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Leinster Rugby (more commonly known as Leinster) is an Irishmarker professional rugby union team based in the Irish Province of Leinster, that competes in the Magners League and Heineken Cup (current champions) and plays in Dublinmarker. The team represents the Irish Rugby Football Union Leinster Branch which is one of four branches of the IRFU, and is responsible for rugby union in the Irish province of Leinster. The amateur Leinster sides previously played in a plain navy jersey with white shorts and navy socks. The Leinster Harp survives from the amateur era.

Leinster's traditional home ground is in Donnybrookmarker, in Dublin Citymarker's south side that has been recently redeveloped to a capacity of 7,000. In 2004/05 they began playing some home games at the RDS Arenamarker. The RDS was redeveloped between 2006 and 2007 to a capacity of 18,500 with permanent floodlights and upgraded seats and facilities and currently hosts all of Leinster's home games.

On 23 May 2009, Leinster won the Heineken Cup Final at Murrayfieldmarker. The final score was 19-16. After this win, Leinster are now ranked 3rd on ERC European Rankings after Munster and Leicester..

History & Amateur Days

The Leinster Branch was formed in, 1879 in a meeting at 63 Grafton Street.. In amateur days the four provinces played against each other in the Interprovincial Championship and also played touring sides (usually midweek). 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

When rugby union was declared 'open' in 1995, these four teams became the four professional teams run by the Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU).

Leinster have traditionally played under the Harp. The flag of Leinster has a Gold Harp on a Green Background, and Leinster originally wore green. Today while Leinster play in blue they have maintained the harp.

Professionalism & Leinster Lions brand

Leinster went professional in 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, but before the start of the 2004/05 season it was decided to drop the 'Lions' from the name, however it is still used for marketing and branding in particular the Cubs Club for Junior members of Leinster Rugby. The Leinster mascot is "Leo the Lion".
Leo the Lion


In 2005 Leinster Rugby re-branded and introduced a stylised harp logo. The old logo was not copywrited and the new logo incorporates the traditional harp which represents the province with a rugby ball which makes it specific to Leinster Rugby.

Heineken Cup Record

Leinster won the Heineken Cup in 2008/2009. Leinster reached the Heineken Cup semi-final in 1995/96, 2002/03, 2005/06 and 2008/2009.

2002/2003
In 2002/03, they became only the third team in the history of the Heineken Cup to win all their games in pool play and the first team to do it twice in the 2004/05 season. They also went one step further in the playoffs than the previous season by reaching the semis, but lost at home against French side Perpignan.

2003/2004
Leinster failed to progress out of the pool stages.

2004/2005
The 2004/05 Leinster team also won all of their games in pool play, and were again considered among the favourites for the title. However, they went out at the quarter final stage to Leicester Tigers.

2005/2006
In 2005/06 Leinster qualified for the quarter finals as a best runner up by demolishing Bath at "the Recmarker". In the quarter-final they gave one of the province's greatest ever performances, beating number 1 seeds and reigning champions Toulouse in France by a scoreline of 41-35.

On 23 April they continued to the semi finals of the Heineken Cup against fellow Irish provincial team Munster, where they were beaten 30-6. This defeat (referred to only as "Black Sunday" by many supporters) marked a low point in the Leinster's history, which was only to be assauged by reversing the defeat against Munster in 2009.

2006/2007
In 2006/07, Leinster again qualified for the quarter finals stage of the Heineken Cup winning their pool yet losing two pool games along the way. This meant that Leinster would have to face London Wasps away in the quarter finals, and Leinster went on to lose 35-13.

2007/2008
In 2007/08, Leinster failed to qualify out of their pool for the Heineken Cup, finishing 3rd in their pool.

2008/2009
In 2008/2009 Leinster topped their pool despite being largely written off after a poor away loss to French side Castres.An away quarter final beckoned against Harlequins who opted to play the game in the Stoop (capacity 12,700) despite the financial rewards of moving the game to Twickenham. This move was seen by many as an attempt to maximise home advantage by limiting the number of travelling Leinster fans. Leinster won a thrilling match 5-6 despite the Bloodgate Scandal. The overwhelming support of the Leinster fans was acknowledged by Leinster Rugby by naming the Leinster Supporters as Player of the Month for April following their presence at the Stoop.

Leinster faced a semi final against Munster. Again they were billed as the underdogs. One rugby pundit famously remarked that "the only way Leinster will beat Munster is if Aliens abduct the entire Munster team on the way to Croke Park", whilst another claimed that not a single Leinster player would make the Munster team. Technically an away fixture, the game was held in Dublin's Croke Park in a match that holds the world record attendance for a club rugby game. Leinster won the game in emphatic fashion 6-25.

The 2009 Heineken Cup Final was held in Murrayfield Stadium in Edinburghmarker. It is estimated that between 50,000 and 60,000 Leinster fans made the trip across the Irish Sea to attend. Fans travelled by plane and boat to ports and airports throughout Britain and mainland Europe. Leinster won the Final 19-16 to claim their first European crown.

Magners/Celtic League record

2001/2002
Leinster were the inaugural Celtic League Champions in 2002 beating rivals Munster in the final in Lansdowne Road.

2002/2003
Leinster failed to make the knockout stages, finishing in 5th place in Pool A.

2003/2004
After a good beginning to the season, Leinster finish the season in 8th place.

2004/2005
Leinster begin to creep back up the table with an creditable 3rd placed finish, just 3 points behind the eventual winners.

2005/2006
Leinster finish in 2nd place, agonizingly losing out on the final day (Although winning and earning a bonus point Vs Edinburgh) as Ulster managed to beat The Ospreys in Swansea with a last ditch David Humphreys drop goal.

2006/2007
Leinster were again pipped to the Magners League title on the last day, this time by The Ospreys. Leinster's loss to the Cardiff Blues sealed their fate and handed them another 2nd placed finish.

2007/2008
On 3 May 2008, Leinster were crowned Magners League champions for the second time in front of their home fans as they scored a six-try 41-8 victory over the Newport Gwent Dragons at the RDS.

2008/2009
Leinster were again pushing for the title, only for their European ambitions to take priority. Leinster went on to finish 3rd, pipped at the post of the runners up spot on the final weekend by Edinburgh after the Scots' bonus point victory away to Cardiff Blues.

2009/2010
After narrowly losing the opening game in Wales, Leinster led the competion at the break for the "Autumn Internationals". Their record breaking 30-0 win over Munster in the RDS was marred by a John Hayes red card for stamping on the face of fellow international front row Cian Healy.

Supporters and Supporters Club

Supporters

Leinster won the "Best Supported Team" award in the 2006/2007 season and again 2007/2008. This award recognises the Magner League team with the highest annual attendance. The awards confirmed Leinster's status as one of the best supported teams in Europe (4th to Stade Toulousain, Stade Francais & Leicester Tigers).

In 2008/2009 Leinster Rugby named their Supporters as Player of the Month for April following their enthusiastic vocal support in the Heineken Cup Quarter Final V Harlequins at the Stoop

Supporters Club

The Official Leinster Supporters Club, or OLSC for short, was formally established as a club in 2007 following a period of informal activity. As well as mobilising and organising the Supporters into a vocal and visible force, the aims of the Club are as follows:
  • To encourage and facilitate support for the Leinster rugby team on and off the field throughout the province of Leinster and elsewhere
  • To provide information on home and away fixtures involving Leinster rugby
  • To provide information in relation to and, where possible, arrange transport to games for members
  • To provide items such as banners, flags and musical instruments when possible at home and away fixtures
  • To organise social events for members
  • To communicate the views of members to Leinster Rugby
  • To raise funds through sponsorship and merchandise to finance the activities of the Club
  • To organise charitable fund raising


The OLSC does much work to ensure Leinster Fans turn up for their team as the fabled '16th man'. This was particularly true during the play-off stages of the 2008/2009 Heineken Cup, but is also the case at home games in the RDS.

"Legends" T-Shirts
Amongst other merchandise sold to raise funds, the OLSC coordinate the 'Legends' t-shirt series. These are a series of t-shirts designed to honour players who have given outstanding service to Leinster Rugby. The first in the series was the "BIG MAL - 6'8" CLEARANCE" in honour of Malcom O'Kelly, and (probably) the most famous is the "TRISKAIDEKAPHOBIA" t-shirt designed for Brian O'Driscoll. On the occasion of his 100th Leinster cap, Dr Felipe Contepomi was presented with a miniature "Dr Phil" legend t-shirt for his infant daughter.

Attendances and Records

Records

Longest Unbeaten Run

Leinster currently hold the record for the longest unbeaten run (11 games unbeaten) in the Magners League. They also hold the record for the second longest unbeaten run (10 games unbeaten).

Record Match Attendances

2006/2007

Leinster hold the record for the biggest Celtic League attendance. The match was against Ulster on 31 December, 2006 and was the last match held at Lansdowne Road before renovation began on the ground, earning the match the moniker of "The Last Stand". Leinster won the match 20-12, with an attendance of 48,000.The previous attendance record in the Celtic League was also set at Lansdowne Road, and also for a game involving Leinster (versus Munster.)

2008/2009

A World Record attendance for a club Rugby Union match of 82,208 was set on 2 May, 2009 when Leinster played Munster in the Heineken Cup semi-final in Croke Parkmarker. The match was won by Leinster 6 - 25.

2009/2010

With an average Magners League attendance of 14,964 and almost 11,000 season ticket holders for the 09/10 season, Leinster are the best supported team in Ireland and the fourth best supported team in Europe.

Notable Players

See also

British and Irish Lions

The following Leinster players, in addition to representing Ireland, have also represented the British and Irish Lions.



Other former Internationally capped players



Non-Irish Qualified Players



Honours



Management & Coaching Team

Position Name Nationality
Head Coach Michael Cheika
Consultant Coach Alan Gaffney
Forwards Coach Jono Gibbes
Defence Coach Kurt McQuilkin
Chief Executive Mick Dawson (Ireland)
Physiotherapist James Allen (Ireland)
Strength & Conditioning Coach Jason Cowman (Ireland)
Chief Scout Guy Easterby (Ireland)
Baggage Master Patrick Moloi


Leinster Squad 2009/2010

 (C)


Departures & Arrivals 2009/10 season

Out

In



Internationally Capped Players



See also



References



External links




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