18 May, 11:09
IRFU Chief Executive Philip Browne has issued a statement following confirmation of Ronan O'Gara's decision to retire from playing professional rugby.
Celtic League table-toppers Edinburgh kept Connacht's scoring to a single penalty on Saturday as they romped to a 34-3 success at Murrayfield.
CELTIC LEAGUE: Saturday, September 10
Edinburgh Gunners 34 Connacht 3, Murrayfield (Att: 1,813)
Scorers: Edinburgh: Tries: Penalty try, Chris Paterson, Rob Dewey, Simon Webster, Ally Hogg; Cons: Paterson 3; Pen: Paterson
Connacht: Pen: Paul Warwick
This win was building for Frank Hadden's Scots after two consecutive home losses to Connacht. The Gunners took full advantage of the westerners' sloppiness in the second half to tally up five tries, one of which was a penalty try.
This was a set back for Michael Bradley's side, and the gravity of the result could be increased if they fail to front up in Llanelli when visiting the Scarlets next Saturday. There was little to take from Saturday's performance other than the fact that it could be a long season for Bradley's side.
Edinburgh established a stranglehold on the game in the opening quarter, running up a 10-0 lead while Connacht attacked using rarely successful chip kicks and up-and-unders.
Edinburgh captain Chris Paterson kicked the home side into a 16th-minute lead before winger Simon Webster broke through, after good work from Alastair Kellock, for the only try of the first half on 24 minutes. Connacht fly-half Paul Warwick, who had an earlier drop goal disallowed for foul play in the lead-up, then landed a penalty as tempers began to fray in the closing minutes of the half.
Ally Hogg and Connacht skipper Andrew Farley were pinged for tackling indiscretions by Welsh referee Neil Ballard and both were sin-binned, one after the other, in injury-time. Farley's challenge was an illegal block on Gunners full-back Franciso Leonelli.
Edinburgh got off to the best of starts, six minutes into the second half, when they were awarded a penalty try for a jersey tug by Matt Mostyn on Paterson as he attempted to ground what looked like a simple try.
Paterson converted and as Hadden's men went on a spurt, with Connacht consistently on the retreat, the game was effectively over by the hour mark.
Scotland back row Hogg barged over in the left corner for a 59th-minute try, and three minutes later, Paterson converted a try for centre Rob Dewey which chalked up the Scots' bonus point. Paterson and the impressive Leonelli had done the groundwork for the score.
Finally, a neat pass from former Ulster lock Matt Mustchin saw Paterson go over for a 66th-minute touch down, which tallied up a 14-point haul for the experienced right winger.
EDINBURGH: Francisco Leonelli (Hugo Southwell 65); Chris Paterson (Capt), Marcus Di Rollo, Rob Dewey, Simon Webster; Phil Godman (Duncan Hodge 60), Mike Blair (Rory Lawson 70); Dave Hewett (Allan Jacobsen 65), Dougie Hall (Andrew Kelly 60), Craig Smith, Alastair Kellock (Fergus Pringle 70), Scott Murray, Matt Mustchin (Alasdair Strokosch 70), Simon Cross, Allister Hogg. Sin-Bin: Hogg (40+5 mins).
CONNACHT: David Slemen (Daniel Riordan 68); Matt Mostyn, Darren Yapp, Keith Matthews, Conor McPhillips; Paul Warwick, Chris Keane (Tom Tierney 69); Ray Hogan (Dan McFarland half-time), John Fogarty (Chris Venter 55), Stephen Knoop (Ronan Loughney 67), Christian Short, Andrew Farley (Capt) (Michael Swift 65), John Muldoon, Matt Lacey (Brendan O'Connor 65), Colm Rigney. Sin-Bin: Farley (40+7 mins).
Referee: Neil Ballard (Wales)