Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Leinster & Ireland's 2017/18 schedule [first draft]


GREY BOXES INDICATE DATES & TIMES THAT ARE YET TO BE DECIDED
CompetitionDateGameVenueKO (Irish time)
#WRWC2017Wed Aug 9IRELAND v AUSTRALIAUCD Bowl7:00pm
FriendlyFri Aug 11Perpignan v LeinsterStade Aimé Giral7:00pm
#WRWC2017Sun Aug 13IRELAND v JAPANUCD Bowl5:15pm
#WRWC2017Thu Aug 17IRELAND v FRANCEUCD Bowl7:45pm
FriendlyFri Aug 18Leinster v GloucesterSt Mary's RFC7:30pm
#WRWC2017Tue Aug 22IRELAND playoff semifinalBelfast
FriendlyFri Aug 25Leinster v BathDonnybrook7:30pm
#WRWC2017Sat Aug 26IRELAND playoff finalBelfast
Guinness Pro14Sat Sep 2Dragons v LeinsterRodney Parade3:15pm
Guinness Pro14Fri Sep 8Leinster v Cardiff BluesRDS Arena7:35pm
Guinness Pro14Sat Sep 16Southern Kings v LeinsterNelson Mandela Bay1:15pm
Guinness Pro14Sat Sep 23Cheetahs v LeinsterToyota Stadium7:00pm
Guinness Pro14Fri Sep 29Leinster v EdinburghRDS Arena7:35pm
Guinness Pro14Sat Oct 7Leinster v MunsterAviva Stadium2:00pm
Champions CupFri Oct 13TBCTBC
British & Irish CupSat Oct 14Doncaster v Leinster ACastle Park2:30pm
Champions CupFri Oct 20TBCTBC
British & Irish CupFri Oct 20Leinster A v Cardiff Blues PSDonnybrook
Guinness Pro14Sat Oct 28Ulster v LeinsterKingspan Stadium6:15pm
Guinness Pro14Fri Nov 3Glasgow Warriors v LeinsterScotstoun7:35pm
Guinness SeriesSat Nov 11IRELAND v SOUTH AFRICAAviva Stadium5:30pm
Guinness SeriesSat Nov 18IRELAND v FIJIAviva Stadium5:30pm
Guinness Pro14Fri Nov 24Leinster v DragonsRDS Arena7:35pm
Guinness SeriesSat Nov 25IRELAND v ARGENTINAAviva Stadium5:30pm
Guinness Pro14Sat Dec 2Treviso v LeinsterStadio di Monigo3:30pm
Champions CupFri Dec 8TBCTBC
British & Irish CupFri Dec 8Bristol v Leinster AAshton Gate7:45pm
Champions CupFri Dec 15TBCTBC
British & Irish CupFri Dec 15Leinster A v BristolDonnybrook
Guinness Pro14Tue Dec 26Munster v LeinsterThomond Park3:15pm
Guinness Pro14Mon Jan 1Leinster v ConnachtRDS Arena3:15pm
Guinness Pro14Fri Jan 5Leinster v UlsterRDS Arena5:35pm
Champions CupFri Jan 12TBCTBC
British & Irish CupFri Jan 12Cardiff Blues PS v Leinster ATBC
Champions CupFri Jan 19TBCTBC
British & Irish CupFri Jan 19Leinster A v DoncasterDonnybrook
OFF WEEKFri Jan 26
SIX NATIONSSat Feb 3FRANCE v IRELANDStade de France4:45pm
Guinness Pro14Fri Feb 9Edinburgh v LeinsterMyreside
SIX NATIONSSat Feb 10IRELAND v ITALYAviva Stadium2:15pm
Guinness Pro14Fri Feb 16Leinster v ScarletsRDS Arena
Guinness Pro14Fri Feb 23Leinster v Southern KingsRDS Arena
SIX NATIONSSat Feb 24IRELAND v WALESAviva Stadium2:15pm
Guinness Pro14Fri Mar 2Scarlets v LeinsterParc y Scarlets
SIX NATIONSSat Mar 10IRELAND v SCOTLANDAviva Stadium2:15pm
SIX NATIONSSat Mar 17ENGLAND v IRELANDTwickenham2:45pm
Guinness Pro14Fri Mar 23Ospreys v LeinsterLiberty Stadium
Champions CupFri Mar 30QuarterfinalsTBC
Guinness Pro14Fri Apr 6Leinster v ZebreRDS Arena
Guinness Pro14Fri Apr 13Leinster v TrevisoRDS Arena
Champions CupFri Apr 20SemifinalsTBC
Guinness Pro14Fri Apr 27Connacht v LeinsterSportsgrounds
Guinness Pro14Fri May 4PlayoffsTBD
Champions CupSat May 12FINALSan Mamés Stadium
Guinness Pro14Fri May 18SemifinalsTBD
Guinness Pro14Fri May 25FINALTBD


All throughout last season in the [then] Pro12 I kept harping on Leinster's difficult run-in...as in turned out although it didn't stop us getting a home semifinal, we were unable to do anything with it.

This time  the tricky series of matches comes around at the start of the season, and although September is traditionally a shaky month for us, it's October that seems to be more challenging than usual.

We kick off away to the Dragons - this may not look like much on paper but we have had our problems there before and now they have rebranded including the addition of names familiar to Leinster fans in Bernard Jackman as coach and Zane Kirchner.

Next we kickoff our home campaign with the visit of the Cardiff Blues before we become the first Celtic team to travel to South Africa, hitting both of the new venues in rounds 3 & 4.   We complete the month at home to Edinburgh and from there things really begin to take off.

In many ways our season could well depend on how we get on in our five matches from October 7 to November 3.  Munster at the Aviva, our first two Champions Cup matches, then Ulster and Glasgow away.  Yikes.

Of course I'm not saying we're not up to such a challenge - I have already pointed out that we seem to have a decent squad going into the new campaign.  But even though the new format makes it easier to qualify for playoffs [6 from 14 is a shade better than 4 from 12] a club like ours really needs to be looking to top our conference and enjoy the home semifinal that comes with it.

Some other observations from our schedule...we hit all three Irish provinces in a row over the Christmas period, we play the champions Scarlets twice in three rounds in late Feb/early March, two of our final three regular season matches are at home to the Italia duo, and if we need anything from our final match we'll have to go to Galway to get it.

As for Ireland, well you probably know we've South Africa, Fiji and Argentina in November [all on Saturdays in the Aviva with 5:30pm kickoffs], there's a tour of Australia to be organised at the end of the season and in between, our Six Nations 2018 campaign begins in Paris, ends in Twickers on Paddy's Day and has three home matches on Saturdays at 2:15 in between.

But before we get too worked up about any of that, there's the small matter of the Women's World Cup for us to enjoy starting tonight.  Best of luck to the girls, here's hoping the entire Irish rugby community gets behind them over the coming weeks - it promises to be a cracking tournament.  JLP 

PS - a link to the chart you see above will eventually appear in the sidebar and we'll update it throughout the season
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