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stevemagoo
26-06-08, 03:12 PM
Courtesy of Leinster rugby:


Attention Sports Editors / Rugby Correspondents:


Leinster Rugby are delighted to announce the Senior squad for the coming season.

The Magners League champions are boosted by the news that two of world rugby's outstanding stars - South African World Cup winning prop Christoffel Johannes (CJ) Van Der Linde and Australian international back-row forward Rocky Elsom - have each agreed deals with the province and will join up with the squad upon the completion of their international commitments.

Ireland 'A' hooker John Fogarty joins from Connacht, while versatile scrum-half/wing Simon Keogh also returns to the province of his birth after a five-year spell with Harlequins. Both have signed two-year deals.

Leinster Coach Michael Cheika said: "I am really pleased with the recruitment process that has been put in place over the last few months. That players of the calibre of CJ, Rocky and Isa Nacewa have decided to move is good news for our team and they will add to the competitiveness of our squad. All three are young, hungry and gifted internationals who are determined to succeed.

"In John Fogarty and Simon Keogh we have recruited players of outstanding experience who are familiar with Irish rugby and I am sure that they will also be relishing the opportunity of a new and exciting challenge. I am delighted to welcome all our new players and wish them well for the new campaign. As a squad, we are all determined to push on and become more consistent in our ambitions in both the Magners League and the Heineken Cup."


South African Van Der Linde, 28, has signed a three-year deal from Super 14 side the Cheetahs and he made his senior international debut against Scotland at Murrayfield in 2002 and has also featured in the Tri Nations squads from 2004-'07. Van Der Linde possesses the valuable ability to play at both tight and loose-head prop and has represented the Springboks in 50 Tests, including all six in last year's victorious World Cup winning campaign.

CJ Van Der Linde: "I am very excited about my move to Leinster on a three year contract. I have always wanted to be part of a team capable of lifting the Heineken Cup, a trophy that has always been one of my goals, and it is important the team builds on its Magners League success. It was a tough decision leaving the Free State Cheetahs, Currie Cup champions in South Africa from 2005-'07, but I would like to thank my family, close friends and all the Cheetahs followers who have given me incredible support over the years. I look forward to joining the team after the 2008 Tri-Nations Championship in August."



Elsom, 25, has been a regular for the Wallabies since making his debut in 2005 against Samoa and has agreed a one year deal with an option of another year. A product of Brisbane's Nudgee College, he represented Australia at Under-16 level in 1999 and Australian Schools in 2000 before being picked up by NRL club the Bulldogs, where he spent the following two seasons. An Australia 'A' representative following his return to Rugby Union in 2003, Elsom featured heavily for the Waratahs in the last three years of the Super 12 before making his Wallaby debut. In 2007 Elsom was named captain of the Waratahs and has made 66 Super 14 appearances (10 tries) and has also represented the Wallabies on 33 occasions, scoring five tries.

Rocky Elsom: "I think that I'm very fortunate to have been able to put a deal together with Leinster and I'm really excited about having the opportunity to play in a team that I know has a lot of good players. In Michael Cheika, the club has a very sought-after coach and with Alan Gaffney also joining the set-up, it's great for me personally that I am familiar with those two guys. It's very rare to have two coaches of that quality together in any set-up. I have seen a good bit of Leinster over the last year and my impressions are that it is a strong and ambitious squad with a lot of promise. The challenge will be to play well in the Magners League and the Heineken Cup competitions next year."



Former Ireland 'A' captain John Fogarty, 30, hails from Cork and was educated in Rockwell College. John enjoyed a three-year spell with Munster (2000-'03) and made 110 appearances for Connacht (83 in the Magners League and 27 in the European Challenge Cup) since his debut in the 2003/'04 season and is a brother of fellow Ireland 'A' star Denis.

John Fogarty: "We started pre-season (training) earlier this week, and it has been very tough, but my immediate objective is to have the best pre-season I can possibly have because I want to hit the ground running. Being up here with Leinster is a source of great pride to me. But I know that although it's one thing to be here, it's another altogether to make an impression in a team where the standard of player is so high. It's a new challenge and an exciting one at that. Coming from Connacht, which I thoroughly enjoyed, the lure of Heineken Cup rugby is another massive incentive. It's great to be involved with a team of this quality and I hope that we have a successful season."


Dubliner Simon Keogh has re-signed for the province after making 133 appearances for Harlequins where he won the European Challenge Cup in 2004. The scrum-half/wing was educated in St. Michael's College, Dublin and has made 10 appearances for Leinster (four in the Heineken Cup and three in the Celtic League) between 2000-'03.

Simon Keogh: "I am very excited to be back with Leinster. There have been massive changes since my last spell, not least the facilities which, for one, are light years away from what they were when we would be getting changed out of the back of a car! In my first spell with the province I was that bit younger, but I have gained a lot of experience in England and I am going to try and make a positive impression here. My ambition is to play, simply. I want to work hard and try to get in the team and I'm looking forward to the coming season."


In addition to the arrivals, rising Academy stars Eoin O'Malley and Sean O'Brien have also signed professional contracts to join another, Fergus McFadden, who made the Senior breakthrough last year. They will hope to follow in the footsteps of the likes of Luke Fitzgerald, Rob Kearney, Jonathan Sexton, Jamie Heaslip, Devin Toner and Cian Healy who have all made the step up to the Senior squad in recent years.

Meanwhile, Leinster can also confirm their pre-season schedule ahead of the start of the Magners League and Heineken Cup campaign which includes fixtures away to Padova (August 20th) and Benetton Treviso (August 23rd) as part of a week long Italian training camp. Leinster will then play a home game in Donnybrook against Super 14 outfit the Queensland Reds (either on August 29th or 30th, date tbc).

The Magners League champions also expect to fill the Forwards Coach vacancy within the next fortnight.

Prestwick
26-06-08, 03:14 PM
Well, well, well, looks like Leinster will finally have the pack to match the prowess of their backs!

stevemagoo
26-06-08, 03:21 PM
Plus Isa Nacewa from Auckland to boot....
If this isn't our year....
:)

nam97
26-06-08, 03:39 PM
CJ Van Der Linde: "I am very excited about my move to Leinster on a three year contract. I have always wanted to be part of a team capable of lifting the Heineken Cup, a trophy that has always been one of my goals, and it is important the team builds on its Magners League success. It was a tough decision leaving the Free State Cheetahs, Currie Cup champions in South Africa from 2005-'07, but I would like to thank my family, close friends and all the Cheetahs followers who have given me incredible support over the years. I look forward to joining the team after the 2008 Tri-Nations Championship in August."
[/b]

Love it when players say this when they move up North, does anyone actually believe it?

cyRil
26-06-08, 03:52 PM
<div class='quotemain'>
CJ Van Der Linde: "I am very excited about my move to Leinster on a three year contract. I have always wanted to be part of a team capable of lifting the Heineken Cup, a trophy that has always been one of my goals, and it is important the team builds on its Magners League success. It was a tough decision leaving the Free State Cheetahs, Currie Cup champions in South Africa from 2005-&#39;07, but I would like to thank my family, close friends and all the Cheetahs followers who have given me incredible support over the years. I look forward to joining the team after the 2008 Tri-Nations Championship in August."
[/b]

Love it when players say this when they move up North, does anyone actually believe it?
[/b][/quote]
Why wouldn&#39;t they? If a player wants to come up north for a payday at the end of his career, he&#39;d also think about and love to play in and win one of the best club competitions in the world.
I&#39;m sure a lot of NH players would love to win the S14, I know Henson has stated that he wants to play in it at some stage.
(Cue bull**** about Henson not being good enough, blablabla...)

Bullitt
26-06-08, 04:04 PM
The real funny part there is "Lienster being capable of winning the HEC"! :lol:

shazbooger
26-06-08, 05:18 PM
Steady on lads. Its a long shot, but not laughably so. Their home form is good enough (ask Leicester and Toulouse) but they have consistently underperformed away from home.

The squad is steadily improving so while Sexton, Fitzgerald and Kearney have had good years, the new additions of Van Der Linde and Elsom will only improve it further in areas that needed improving. Add Gaffney to the coaching set up (please god get the backs working) and there are plenty of reasons to expect an improvement in results next year.

A pack containing Jackman, Van Der Linde, Cullen, Heaslip, Jennings and Elsom, and a backline with Contepomi, D&#39;Arcy, O&#39;Driscoll, Kearney, Fitzgerald, Horgan (not mentioning Dempsey or Sexton) cant be laughed out of the competition.

errlloyd
26-06-08, 06:17 PM
Its cool they are playing the Reds, never really followed anything below Heiniken since I lost setanta, but now I got it back I shall be watching pre season.

Sir Speedy
26-06-08, 06:47 PM
The real funny part there is "Lienster being capable of winning the HEC"! :lol:
[/b]
For once I agree with you. Although like Loggo(diar)rea (lol sp?) said, their chances aren&#39;t so slim that it&#39;s laughable - give them two years and they could well win it. Although, Clermont have next years cup tied down, of course. ;)

Fushitsusha
27-06-08, 02:44 PM
Elsom will only be playing one season for Leinster before returning to Australia during the middle of next year.

So I wouldn&#39;t go including him in any long-term plans. He&#39;s only there to make a bit of money before returning home.

Hopefully by then the Wallabies can find a more consistent blindside flanker to replace him.

sanzar
27-06-08, 02:54 PM
You never know, the northern hemisphere experience might help him and he could come back carving.

shazbooger
27-06-08, 05:12 PM
Works for all of us then doesnt it.