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Provinces shake off cobwebs as season kick-off closes in

Leinster coach Joe Schmidt and his players went back to work yesterday.

Schmidt, the former Clermont backs coach, has been anxious to get to know the players as quickly as possible since assuming the reins and put them through their paces in Belfield.

Ulster are also back training, while Connacht — who have signed up former Ireland Under-21 scrum-half Cillian Willis from Ulster — are currently on a training camp over in the Aran Islands.

Willis moved to Ulster from Leinster in 2008, but he struggled to make an impact in his first year after moving to Ravenhill.

He then suffered a broken leg while playing for the Ulster Ravens last March which was a further setback to his career in Belfast.

Meanwhile, Ulster's Lauren Day has been ruled out of the Ireland squad for the upcoming Women's Rugby World Cup due to injury and will be replaced by Munster's Laura Guest.

Day picked up an injury during a warm-up session for Ireland's pre-tournament match against Scotland last weekend.

Belfast Telegraph