinster representative teams.

The first Interprovincial matches between Leinster, Ulster and Munster were held in 1875. At this time the matches were played with 20 players a side. Leinster lost to Ulster by a converted try and beat Munster by one goal to nil. Since then there has been a match between these teams annually, with Connacht joining the fold in 1885.

Leinster Schools Interprovincial matches have been taking place since 1888. Leinster Schools beat the Ulster Schools in Belfast on Saturday 7 April by a dropped goal to a try. Their first match against Munster Schools took place on 18 March 1899, when Leinster won by two tries to one.

Amateur period (1900–1990s)[edit]

The early 1920s led to the creation of the Provincial Towns Cup and the Metropolitan Cup, which are still hard fought competitions in the Leinster Rugby calendar. Much has changed in rugby over the years, but the original idea of Leinster Club Rugby acting as a feeder for the Leinster Interprovincial side, though now professional, still stands true.

All Interprovincial matches were abandoned during the years of the Great War (1914–1918) and the War period (1939–1945), though unofficial matches were played.[5]

The first major touring side to play Leinster was a team drawn from the New Zealand Army – the Kiwis, in 1946. Although it was not an official touring side organised by the New Zealand Rugby Union, the quality of the match, which was drawn 10 points each, is still remembered to this day.[5]

The first official overseas touring side that came to play Leinster was an Australian touring side in 1957.[5] Since then, Leinster has played against every major touring side from Fiji to France.[5]

Before the days of professional rugby union, there was further emphasis on Irish club rugby as opposed to the provincial game. During these times the provincial sides were purely representative sides and games were far less frequent than now. Between 1946 and 2002 the sides would meet annually to contest the Irish Interprovincial Championship and on rare occasion would be tested against touring international sides. When rugby union was declared 'open' in 1995, these four teams became the four professional teams run by the Irish Rugby Football Union and therefore much of the history of the side has been made in the modern era.

Leo the Leinster Lion

Leinster Lions (1990s–2005)[edit]

Leinster became a professional outfit in the mid-1990s. The "Leinster Lions" name came into existence during the 2001–02 season as the result of a joint marketing initiative between Leinster Rugby and its kit sponsors, the Canterbury Clothing Company. Before the start of the 2004–05 season, the 'Lions' was dropped from the name. It is still used for marketing and branding, in particular the Cubs Club for Junior members of Leinster Rugby.[6] The Leinster mascot is "Leo the Lion". It was also during this time that the song “Molly Malone” became a match fixture to be sung by the fans. [7]

Leinster's first season in the newly formed Celtic League ended in success as the Lions were crowned the inaugural champions, beating rivals Munster Rugby in the 2001–02 final.[8] In 2002–03, they became only the third team in the history of the European Cup to win all their games in pool play. They also went one step further in the playoffs than the previous season by reaching the semi-finals (for the first time since 1995–96), but lost at home against French side Perpignan, which was accompanied by an unsuccessful season in the Celtic League. The 2003–04 season also ended in disappointment as Leinster slumped to their worst ever league performance and failed to qualify from their European Cup group.

Title misses (2004–2007)[edit]

Leinster improved during the 2004–05 season, finishing 3rd, just three points behind the eventual winners, the Ospreys.[9] Leinster also won all of their pool games in that year's European Cup, and were again among the favourites for the title, however they went out at the quarter final stage to Leicester Tigers.[10]

The next two seasons of the Celtic League were to end in near misses for Leinster, as they lost out on the 2005–06 and 2006–07 league titles on the final day of the season. These seasons also saw progress in the European Cup. In 2005–06, Leinster progressed to the semi-final but were eliminated by Irish rivals Munster at Lansdowne Road and they reached the quarter-final the following year where they were beaten by eventual winners London Wasps.

European and domestic dominance (2008–2014)[edit]

Increasing attendances at Leinster games led to a move across Dublin 4 from Donnybrook Stadium to the redeveloped RDS Arena.

In 2007–08, Leinster failed to qualify from their European Cup pool, but did end the season as Celtic League champions, sealing the title with a 41–8 victory over the Newport Gwent Dragons in front of their home fans at the RDS.[11]

In the 2008–09 season, Leinster topped their European Cup pool despite away losses to French side Castres and English side Wasps.[12] Victory over Harlequins in the quarter-finals followed, despite the Bloodgate Scandal. Leinster overcame Munster 25–6 in a semi-final in Dublin's Croke Park that broke the world record attendance for a "club" rugby union game with a crowd of over 82,200.[13] Leinster won the 2009 European Cup Final in Murrayfield Stadium in Edinburgh, beating Leicester Tigers 19–16 to claim their first European crown.[14]

In 2009–10 Leinster was eliminated from the European Cup at the semi-final stage by eventual winners Toulouse. Also despite having topped the Pro12 league during the regular season, Leinster lost the first ever Play-off Final 17–12 on their home ground to the Ospreys.[15]

In the 2010–11 European Cup, Leinster defeated the top English teams (Leicester Tigers, Saracens & Northampton Saints), as well as top French sides, Toulouse (who were the defending European champions), Racing Metro & Clermont Auvergne, (the French Champions).[16] to go on to regain their title as champions of Europe in the 2011 European Cup Final at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff. Trailing at half time, Leinster scored 27 unanswered points in the second half to beat Northampton 33–22 and claim their second European crown with the biggest comeback in European Cup final history.[17][18] Leinster were also chasing a Pro12 & European Cup double, but lost 19–9 to Irish rivals Munster in the Pro12 Final.[19]

In 2011–12 Leinster became only the second side ever to retain the title of European Champions. Leinster emerged unbeaten in group play to top their group[20] and went on to defeat the Cardiff Blues 34–3 in the quarterfinals,[21] followed by a 19–15 semifinal victory over ASM Clermont Auvergne.[22] and defeated Ulster in the first all-Irish final 42–14, recording the most points scored and the most tries scored in a European Cup final as well as becoming the first unbeaten side to win the European Cup.[23] Once again, Leinster targeted the double, and faced a repeat of the 2010 Pro12 final against the Ospreys. Leinster's domestic title challenge fell at the final hurdle, conceding a final minute try to slump to a one-point defeat, and unable to complete the double despite topping the table in the regular season.[24]

The 2012–13 campaign proved to be another successful season for Leinster Rugby. The club finished in second place during the regular season of the Pro12 and defeated Glasgow Warriors by a score of 17–15 in their semi-final play-off match on 11 May 2013.[25] On 17 May, Leinster were crowned champions of the European Challenge Cup after defeating Stade Français 34–13 in the final at their home ground, the RDS Arena.[26] Leinster successfully completed the double on 25 May, defeating Ulster 24–18 in the Pro12 final to claim their third league championship.[27][28]

Leinster continued their success in the 2013–14 season by becoming the first team ever to defend the Pro12 title, topping the league in the regular season and defeating Glasgow Warriors 34–12 in their fifth consecutive Pro12 play-off final and also secured their seventh major title in as many years.[29]

Blooding a new generation (2015–2017)[edit]

Following a remarkable run of seven major trophies in seven years, Leinsters title run came to an end following the 2013–14 season. The 2014–15 season saw a dip in form, with Leinster finishing in fifth place in the league and failing to make the play-offs. Fortunes in the newly formed Champions Cup were better, with the team reaching the semi-final where they were defeated in extra-time by eventual winners, Toulon. At the end of the season, Head Coach, Matt O'Connor, left the club by mutual consent with former club captain, Leo Cullen, being named as his replacement. Cullen then brought in ex-England coach Stuart Lancaster as senior coach at the start of the 2016–17 season, which saw a huge improvement from Leinster as well a big group of young players coming through. Despite playing brilliant rugby all season, Leinster failed to win any silverware, falling short in the Champions Cup semi-final to old rivals Clermont and shocked by the Scarlets in the Pro12 Semi-Final at the RDS. However, there was huge optimism amongst the players and supporters as they believed this was only the start of new generation and perhaps another era of success.

Return to success (2018–present)[edit]

Previous season standings[edit]

Heineken Cup / Champions Cup[edit]

Season Pool/Round Pos Played Won Drawn Lost Bonus Points
1995–96 Pool C 1st 2 2 0 0 4
Semi-final Leinster 14 – 23 Cardiff
1996–97 Pool B 3rd 4 2 0 2 4
1997–98 Pool A 3rd 6 2 0 4 4
1998–99 Pool A 4th 6 2 0 4 4
1999–00 Pool 1 2nd 6 4 0 2 8
2000–01 Pool 1 2nd 6 3 1 2 7
2001–02 Pool 6 1st 6 5 0 1 10
Quarter-final Leicester Tigers 29 – 18 Leinster
2002–03 Pool 4 1st 6 6 0 0 12
Quarter-final Leinster 18 – 13 Biarritz Olympique
Semi-final Leinster 14 – 21 USA Perpignan
2003–04 Pool 3 2nd 6 4 0 2 2 18
2004–05 Pool 4 1st 6 6 0 0 2 26
Quarter-final Leinster 13 – 29 Leicester Tigers
2005–06 Pool 5 2nd 6 4 0 2 6 22
Quarter-final Toulouse 35 – 41 Leinster
Semi-final Leinster 6 – 30 Munster
2006–07 Pool 2 1st 6 4 0 2 5 21
Quarter-final Wasps 35 – 13 Leinster
2007–08 Pool 6 3rd 6 3 0 3 0 12
2008–09 Pool 2 1st 6 4 0 2 4 20
Quarter-final Harlequins 5 – 6 Leinster
Semi-final Munster 6 – 25 Leinster
Final Leinster 19 – 16 Leicester Tigers
2009–10 Pool 6 1st 6 4 1 1 4 22
Quarter-final Leinster 29 – 28 ASM Clermont Auvergne
Semi-final Toulouse 26 – 16 Leinster
2010–11 Pool 2 1st 6 5 0 1 4 24
Quarter-final Leinster 17 – 10 Leicester Tigers
Semi-final Leinster 32 – 23 Toulouse
Final Leinster 33 – 22 Northampton Saints
2011–12 Pool 3 1st 6 5 1 0 2 24
Quarter-final Leinster 34 – 3 Cardiff
Semi-final ASM Clermont Auvergne 15 – 19 Leinster
Final Leinster 42 – 14 Ulster
2012–13 Pool 5 2nd 6 4 0 2 4 20
2013–14 Pool 1 1st 6 5 0 1 2 22
Quarter-final RC Toulon 29 – 14 Leinster
2014–15 Pool 2 1st 6 4 1 1 2 20
Quarter-final Leinster 18 – 15 Bath
Semi-final RC Toulon 25 – 20 Leinster (A.E.T.)
2015–16 Pool 5 4th 6 1 0 5 2 6
2016–17 Pool 4 1st 6 4 1 1 5 23
Quarter-final Leinster 32 – 17 Wasps
Semi-final ASM Clermont Auvergne 27 – 22 Leinster
2017–18 Pool 3 1st 6 6 0 0 3 27
Quarter-final Leinster 30 — 19 Saracens
Semi-final Leinster 38 – 16 Scarlets
Final Leinster 15 – 12 Racing 92
2018–19 Pool 1 1st 6 5 0 1 5 25
Quarter-final Leinster 21 – 18 Ulster
Semi-final Leinster 30 – 12 Toulouse
Final Saracens 20 – 10 Leinster
2019–20 Pool 1 1st 6 6 0 0 4 28
Quarter-final Leinster 17 – 25 Saracens
2020–21[30] Pool A 1st 2 2 0 0 2 10
Round of 16 Leinster –Cancelled– RC Toulon[note 1]
Quarter-final Exeter Chiefs 22 – 34 Leinster
Semi-final La Rochelle –vs– Leinster

Challenge Cup[edit]

Season Round Result
2012–13 Quarter-Final Wasps 28 – 48 Leinster
Semi-final Leinster 44 – 16 Biarritz Olympique
Final Leinster 34 – 13 Stade Français

Celtic League / Pro14[edit]

Season Pos Played Won Drawn Lost Bonus Points
2001–02 1st (Pool A) 7 7 0 0 0 21
Quarter-Final Leinster 34 – 22 Newport
Semi-final Leinster 35 – 13 Glasgow
Final Leinster 24 – 20 Munster
2002–03 5th (Pool B) 7 3 0 4 6 18
2003–04 8th 22 9 1 12 9 47
2004–05 3rd 20 12 1 7 7 57
2005–06 2nd 20 14 0 6 10 74[n 1]
2006–07 3rd 20 12 1 7 11 61
2007–08 1st 18 13 1 4 7 61
2008–09 3rd 18 11 1 6 6 52
2009–10 1st 18 13 0 5 3 55
Semi-final Leinster 16 – 6 Munster
Final Leinster 12 – 17 Ospreys
2010–11 2nd 22 15 1 6 8 70
Semi-final Leinster 18 – 3 Ulster
Final Munster 19 – 9 Leinster
2011–12 1st 22 18 1 3 7 81
Semi-final Leinster 19 – 15 Glasgow
Final Leinster 30 – 31 Ospreys
2012–13 2nd 22 17 0 5 10 78
Semi-final Leinster 17 – 15 Glasgow
Final Ulster 18 – 24 Leinster
2013–14 1st 22 17 1 4 12 82
Semi-final Leinster 13 – 9 Ulster
Final Leinster 34 – 12 Glasgow
2014–15 5th 22 11 3 8 12 62
2015–16 1st 22 16 0 6 9 73
Semi-final Leinster 30 – 18 Ulster
Final Leinster 10 – 20 Connacht
2016–17 2nd 22 18 0 4 13 85
Semi-final Leinster 15 – 27 Scarlets
2017-18 1st 21 14 1 6 12 70
Semi-final Leinster 16 – 15 Munster
Final Leinster 40 – 32 Scarlets
2018–19 1st 21 15 1 5 14 76
Semi-final Leinster 24 – 9 Munster
Final Leinster 18 – 15 Glasgow
2019–20 1st 15 15 0 0 9 69
Semi-final Leinster 13 — 3 Munster
Final Leinster 27 — 5 Ulster
2020–21 1st 16 14 0 2 15 71
Final Leinster 16 — 6 Munster
  1. ^ 11 teams were involved in this season, so one team did not play each week and were awarded 4 points instead.
    Therefore, each team finished the season with 8 more points than the table would seem to warrant.

Current standings[edit]

Pro14 Rainbow Cup[edit]

Pro14 Rainbow Cup watch · edit · discuss
Team P W D L PF PA PD TF TA Try bonus Losing bonus Pts
1 Italy Benetton 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2 Wales Cardiff Blues 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
3 Ireland Connacht 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
4 Wales Dragons 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
5 Scotland Edinburgh 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
6 Scotland Glasgow Warriors 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
7 Ireland Leinster 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
8 Ireland Munster 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
9 Wales Ospreys 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
10 Wales Scarlets 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
11 Ireland Ulster 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
12 Italy Zebre 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
If teams are level at any stage, tiebreakers are applied in the following order:[31]
  1. number of matches won;
  2. the difference between points for and points against;
  3. the number of tries scored;
  4. the most points scored;
  5. the difference between tries for and tries against;
  6. the fewest red cards received;
  7. the fewest yellow cards received.
Green background (rows 1 & 2) are play-off places and earn a place in the final.

European Rugby Champions Cup[edit]

Pool A

Team
P W D L PF PA Diff TF TA TB LB Pts
Ireland Leinster 2 2 0 0 70 33 +37 9 4 2 0 10
England Wasps 2 2 0 0 57 22 +35 9 3 2 0 10
France Bordeaux Bègles 2 2 0 0 63 20 +43 8 1 1 0 9
France La Rochelle 2 2 0 0 41 8 +33 6 1 1 0 9
Wales Scarlets 2 2 0 0 51 19 +32 6 2 1 0 9
Scotland Edinburgh 2 1 0 1 24 28 -4 2 4 0 1 5
France Toulon 2 1 0 1 26 42 -16 2 6 0 0 4
England Sale Sharks 2 0 0 2 29 42 -13 4 3 0 1 1
England Northampton Saints 2 0 0 2 31 51 -20 3 5 0 1 1
England Bath 2 0 0 2 19 51 -32 2 6 0 1 1
France Montpellier 2 0 0 2 28 68 -40 3 10 0 0 0
Wales Dragons 2 0 0 2 16 71 -55 2 11 0 0 0

[32]

Honours[edit]

Colours and crest[edit]

Flag of the Province of Leinster

The current crest was introduced in 2005 as Leinster Rugby held no copyright on the previous crest. The new, stylised crest, is made specific to Leinster Rugby as it incorporates the harp with a rugby ball.[34] The Leinster Rugby crest is on all official club merchandise including replica jerseys.

The province's current kit (2018/19) is blue with a pattern of spearheads on the jersey which takes inspiration from the people of Laighean (the ancient Irish name for Leinster), while the alternative kit is green with gold features, the colours seen in the Flag of Leinster, with a pattern of geographical cutouts for its 12 counties. The European kit is 'night navy' with the name of each of the 12 counties visible on the jersey written in the ancient Irish alphabet ogham.

The Leinster jersey also features four stars above the crest, to represent the four European Cup titles won to date.

Stadia[edit]

RDS Arena[edit]

The RDS Arena

Leinster's current home ground is the RDS Arena.[35] Games were first played at the RDS during the 2006–07 season, initially just for European Cup games. By the following season however, all games had been moved to the RDS. The RDS has undergone large scale redevelopment since Leinster moved in. The arena now has a mostly seated capacity of 18,500. As the RDS remains a showjumping venue, the North and South stands are removable. A roof has been constructed to cover the grandstand opposite the pre-existing Anglesea stand.[36] The RDS will be Leinster's home until 2027, as a 20-year lease was signed in 2007.[37]

In July 2014, it was announced by the RDS and Leinster rugby that a design competition was being held to develop the arena into a 25,000 capacity world class stadium, with work expected to commence on the redevelopment in April 2016.[38] The selling of naming rights to the arena will be a key component in funding the project, with an initial budget of €20,000,000 being proposed.[39]

Inside the RDS Arena prior to a Leinster Game

Aviva Stadium[edit]

The Aviva Stadium prior to Leinster game

For bigger games where the RDS does not have sufficient capacity, Leinster play their games at the Aviva Stadium, which has an all-seater capacity of 51,700. These are often key home games in the European Cup or Pro14 games against domestic rivals. In 2010 they first played a home league game against Munster, the first time the stadium sold out,[40] and then against ASM Clermont Auvergne.[41][42][43] Leinster defeated Leicester Tigers at the venue in the 2010–11 European Cup quarter-finals and went on to beat Toulouse in the semi-finals, also held at the Aviva stadium on 30 April 2011, en route to winning their second European Cup.[44] The following season Leinster hosted Munster, Bath and Cardiff at the Aviva Stadium and remained unbeaten at the ground until December 2012 when they lost 21–28 to ASM Clermont Auvergne.

Donnybrook Stadium[edit]

Donnybrook Stadium

Leinster's traditional home over the years has been Donnybrook Stadium in Donnybrook, Dublin 4. Donnybrook consists of a single covered stand and three sides of open terracing. A move across Dublin 4 to the RDS Arena for Leinster was needed to accommodate growing crowds, as the 6,000 capacity stadium had become too small.[45] For this reason, Leinster have signed a long-term lease with the Royal Dublin Society to play home games at the RDS Arena. Donnybrook has since, been improved as a venue with the reconstruction of the grandstand in 2008[46] and remains an important venue for rugby union in Dublin.[5] Due to limited space, it is unlikely that Donnybrook will undergo further redevelopment. Leinster A play their British and Irish Cup games in the stadium and the senior team have continued to hold certain pre-season friendlies in the stadium as well as most Leinster schools cup matches being held at the venue.[47][48]

Supporters[edit]

Before the advent of professionalism in the Irish game, provincial rugby games were generally poorly attended. During most of the 1990s, Leinster matches regularly attracted crowds of about 500 to 2,000.[49] The decision to structure the game professionally via the provincial network through centralised player contracts and the subsequent on-field success achieved by Leinster and the other provinces resulted in a significant increase in support within a decade.[49] Leinster had 3,700 season ticket holders in 2006, double the number of the previous season.[49] Leinster's supporters were named as 'Player of the Month' for April 2009 following their support in the European Cup Quarter Final against Harlequins at The Stoop.[50]

Leinster have the best support of any club in the PRO12 league and had an average attendance of 17,717 in the 2014–15 Pro12 season.[51] Leinster currently have roughly 12,500 season ticket holders.[52]

The Leinster Jet

Leinster hold the record for the biggest Pro12 attendance. On 2 October 2010, Leinster played Munster in the 5th round of the league at the Aviva Stadium, this set a new crowd attendance record for a Pro12 game at 50,645. Leinster won the match 13–9.[53]

The last match at the old Lansdowne Road stadium was against Ulster on 31 December 2006 before it was demolished to make way for the new Aviva Stadium, earning the match the moniker of "The Last Stand". Leinster won the match 20–12, with an attendance of 48,000 – a record at the time.[54] A previous attendance record in the Pro12 was also set at Lansdowne Road, for a game between Leinster and Munster which drew a crowd of 30,000.[55] Leinsters European Cup clash against Munster at Croke Park on 2 May 2009 set a world record attendance for a club rugby union game with a crowd of 82,208.[56] The Official Leinster Supporters Club was formally established as a club in 2007.[57]

Leinster A[edit]

Leinster A is the team that represents Leinster in the British & Irish Cup,[58] having won the competition a record two times to date, in the 2012–13 season as well as the 2013–14 season, also becoming the first and only side to ever successfully defend the trophy. Leinster A also compete in the All Ireland Inter-provincial Championship. Pre-professionalism and a formal Celtic league structure, the main Leinster team competed in the AIIPC. Since the advent of professionalism the provinces have fielded lesser teams to concentrate on the Celtic League. The team is composed of Senior Leinster squad players requiring gametime, Development contract & Academy players and, occasionally, AIL players called up from their clubs.

For the 2019–20 season, the Leinster A team is coached by Noel McNamara.[59]

Competition Played Won Drawn Lost % Won Championships
British and Irish Cup 61 46 2 13 75.41% 2012–13, 2013–14
Celtic Cup 15 15 0 0 100.00% 2018–19, 2019–20
Total 76 61 2 13 80.26%

Updated as of 12 April 2021.[60]

Sponsorship[edit]

From the 2007–08 season to the 2017–18 season Leinster's kits were supplied by Canterbury of New Zealand but for the next five seasons starting with the 2018 -19 season Leinster's kits will be supplied by Adidas. Bank of Ireland, the country's oldest banking institution are Leinster's primary sponsors appearing in the front of their shirt, their sleeves, the top back of their shirt and the front right of their shorts. The Bank of Ireland symbol appeared on Leinster's front right and front left collars. On occasion the team will wear a shirt adorned with the logo of another sponsor due to a promotion run annually by the bank offering up the sponsorship space to an Irish business by way of a competition to win the right to become sponsor for a day.[61] During the 2013–14 season the contest was won by Dublin-based meat wholesaler Gahan Meats[62] and for 2014–15 the shirt sponsorship winners were accounting software provider Big Red Cloud.[63] The sponsorship prize package is valued at €50,000 and attracts hundreds of companies keen to be shortlisted each year.[64] The left of Leinster's back shorts had Bank of Ireland between 2009 and 2013 where it was replaced by Bank of Ireland's Twitter address right up until 2015 where it was replaced by Laya Healthcare. The teams 'official airline' is Irelands' CityJet.

Management & Coaches[edit]

Position Name Nationality
Chief Executive Mick Dawson  Ireland
Head of Rugby Operations Guy Easterby  Ireland
Head Coach Leo Cullen  Ireland
Senior Coach Stuart Lancaster  England
Assistant Coach Robin McBryde  Wales
Backs Coach Felipe Contepomi  Argentina
Kicking Coach & Head Analyst Emmet Farrell  Ireland
Contact Skills Coach Hugh Hogan  Ireland

Current squad[edit]

Leinster Rugby Pro14 squad[a]

Props

Hookers

Locks

Back row

Scrum-halves

Fly-halves

Centres

Wings

Fullbacks

(c) denotes the team captain, Bold denotes internationally capped players.
* denotes players qualified to play for Ireland on residency or dual nationality.
ST denotes a short-term signing.
Players and their allocated positions from the Leinster Rugby website.[65]
  1. ^ Taking into account signings and departures head of 2020–21 season as listed on List of 2020–21 Pro14 transfers.

Academy squad[edit]

Leinster Rugby Academy squad[a]

Props

Hookers

  • Ireland John McKee (1)

Locks

  • Ireland Brian Deeny (2)
  • Ireland Joe McCarthy (1)
  • Ireland Charlie Ryan (2)

Back row

Scrum-halves

  • Ireland Cormac Foley (2)

Fly-halves

  • None

Centres

Wings

Fullbacks

(c) denotes the team captain, Bold denotes internationally capped players.
* denotes players qualified to play for Ireland on residency or dual nationality.
Players and their allocated positions from the Leinster Rugby website.[66]
  1. ^ Taking into account signings and departures head of 2020–21 season as listed on List of 2020–21 Pro14 transfers.

Results versus representative sides[edit]

Scores and results list Leinster's points tally first.
Date Opponent Location Result Score Notes
17 November 1945 New Zealand New Zealand Kiwis[note 8] Lansdowne Road, Dublin Drew 10–10 Details of Tour
27 November 1957 Australia Australia Lansdowne Road, Dublin Lost 8–10 Match Programme
Match Ticket
1 February 1961 South Africa South Africa Lansdowne Road, Dublin Lost 5–12 Match Programme
22 January 1964 New Zealand New Zealand Lansdowne Road, Dublin Lost 3–11 Match Programme
7 December 1966 Australia Australia Lansdowne Road, Dublin Lost 3–9 Match Programme
15 November 1972 New Zealand New Zealand Lansdowne Road, Dublin Lost 9–17 Match Programme
15 September 1973 Fiji Fiji Lansdowne Road, Dublin Won 30–9 Match Programme
13 November 1974 New Zealand New Zealand Lansdowne Road, Dublin Lost 3–8 Match Programme
Match Highlights
21 October 1978 Argentina Argentina Lansdowne Road, Dublin Lost 13–24
30 December 1979 Italy Italy Donnybrook, Dublin Won 26–10 100 year anniversary
8 October 1980 Romania Romania Donnybrook, Dublin Won 24–10 Match Programme
8 November 1989 New Zealand New Zealand Lansdowne Road, Dublin Lost 9–36 Match Programme
17 October 1992 Australia Australia Lansdowne Road, Dublin Lost 11–38 Match Programme
12 November 1994 United States United States Donnybrook, Dublin Won 26–15 Match Programme
24 August 1999 Argentina Argentina Donnybrook, Dublin Lost 22–51 Match Report
24 August 2019 Canada Canada Tim Hortons Field, Hamilton Won 38–35 Match Report

Records against European Cup and Pro14 opponents in the professional era (1995–present)[edit]

Against Played† Won Drawn Lost % Won
France Agen 2 2 0 0 100.00%
Italy Aironi 4 4 0 0 100.00%
Italy Benetton 25 21 2 2 84.00%
England Bath 11 9 0 2 81.82%
France Biarritz 6 4 0 2 66.67%
France Bordeaux 2 1 0 1 50.00%
Scotland Border Reivers 10 7 0 3 70.00%
France Bourgoin 4 3 0 1 75.00%
Wales Bridgend 2 2 0 0 100.00%
England Bristol 2 2 0 0 100.00%
France Brive 2 2 0 0 100.00%
Wales Cardiff Blues 34 27 2 5 79.41%
Wales Cardiff RFC 1 1 0 0 100%
France Castres 8 6 1 1 75.00%
Wales Celtic Warriors 2 0 0 2 0.00%
South Africa Cheetahs 4 3 0 1 75%
France Clermont Auvergne 9 5 0 4 55.55%
Ireland Connacht 36 27 0 9 75%
Wales Dragons 35 26 0 9 74.29%
Wales Ebbw Vale RFC 1 1 0 0 100.00%
Scotland Edinburgh 40 25 1 14 62.5%
England Exeter Chiefs 5 5 0 0 100.00%
Scotland Glasgow Warriors 50 34 2 14 68%
England Gloucester 2 1 0 1 50.00%
England Harlequins 3 2 0 1 66.67%
England Leicester Tigers 11 6 0 5 54.55%
Wales Llanelli RFC 1 1 0 0 100%
England London Irish 2 0 1 1 0.00%
France Lyon 2 2 0 0 100.00%
France Montpellier 7 5 1 1 71.43%
Ireland Munster 46 29 1 16 63.04%
Italy Milan 3 2 0 1 66.67%
England Newcastle Falcons 2 2 0 0 100.00%
Wales Newport RFC 4 4 0 0 100.00%
England Northampton Saints 10 9 0 1 90%
Wales Ospreys 39 23 3 13 58.97%
France Pau 1 1 0 0 100.00%
France Perpignan 1 0 0 1 0.00%
Wales Pontypridd RFC 2 2 0 0 100%
France Racing 92 3 3 0 0 100.00%
England Sale Sharks 2 1 0 1 50.00%
England Saracens 5 3 0 2 60.00%
Wales Scarlets 40 26 2 12 65%
South Africa Southern Kings 3 3 0 0 100.00%
France Stade Français 5 2 0 3 40.00%
Wales Swansea RFC 3 3 0 0 100.00%
France Toulon 4 0 0 4 0.00%
France Toulouse 12 6 0 6 50.00%
Ireland Ulster 46 35 3 8 76.09%
England Wasps 11 6 1 4 54.55%
Italy Zebre 15 15 0 0 100%
Total 580 409 20 151 70.52%

†Matches played as part of the Irish Interprovincial Rugby Championship, separate from Celtic League fixtures, are not included in this table.
Correct as of 10 April 2021.[67]

In head-to-head terms, Leinster dominate Irish provincial rivals Ulster with a 31–8 win-loss record. Similarly Leinster enjoy a 27–8 win:loss ratio against western province Connacht. Leinster hold only a narrow head-to-head lead against arch-rivals Munster in one of the most intense derbies in world rugby, where they possess a 29–16 advantage. Munster are the closest Pro12 team to having a positive record against Leinster - all of the league's other sides have substantial losing records against Leinster. The Welsh side Celtic Warriors existed in the league for its first couple of seasons and have a positive record against Leinster of two wins and zero defeats, but the sides only ever played a couple of matches head-to-head before Celtic Warriors and a number of other Welsh clubs went out of business or merged. This was also at a time when Leinster were nowhere near as strong as they are now.

In European terms, out of teams who have played at least three games against Leinster, only a few enjoy a winning record. Stade Toulousain (Toulouse) and Leinster are 6–6 after 12 matches between the two teams. Stade Francais lead Leinster 3–2, while RC Toulon have a commanding 4–0 head-to-head lead. These are the only European clubs who have played against Leinster at least three times who have a winning record against them. Unless a negligible number of matches has been played no English, Irish, Welsh, Scottish or Italian clubs lead Leinster in head-to-head terms.

Notable players[edit]

See also Category:Leinster Rugby players. All players are Irish unless otherwise indicated.

British & Irish Lions[edit]

The following Leinster players have also represented the British & Irish Lions.[33] All of the following players have also represented Ireland, unless otherwise noted.

Club captains (professional era)[edit]

Notable overseas players[edit]

The following is a list of non-Irish qualified representative Leinster players:

* indicates World Cup winners
† Ben Te'o subsequently represented England at international level

Head coaches (professional era)[edit]

As of 10 April 2021[note 9]
Coach Season(s) GP† W D L Win % Loss % Championships / Notes
Ireland Jim Glennon 1995/96 – 1996/97 14 9 0 5 64.29% 35.71% Interprovincial Championship (1996)
Wales Mike Ruddock 1997/98 – 1999/00 34 16 0 18 47.06% 52.94% Interprovincial Championship (1998)
Australia Matt Willams 2000/01 – 2002/03 46 31 3 12 67.39% 26.09% Pro14 (2002)
Interprovincial Championship (2002)
Australia Gary Ella 2003/04 30 14 2 14 46.7% 46.7%
Ireland Declan Kidney 2004/05 26 17 1 8 65.38% 30.77%
Ireland Gerry Murphy 2004/05 3 2 0 1 66.67% 33.33% Interim Coach
Australia Michael Cheika 2005/06 – 2009/10 134 88 4 42 65.67% 31.34% European Cup (2009)
Pro14 (2008)
New Zealand Joe Schmidt 2010/11 – 2012/13 99 77 3 19 77.78% 19.19% European Cup (2011, 2012)
European Challenge Cup (2013)
Pro14 (2013)
Australia Matt O'Connor 2013/14 – 2014/15 61 40 5 16 65.57% 26.23% Pro14 (2014)
Ireland Leo Cullen 2015/16 – Present 170 132 3 35 77.65% 20.59% European Cup (2018)
Pro14 (2018, 2019, 2020, 2021)
Pro14 Coach of the year (2018)
Total 1995 – Present 617 426 21 170 69.04% 27.55%

†Games played are inclusive of matches played against touring international sides, but do not include friendlies against club opposition.
‡Glennon was the Leinster head coach for two separate spells between 1992 and 1998, but only matches during the professional era are included in this table.[68]

Personnel honours and records[edit]

(correct as of 10 April 2021)[69]

Bold indicates active player

World Rugby Player of the Year[edit]

Inaugurated 2001

Winners

Nominated (4-6 nominees per year)

World Rugby Breakthrough Player of the Year[edit]

Inaugurated 2015

Nominated (3 nominees per year)

World Rugby Junior Player of the Year[edit]

Inaugurated 2008 - awarded to World Rugby Under 20 Championship player of the tournament

Winners

Nominated (3 - 5 nominees per year)

Europe[edit]

All players listed below are Irish unless otherwise noted.

European Player of the Year

Inaugurated 2010

Winners

Nominated (5 nominees per year)

ERC European Dream Team
The following Leinster players were selected in the ERC European Dream Team, an all-time dream team of Heineken Cup players over the first 15 years of professional European rugby. (1995–2010). Both O'Driscoll and Elsom were part of the 2008–09 Heineken Cup winning team.

  • Brian O'Driscoll (Centre), 1999–2014
  • Australia Rocky Elsom (Flanker), 2008–2009 (Elsom had the fewest Heineken Cup appearances in the team and was the only member born outside of Europe).

Rugby Champions Cup player records

Statistics do not include European Rugby Challenge Cup matches. Updated as of 10 April 2021.[75]

Rugby Champions Cup Individual Season Records

The players listed above were the top try-scorers and points-scorers for the European Rugby Champions Cup in a given season.[76]

Pro 14[edit]

All players listed below are Irish unless otherwise noted. Inaugurated 2006-07.

Pro14 Team of the Year
The following Leinster players were listed on the Pro 14 team of the year.

Season Irish players Foreign players
2006–07 Jamie Heaslip, Gordon D'Arcy, Denis Hickie Argentina Felipe Contepomi
2007–08 Jamie Heaslip (2), Leo Cullen, Bernard Jackman, Malcolm O'Kelly Argentina Felipe Contepomi (2), South Africa Ollie Le Roux, Cook Islands Stan Wright
2008–09 Jamie Heaslip (3), Brian O'Driscoll Australia Rocky Elsom
2009–10 Jamie Heaslip (4), Brian O'Driscoll (2), Leo Cullen (2)
2010–11 Jamie Heaslip (5), Richardt Strauss, Seán O'Brien, Mike Ross Fiji Isa Nacewa
2011–12 Richardt Strauss (2) Fiji Isa Nacewa (2)
2012–13 Ian Madigan
2013–14 Seán Cronin, Jordi Murphy, Rhys Ruddock[77]
2014–15
2015–16 Josh van der Flier Fiji Isa Nacewa (3), New Zealand Ben Te'o
2016–17 Jack Conan, Dan Leavy
2017–18 Andrew Porter, Jack Conan (2), Jordan Larmour AustraliaScott Fardy, New ZealandJames Lowe
2018–19 AustraliaScott Fardy (2)
2019–20 Will Connors, Max Deegan AustraliaScott Fardy (3)
2020–21[78] Michael Bent, Dave Kearney, Scott Penny

Pro 14 Player Records

Category Player Total
Tries Dave Kearney 44
Appearances Devin Toner 179
Points Felipe Contepomi 877

Updated 27 March 2021

Pro14 Golden Boot
The Golden Boot is awarded to the kicker who has successfully converted the highest percentage of place kicks during the 22-week regular Pro12 season. To be eligible, the player must have taken at least 20 kicks at goal. The prize has been awarded annually since 2012. (Percentage success rate in brackets)

Pro14 Individual Awards

Pro14 Team Awards

  • 2010–11: Fairplay Award
  • 2011–12: Fairplay Award

End-of-season awards[edit]

Season Player of the Year Young Player of the Year Supporters' Player of the Year
2006–07 Gordon D'Arcy Luke Fitzgerald, Felix Jones -
2007–08 Bernard Jackman Luke Fitzgerald Keith Gleeson
2008–09[79] Rocky Elsom Cian Healy Felipe Contepomi
2009–10[80] Jamie Heaslip Rhys Ruddock Shane Jennings
2010–11[81] Isa Nacewa Eoin O'Malley Shane Horgan
2011–12[82] Rob Kearney Ian Madigan -
2012–13[83] Ian Madigan Jordi Murphy -
2013–14[84] Jack McGrath Marty Moore -
2014–15[85] Seán Cronin Jack Conan, Peter Dooley -
2015–16[86] Ben Te'o Josh Van Der Flier -
2016–17[87] Luke McGrath Joey Carbery Isa Nacewa
2017–18[88] Dan Leavy James Ryan Dan Leavy
2018–19[89] James Ryan Max Deegan Seán Cronin
2019–20[90] Garry Ringrose Caelan Doris -

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Leinster awarded a walkover as Toulon were unable to field a team following positive COVID-19 test results in the squad
  2. ^ Formerly known as Heineken European Cup
  3. ^ Formerly known as European Challenge Cup
  4. ^ Formerly known as Celtic League / Magners League / Pro12
  5. ^ Contested from 2019 to 2020
  6. ^ Contested from 2009 to 2018
  7. ^ Contested from 1946 to 2002 – Bold indicates Grand Slam; * indicates shared title
  8. ^ Representative side consisting of New Zealand soldiers who completed military service in World War II. Much of the squad went on to represent the All Blacks.
  9. ^ Original research sourced from http://www.leinsterrugby.ie/team/results/index.php

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External links[edit]