Ahead of the British & Irish Cup quarter-final against London Welsh, Leinster ‘A’ head coach Hugh Hogan spoke about Saturday’s opponents, preparing during the seven-week window between games and the important role the B&I Cup plays in the development of younger players.

It has been seven weeks since Leinster ‘A’ picked up their sixth win in the final pool stage game of this season’s British & Irish Cup – a 43-24 win over Rotherham Titans in a cracking game that saw the sides score 10 tries between them.

Plenty of time to prepare, then, for the upcoming quarter-final with London Welsh, but with players involved with the senior team in the Guinness PRO12 it also represented a challenge for the coaching team of Hugh Hogan and Shaun Berne.

“One of the challenges of coming back into what is now knock-out rugby is trying to get back to where we built up to through the pool stages where we had more time as a team,” Hogan said ahead of the quarter-final tie.

Bryan Byrne

“What we want to do is push guys up to that senior team, and it’s brilliant to have guys that have played senior rugby over the last while being involved with us. From a coach’s point of view, Shaun and I have had a focus on making sure we prepped for London Welsh in that time, and then what we delivered for the players is accurate to how we want to play the game.

“We got an opportunity to do some work with the ‘A’s last week and we’ve had really good support from the senior coaches this week. We had a training session with the seniors where Leo (Cullen) and Girvan (Dempsey) prepped the seniors to do some of the London Welsh plays against us. Their focus was really very much on helping us, which was awesome and certainly really appreciated by our group.”

Relegated from the Premiership last year, London Welsh find themselves in seventh spot in the Championship table (the second tier of English rugby), though their recent form has been particularly impressive. A narrow loss at home to London Scottish at the start of February has been followed by three wins; two at home against Nottingham and Rotherham Titans, and away against Jersey RFC.

“[London Welsh] have some really good quality players. They’ve a number of guys who have played Premiership Rugby and a few guys who have played PRO12 for a number of years as well. There’s definitely a lot of experience in that group and, in fairness, they’ve also hit a run of form. They had dropped down the table a bit, but they’ve galvanised themselves. They’ve played well the last four weeks and won their last three on the bounce. I think they’re coming here with a bit of confidence.”

Jordi Murphy

This is the sixth time in seven years of the British & Irish Cup that Leinster ‘A’ have reached the knock-out stages (going on to win the competition in two of those seasons, 2013 and 2014).

It is a tournament that has played a prominent role in the development of several players. Jordi Murphy, for example, captained the ‘A’ team in the 2013 final against Newcastle Falcons and was playing for Ireland in the 6 Nations the following season.

“We as a club really value this competition,” Hogan said.

“It’s something that we target and we want to do well in. It is a brilliant developmental tool. Joey (Carbery) has been playing extremely well for Clontarf and he deserves this opportunity. David Aspil’s been knocking on the door of the Irish 20s squad and he’s been in training with them, so us being able to give him exposure at this level is really good for him and his development and maybe it helps him stake a claim with the Irish 20s management as well.”

Be there to support Leinster ‘A’ in the British & Irish Cup quarter-final against London Welsh (Saturday, Donnybrook, KO 7pm). Purchase tickets online or pay at the gate on the night.

Season Ticket holders can attend the game for free.

Leinster ‘A’ v London Welsh ticket prices:

Adult (stand): €;15
Under-18/Student (stand): €;10
Adult (terrace): €;10
Under-18/Student (terrace): €;5

Leinster ‘A’ starting XV & replacements

15. Billy Dardis
14. Adam Byrne
13. Colm O’Shea
12. Tom Daly
11. Cian Kelleher
10. Joey Carbery
9. Nick McCarthy 
1. Jeremy Loughman
2. Bryan Byrne
3. Michael Bent
4. Tadhg Beirne
5. David O’Connor
6. Peadar Timmins Captain
7. David Aspil
8. Tony Ryan


16. Aaron Dundon
17. Oisin Heffernan
18. Ciaran Ruddock
19. Charlie Cregan
20. Charlie Rock
21. Ross Byrne
22. Mick McGrath

London Welsh starting XV & replacements

15. Chris Elder
14. James Lewis
13. Guy Armitage
12. Seb Jewell
11. Josh Drauniniu
10. Joe Carlisle
9. Rob Lewis
1. Nathan Trevett
2, Harry Allen
3. Jack Gilding
4. Matt Corker (C)
5. Ben West
6. Will Skuse
7. Ryan Hodson
8. Kieran Murphy


16. Nathan Morris
17. Darryl Marfo
18. Ben Cooper
19. Josh McNally
20. Ben Pienaar
21. Josh Davies
22. Olly Barkley