Lunchtime Sports Update

RUGBY

Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus makes five changes and names Billy Holland as captain for tomorrow’s Guinness PRO12 round 17 clash away to Cardiff Blues at 5.15pm.

In two changes to the pack Darren O’Shea comes in to partner Holland in the second row with Robin Copeland making his return from a thumb injury to start at number 8.

Across the backline Ian Keatley re-joins Duncan Williams in the half backs with Rory Scannell and Jaco Taute resuming their partnership in midfield – Scannell overcoming the knock to his knee while Taute makes the positional switch from fullback.

The final changes sees Andrew Conway return at fullback.

In managing player load Tyler Bleyendaal was unavailable for selection with Dave Foley missing this weekend’s game due to illness.

Included on the bench for the second consecutive week, should he make an appearance, the academy’s Fineen Wycherley will win his first senior cap.

Munster: Andrew Conway; Darren Sweetnam, Jaco Taute, Rory Scannell, Ronan O’Mahony, Ian Keatley, Duncan Williams; Dave Kilcoyne, Rhys Marshall, Stephen Archer; Darren O’Shea, Billy Holland – capt.; Dave O’Callaghan, Tommy O’Donnell, Robin Copeland.

Replacements: Kevin O’Byrne, Peter McCabe, Brian Scott, Fineen Wycherley, Conor Oliver, Abrie Griesel, Dan Goggin, Francis Saili.

Australia forward Scott Fardy has signed for Leinster.

The 32 year old Brumbies second row who can also play in the back row will link up with Leo Cullen’s side once the Super rugby season is over.

Leinster face Scarletts at the RDS tomorrow and once again Joey Carberry has been named at full back with Ross Byrne at 10.

GREYHOUNDS

Tonight’s card at the kingdom greyhound stadium gets underway at 7.42.

It features the Final of the GMHD.ie Juvenile Classic, with a number of other finals sponsored by Gallivan Murphy Hooper Dolan Insurances Killarney.

ATHLETICS

Dublin’s Brian Gregan has reached this afternoons 400 metres semi finals at the European Indoor championships.

The 27 year old finished second in his heat this morning.

Dublin’s Sinead Denny and Cork’s Phil Healy have not managed to progress in the 400 metres.

Both finished outside of the fastest loser positions.

Healy says she had ” a disaster” of a race but insisted she would learn from it.

European bronze medallist Ciaran Mageean is in action later today in the 1500 metres.

DARTS

World number 1 Michael van Gerwen will not defend his Coral UK Open title, after withdrawing due to a back injury.

The champion for the last 2 years was due to enter at the third round stage as one of the top seeds in Minehead, Somerset.

World number 2 Gary Anderson is the new favourite, but with an open draw after every round, we won’t know whom he faces until later.

The standout tie from the opening matches is the second round clash between former Lakeside World Champions Stephen Bunting and Mark Webster.

SOCCER

It looks like it’ll be Germany against Turkey for the right to host Euro 2024.

Plans for a combined Nordic bid from Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden has been dropped.

The deadline to enter the running is today.

Former Chelsea and Liverpool striker Fernando Torres has been released from hospital after being knocked unconscious in a collision in a league match in Spain.

He needed treatment for several minutes, before being stretchered off, in Atletico Madrid’s 1-1 draw at Deportivo La Coruna.

Torres has tweeted to thank fans for their messages of support.

French great Raymond Kopa has died at the age of 85.

The former Ballon d’Or winner played for the legendary Real Madrid side of the fifties – winning the European Cup three times in a row with the Spanish side.