Saturday 21st April 2018

Event of the day

Our event of the day is the European Rugby Champions Cup semi-final between Leinster and the Scarlets at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Leinster are aiming to equal the Toulouse record of four Champions Cup triumphs, having won the competition in 2009, 2011 and 2012. Saracens, the back-to-back reigning champions from England, were defeated by Leinster in the quarter-finals, the Irish side winning 30-19 at the Aviva Stadium 3 weeks ago. The Scarlets, founded in 2003, have previously reached this phase of the competition just once, in the 2006-07 season, and are now hoping for their first final appearance in the competition, that will be held in Bilbao. After topping Pool 4 in the pool stage, the Welsh side with the benefit of home advantage beat La Rochelle 29-17 in the quarter-finals, with a great performance from fullback Leigh Halfpenny who kicked 19 points (five penalties and two conversions).

Leinster have won five of the previous seven meetings with the Scarlets in the Champions Cup with the last meeting in the competition back in January 2013. Their last twelve games however came in the Pro12/Pro14, with seven Leinster wins, four Scarlets wins and a draw. Importantly, one of those Scarlets wins was in Dublin last year in the Pro12 semi-final. The home side’s main player is fly-half Jonathan Sexton, one of the world’s best, considering his top level defensive play, excellent passing in attack and wonderful kicking game. It should be a thrilling contest at the Aviva Stadium today. 

Honourable mentions around the globe go to the FA Cup semi-final clash between Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley Stadium in London. The competition is the last chance for both clubs to win some silverware this season. United are second in the Premier League with 74 points, while Spurs are fourth with 68 points. Elsewhere in football, there is the Bundesliga duel between Borussia Dortmund and Bayer Leverkusen at Signal Iduna Park in Dortmund. In the AFL, Port Adelaide come up against the Geelong Cats at the Adelaide Oval. In MLB, the Detroit Tigers host the Kansas City Royals at Comerica Park in Detroit. In boxing, there’s a catchweight bout between British fighter Amir Khan and Canadian Phil Lo Greco at the Echo Arena in Liverpool. In the Indian Premier League, the Royal Challengers Bangalore face the Delhi Daredevils at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru. It’s Day 3, of the PGA Tour Valero Texas Open at the TPC San Antonio, and the European Tour Trophée Hassan II at the Royal Golf Dar Es Salam in Rabat, Morocco. The Grand Prix of the Americas qualification takes place at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin in Moto GP action. It’s Day 7 at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters tournament from the ATP Tour at the Monte Carlo Country Club in Monaco with semi-final matches taking place. In the NBA Playoffs, the Utah Jazz take on the Oklahoma City Thunder at the Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City. The Snooker World Championship starts today at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield.

Whatever you’re watching, enjoy!

Fixture

Photos by European Rugby Champions Cup

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