Munster Rugby and the IRFU are pleased to confirm the first player contract extensions of the season with five members of the senior squad putting pen to paper.
Craig Casey has signed a three-year contract while Mike Haley, Shane Daly and Josh Wycherley have signed two-year contract extensions.
Additionally, Alex Kendellen, who advanced to the senior ranks at the beginning of the season on a new two-year deal, has extended his contract further to remain with the province until at least July 2025.
Scrum-half Craig Casey has made 49 appearances for the province since his debut against Connacht in 2019.
The 23-year-old Shannon man and former Ardscoil Rís pupil won Academy Player of the Year in 2019 and was also vice-captain of the Grand Slam-winning Ireland U20s that year.
He was named Young Player of the Year in 2021 and has made 38 appearances over the past two seasons along with earning five Ireland caps.
Mike Haley joined Munster from Sale Sharks in 2018 and has already amassed 80 appearances for the province, starting at full-back on each occasion and scoring 16 tries.
The Preston native played more minutes than any other Munster player in the 2018/19 and 2020/21 campaigns and made his Ireland debut against Italy in August 2019.
28-year-old Haley made his Munster debut against Cheetahs in 2018 and has been a near ever-present at full-back since.
A product of the Greencore Munster Rugby Academy, versatile back Shane Daly joined the senior squad in 2019 and has established himself as a key member of the squad.
He was named Young Player of the Year in 2020 with the Cork Constitution clubman and former PBC student earning two Ireland caps over the past two years.
To date, the 25-year-old has scored eight tries in 49 Munster appearances and starts at full-back for Emerging Ireland against the Griquas in Bloemfontein later today.
Josh Wycherley enjoyed a standout season last year making 19 appearances with an overall 29 appearances in red to date.
The 23-year-old prop made his debut against Cardiff Blues in Thomond Park in October 2020 with his first Champions Cup start singled out for high praise when Munster secured victory against Clermont Auvergne in December 2020.
His grassroots stem from Bantry Bay RFC and he is a former pupil of Cistercian College, Roscrea and linked up with Young Munster RFC on his move to Limerick.
A former Ireland U20s Six Nations Grand Slam winner, Wycherley starts for Emerging Ireland against the Griquas in Bloemfontein later today.
21-year-old Alex Kendellen was initially named in the Emerging Ireland squad for the South Africa tour but did not travel as he continues to follow return to play protocols.
A product of PBC and UCC the back-row forward was deservedly named the Academy Player of the Year in June after a fantastic season that saw him line out in 20 of Munster’s 26 games.
Kendellen made his debut against Scarlets in March 2021 and has made 22 appearances for the province.
He captained the Ireland U20s for the 2021 Six Nations and was a standout performer as they finished third, scoring six tries in five appearances.
Watch Live | Griquas v Emerging Ireland – 12.45pm
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Sio poised for Exeter debut
Australia prop Scott Sio is set to start for his Exeter Chiefs debut as the 2020 Heineken Champions Cup winners visit Gloucester Rugby in the Gallagher Premiership on Friday night.
The 31-year-old, who could get his first taste of EPCR competition when Exeter travel to Castres Olympique in their Heineken Champions Cup Pool A opener on December 10, comes in as one of five changes to the side that started last Saturday’s 22-20 defeat to Saracens.
Captain Jack Yeandle comes in at hooker, with flanker Lewis Pearson the other change in the pack, while fit-again wing Josh Hodge is handed a start along with centre Rory O’Loughlin.
Gloucester, who welcome Union Bordeaux-Bègles in their first Heineken Champions Cup Pool A fixture, also on December 10, have made four alterations to the starting XV for their 22-21 win at London Irish a week ago.
🚨 FIXTURE DETAILS 🚨
Get those diaries out, start booking 🗓
— Heineken Champions Cup (@ChampionsCup) October 7, 2022
Prop Harry Elrington and lock Cam Jordan are brought in, with Ben Morgan starting at No.8 as Ruan Ackermann shifts to blindside flanker. Lloyd Evans is also called up at full-back, with Santiago Carreras switching to the wing.
Leinster Rugby are the other Heineken Champions Cup side in action on Friday as they make the trip to Scarlets in the United Rugby Championship.
The Irish province are much-changed from their 27-13 victory over Munster Rugby last Saturday, with flanker Scott Penny the only player to retain his place.
Centre Charlie Ngatai, fly-half Ross Byrne, prop Ed Byrne and lock Ross Molony are all involved for last season’s Heineken Champions Cup runners-up, while Tadgh McElroy, Charlie Tector and Ben Brownlee are all potential debutants from the bench.
Racing 92 v Leinster set for Le Havre
The EPCR have this morning confirmed the full 2022/23 Heineken Champions Cup pool stage fixture dates, kick-off times, venues and TV coverage, including the venue for the December clash between Leinster Rugby and Racing 92 in France.
EPCR had already confirmed this week that BT Sport, as well as RTÉ, ITV and S4C, have all agreed multi-year partnerships for the new broadcast cycle in Ireland and the UK.
BT Sport, who have been a partner since 2015, have recommitted as lead broadcaster in Ireland and the UK until the conclusion of the 2023/24 season.
In addition, RTÉ, has come on board in Ireland to provide free-to-air coverage.
RTÉ has already confirmed that it will broadcast both Leinster Rugby home games in the pool stages of the 2022/23 Heineken Champions Cup on free-to-air on RTÉ2 television and on RTÉ Player.
The agreements with RTÉ and ITV, which will see each broadcaster cover one Heineken Champions Cup match per round in Ireland and in the UK – including the Final – on a free-to-air basis, also run until the end of the 2023/24 season.
Click HERE for the full 2022/23 Heineken Champions Cup pool stage fixtures.
Leinster Rugby will start their campaign on Saturday, 10 December against three-time finalists, Racing 92, in Pool A and that game will be broadcast on BT Sport. The game will be played at the 25,000-capacity Stade Océane in Le Havre.
On Friday, 16 December 2022, at 8pm, Leinster Rugby will host Gloucester Rugby at the RDS Arena for the Round 2, Pool A encounter (live on RTÉ TV).
After the Christmas break, on Saturday 14 January 2023, it’s the return leg, as Leinster visit Kingsholm Stadium to take on Gloucester with a 1pm kick-off (live on ITV).
On the following Saturday, the final game of the pool stages sees Leinster welcome Racing 92 to Aviva Stadium with a 3.15pm start (live on RTÉ).
Ticketing information will be emailed to season ticket holders in the first instance with public sale thereafter.
2022/23 key dates
Round 1 – 9/10/11 December 2022
Round 2 – 16/17/18 December 2022
Round 3 – 13/14/15 January 2023
Round 4 – 20/21/22 January 2023
Round of 16 – 31 March – 1/2 April 2023
Quarter-finals – 7/8/9 April 2023
Semi-finals – 28/29/30 April 2023
EPCR Challenge Cup final – Friday 19 May 2023; Aviva Stadium, Dublin
Heineken Champions Cup final – Saturday 20 May 2023; Aviva Stadium, Dublin
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RTÉ To Broadcast Munster Home Champions Cup Fixtures
RTÉ have today confirmed fixture details for both of Munster’s home Heineken Champions Cup Pool fixtures against Toulouse and Northampton Saints.
See home fixture details below with details yet to be confirmed for our away games.
Ticket details will be released shortly.
Heineken Champions Cup Fixtures
Sunday, December 11, 2022
Round 1: Munster Rugby v Stade Toulousain, Thomond Park, 3.15pm;
December 16/17/18, 2023
Round 2: Northampton Saints v Munster Rugby, TBC;
Saturday, January 14, 2023
Round 3: Munster Rugby v Northampton Saints, Thomond Park, 3.15pm;
January 20/21/22, 2023
Round 4: Stade Toulousain v Munster Rugby, TBC;
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