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Michael's back in another final

RUGBY: Holders St Michael's qualified for their third Leinster Schools Senior Cup final in four years with a 21-17 win over Newbridge at Donnybrook.

It took the Saints just eight minutes to create and finish a spectacular team try, with right-wing Mikey O'Hare racing to the corner for the opening score. Ross Byrne was deadly accurate from close to the touchline.

Newbridge registered their first score six minutes later when full-back Chris Healy landed a penalty to narrow the gap to four.

But ace poacher Nick McCarthy pounced soon after and Byrne again added the conversion for a 14-3 lead.

Deep in injury-time Jonathan Phelan crashed over in the corner for Newbridge. Healy's conversion left it 14-10 at the break.

The defending champions got the perfect start just after the interval, when out-half Byrne went over. He made it 21-10.

In the final minute, when powerful prop replacement Ed Wynne barged over next to the posts for replacement scrum-half Robbie Mullen to convert, but it proved only a consolation for Newbridge.

A mouth-watering St Michael's/ Blackrock all-Holy Ghost (Spiritan) final awaits at the RDS on March 18.


Warburton keeps focus

RUGBY: Wales star Sam Warburton is ready to concentrate on "the big job" of subduing Scotland's back-row at Murrayfield this weekend.

Warburton has insisted that regaining the Wales captaincy will not be a personal motivating factor on Saturday, despite starting a Six Nations Test match for the first time in almost two years with a team-mate skippering the side.

That duty remains with his back-row colleague Ryan Jones – as it will for next week's England clash, barring injury or loss of form – after he helped orchestrate back-to-back away victories over France and Italy.

"The Scottish back-row is very big and physical, so maybe that has influenced the decision to play me at seven," said Warburton, who has replaced Justin Tipuric after recovering from a shoulder injury.


Kittel claims stage victory

CYCLING: Germany's Marcel Kittel won the second stage of Paris-Nice race as overnight leader Nacer Bouhanni crashed out of the event.

Ireland's Nicolas Roche had a much better day on the bike, finishing 25th in the stage, putting the Team Saxo Bank rider in 57th in the general classification, 20 seconds behind race leader Elia Viviani.


London Welsh await fate

RUGBY: London Welsh must wait to discover their fate following a English Rugby Football Union competitions hearing today. The Aviva Premiership club fielded an ineligible player – scrum-half Tyson Keats – in what is understood to have been nine league games this season.

NBA: Philadelphia 101 Boston 109.