Evening Sports Update

SOCCER

The Republic of Ireland under-21’s have continued their fine start to their European Championship qualifying campaign.

A Reece Grego-Cox hat-trick helped Noel King’s side to a 4-nil victory at home to Israel.

RUGBY

Leinster coach Stuart Lancaster says they won’t play Sean O’Brien in Saturday’s Champions Cup opener with Montpellier if they feel there’s a risk in doing so.

The back row is a major doubt for the Pool 3 encounter after he suffered a calf injury during their recent Pro 14 meeting with Edinburgh.

O’Brien will be assessed over the next 48 hours.

Captain Isa Nacewa is available after returning to training, while Josh van der Vlier has shaken off the effects of a cut to the cheekbone.

Lancaster has come in for harsh criticism in a new book from former English RFU director Rob Andrew.

He claims England’s miserable 2015 World Cup campaign was a “slow-motion car crash” because of Stuart Lancaster’s planning.

He says the former head coach made an “almighty blunder” picking rugby league convert Sam Burgess in his squad.

In an extract from his new book, published in the Daily Telegraph, Andrew says Lancaster’s lack of clarity and focus contributed to their failure.

The Pro 14’s final place for Champions Cup qualification will be decided by a playoff for the first time.

The fourth-placed sides in each conference will square off in a one-legged playoff to decide who will go forward to Europe’s top table next season.

The game will be played on the first weekend in May with home advantage afforded to the side ending the regular season with the most points.

GAELIC GAMES

Cork duo Aisling Thompson and captain Rena Buckley have been shortlisted for the Camogie Association/WGPA Players’ Player of the Year Award.

Joining them on that shortlist is Kilkenny defender Anne Dalton.

Members of inter-county panels will decide the winner, with the player of the year revealed at the Camogie All Stars on November 4th.

SHARE