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Another Former Munster Star to Leave the Club

Munster are set to lose another former player from their backroom staff

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(Photo By Brendan Moran/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Former Munster and All Black legend Doug Howlett has confirmed that he will be stepping away from the club in order to return to New Zealand in the Autumn.

He joins coaches and former players Jerry Flannery and Felix Jones, who announced their departures recently, by going through the clubs exit door.

Howlett has been working with Munster Rugby and the Commercial Advisory Board for the past six years since his retirement and departs with fond memories and thanks to the people that helped him.

“The privilege of playing for Munster Rugby, completing my MBA in UCC, and having the opportunity to run the province’s Commercial and Marketing programmes under the guidance of Garrett Fitzgerald, and the Commercial Board’s Niall FitzGerald and Patrick Coveney, have all been incredible experiences. It has been an extraordinary 11 years living in Ireland and I will always treasure my time in this special and unique club, and in Irish sport, academia and business,” he said.

Howlett made a total of 114 appearances for the men in red, winning a Heineken Cup, and two Celtic Leagues before captaining the side throughout the 2012/13 season.

Munster Rugby’s acting CEO Philip Quinn confirmed that they were aware that as Howlett progressed in the workplace that he would likely return back to New Zealand.

“With Doug excelling in a senior management role we were always informed of his future plans to return to New Zealand. He has been a great colleague and addition to the organisation, overseeing our most successful commercial year of the past decade. I would like to thank Doug, and wish him and his family, all the best as they return to New Zealand,” he said.

While Chairman of the Munster Rugby Commercial Advisory Board, Patrick Coveney backed up Quinn’s thanks for Howlett’s contribution to the club.

“Doug showed the same level of professionalism, dedication, commitment and drive in the Board room as he always did on the pitch. We will miss him but are hugely appreciative for Doug’s contribution to the strategic development of Munster Rugby which will continue to benefit the organisation in the years ahead,” he said.

Howlett returns to New Zealand, where he spent time with Super Rugby sides the Highlanders, the Hurricanes and the Blues before his move to Ireland as well as holding the record of being the All Blacks leading try scorer.

Pro14

Joey Carbery set for return this weekend for Munster

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(Photo by Andrew Surma/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

The Munster team has been named for Friday night’s Guinness PRO14 clash against Cardiff Blues at the Cardiff Arms Park (8pm).

There are six changes to the starting XV that defeated Edinburgh last time out, while in the replacements there is the welcome return of Joey Carbery who is named in his first match-day squad since January 2020.

The opening try scorer in Murrayfield last weekend, Jack O’Donoghue captains the side for Friday night’s encounter as he and Chris Cloete are joined by Jack O’Sullivan in the back row.

Fineen Wycherley scrums down next to Jean Kleyn in the engine room with Kevin O’Byrne stepping into the front row in between James Cronin and John Ryan.

Shane Daly returns from Ireland camp to retain his position on the left wing with Calvin Nash named on the opposite flank as Mike Haley completes the back three at full-back.

The centre partnership sees Rory Scannell lining up next to Damian de Allende and Nick McCarthy joins JJ Hanrahan in the half-back pairing.

If sprung from the bench Billy Holland will move ahead of Ronan O’Gara for all-time Munster appearances and become the second most capped player for the province for his 241st appearance in red.

Paddy Patterson is in line to make his Munster debut as he provides the scrum-half cover.

Find out you need to know ahead of the game here.

Munster: Mike Haley; Calvin Nash, Rory Scannell, Damian de Allende, Shane Daly; JJ Hanrahan, Nick McCarthy; James Cronin, Kevin O’Byrne, John Ryan; Jean Kleyn, Fineen Wycherley; Jack O’Donoghue (C), Chris Cloete, Jack O’Sullivan.

Replacements: Niall Scannell, Liam O’Connor, Roman Salanoa, Billy Holland, Gavin Coombes, Paddy Patterson, Joey Carbery, Darren Sweetnam.

Player News: Academy lock Thomas Ahern was unavailable for selection after picking up a knock in training this week.

Video | Press Pass

Hear from Defence Coach JP Ferreira and Liam O’Connor ahead of the game.

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6 Nations

Huge boost for Ulster & Ireland as Henderson signs new deal

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Photo By Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile via Getty Images

Ulster captain, Iain Henderson, who has represented the province on 116 occasions, has secured his future with the club for the next two years.

Craigavon-born Henderson, who took up the role of Ulster captain in 2019, has progressed through the Ulster development system. Starting with mini rugby at Academy RFC, his early playing career saw him reach the final of the Danske Bank Schools Cup in 2010 with Belfast Royal Academy, represent Queen’s University Belfast as well as Ireland at Age-Grade level, before quickly rising through the ranks of senior professional rugby in the province.

Iain, who captained Ireland for the first time against France in this year’s Guinness Six Nations, made his international debut against South Africa in November 2012 and has won 60 caps to date for his country. 

A Lions tourist in 2017, Iain succeeded Rory Best as Ulster captain in 2019.  

David Nucifora, IRFU Performance Director, commented,

“Over the past few seasons Iain has really developed into a leader within both the Ireland and Ulster squads. He is part of the national leadership group, captaining Ireland recently for the first time and we are delighted to have ensured that he continues his career in Ireland.”

Iain Henderson, commented,

“It has been a great honour to captain both Ulster and Ireland in recent times. Irish rugby is in a good place despite the disruption the sport has experienced during the pandemic. As professionals, we have been in a privileged position to be able to continue playing and I know we all hope to see supporters back in the Aviva and Kingspan in the near future.”

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Pro14

Ulster issue positive update on Coetzee injury

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Photo By Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Many Ulster fans feared they may have seen the last appearance of Springbok Marcell Coetzee in an Ulster shirt after he was helped from the field on Friday night but a medical update has been issued which appears to be more positive than what was initially feared.

Update below:

The Ulster Rugby Medical Performance Team has issued a squad update ahead of Friday’s Guinness PRO14 Round 13 fixture against Ospreys at Kingspan Stadium.

Marcell Coetzee suffered a thigh muscle contusion in Ulster Rugby’s Guinness PRO14 Round 12 match against Glasgow Warriors. His availability for selection for the upcoming game against Ospreys will be assessed through the coming week.

There are no other new injury concerns arising from Friday night’s game at Scotstoun Stadium.

Squad updates in association with The Ulster Independent Clinic.

Update ends.

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