9 of the 12 players are have came through the province’s underage or Academy pathway.
John Ryan, Niall Scannell, Rory Scannell, Darren Sweetnam, Jack O’Donoghue, JJ Hanrahan, Alex Wootton, Rhys Marshall, Fineen Wycherley, Calvin Nash, Arno Botha and Jeremy Loughman have all signed contract extensions.
Tighthead prop John Ryan has signed a 3 year deal that will see him remain with Munster Rugby until at least June 2022.Embed from Getty Images
2 year deals have been earned by brothers Niall and Rory Scannell, Darren Sweetnam, Jack O’Donoghue, JJ Hanrahan, Alex Wootton, Rhys Marshall and up n coming young guns Fineen Wycherley and Calvin Nash with all players committing to the province until at least June 2021.
Hooker Niall Scannell has made 79 appearances to date while his brother Rory has pulled on the red jersey on 92 occasions. On the international front the Niall (26) has earned 11 Ireland caps while younger brother Rory (24) has picked up 3 caps.
Munster will be delighted to lock down 26-year-old Hanrahan, who returned to the province in 2017 following a stint with Northampton Saints. Wooten who also had a stint with Northampton Saints having came through academy before switching to the Munster Academy in 2013 is another exciting talent locked down.
Back-row forward Botha joined Munster in the summer after a season at London Irish following a fallen through move to Ulster has made an immediate impact with 2 tries in 9 appearances.Embed from Getty Images
Leinster Confirm 21 New Contracts but One Man Still Hasn’t Signed
Leinster have announced that a total of 21 contracts have been signed with the IRFU however, one players future is still up in the air
Following on from the announcement earlier today that Cian Healy has extended his IRFU contract until 2021, Leo Cullen has confirmed a further 20 player contracts have been agreed including already the already confirmed Johnny Sexton and Robbie Henshaw.
“It’s a credit to the work that goes on in the schools and in the clubs that we are in a position to confirm 21 new contracts, with all but three coming through the system here. Over the last 20 months or so we have been able to hand debuts to nine academy players and they have deserved those opportunities. And now seven players that started this season in the academy will start next season as senior players,” said Cullen.
He went on to congratulate the younger players that have come through the ranks as well as welcoming back academy graduate Cian Kelleher from Connacht.
“I’m delighted for them and indeed their families and congratulate them on their promotion. We have been very happy with what we have seen from them all in the Guinness PRO14 and in some cases in the Heineken Champions Cup and we hope that they get many more chances in a Leinster jersey in the coming years. It’s also exciting to welcome Cian Kelleher back to Leinster. We have always kept a close eye on his progress at Connacht and it’s great that we can now welcome him back to Leinster and we wish him well in what is already a very competitive position in the team,” he added.
Kelleher returns to Leinster having joined Connacht in 2016, where he scored 14 tries in 54 appearances and is delighted to be back in blue where he will be reunited with younger brother Ronan.
“I’m incredibly excited to get back to my home province this summer and get started in an unbelievable set up in Leinster. It was an opportunity too good to refuse when it came up and I can’t wait to get started and compete in an extremely competitive environment. I hope to add to the incredible success the province has had in the last couple of seasons,” Kelleher said.
All the star names from the past few seasons remain contracted to the club along with youngsters such as Ciaran Frawley, Conor O’Brien, Scott Penny and Hugh O’Sullivan.
However, the most noticeable name missing from the list is that of Ireland international full-back Kearney who is yet to agree renewal terms on his centrally funded IRFU contract. There has been plenty of speculation regarding his future especially since Sean O’Brien, who leaves for London Irish this summer, posted an apparent parting message for Kearney on his Instagram.
For now, all focus will be on Leinster’s Pro 14 final against Glasgow on Saturday but after then there is no doubt that attention will swing back to Kearney’s situation once more.
Another Leinster Player Doubtful for Pro 14 Final
Leinster could be without another player for their Pro 14 final on Saturday
O’Brien will be desperate to prove his fitness and pull on the blue jersey one last time before his summer move to London Irish.
The good news for Leinster is the timing of Josh van der Flier’s return from injury which has ensured that they are covered in the back-row either way. O’Brien will probably be battling for a place on the bench after van der Flier’s incredible performance against Munster in the semi-final over the weekend.
Only yesterday Leinster confirmed that lock Devin Toner will miss the final due to a knee injury he picked up during the match with Munster. It is hoped now that the injury will keep him out for four to six weeks meaning that he would be available for Ireland’s World Cup preparations.
However, it is expected that Scott Fardy will come in to replace Toner in the starting XV this weekend.
Elsewhere, Rob Kearney suffered a head injury during the final with Saracens, but he has gone through the return to play protocols and has retaken his place on the field.
While it is also expected that captain Johnny Sexton will also return to the starting XV having played well after coming off the bench against Munster.
Leinster and Ireland Star Signs New Contract
One of Ireland’s key men has signed a new two-year deal with the IRFU
The prop is one of the country’s most consistent performers and is delighted to have the opportunity to continue representing both province and country.
“Pulling on a Leinster or an Ireland jersey is something that I have always taken a huge amount of pride in and I am thankful for every opportunity I get. I am delighted therefore to have extended my IRFU contract and to continue to line out for Leinster. I believe that we have built something special at Leinster and with the national team and I want to contribute as best I can to both teams in what will be a hugely exciting few months and years ahead,” he said.
Healy has faced a number of serious injuries over the years but has thanked everyone at club and national level for their support and looks forward to the future with both.
“There has been some difficult times over the last few years for me personally with injury but the support within the Leinster and the Irish rugby family was very humbling from fellow players, coaches and supporters and it’s something that I won’t forget. It made this decision all the easier knowing that I was part of something bigger than just a rugby team. I hope to play my part in helping Leinster and Ireland achieve further success over the next few years and I’m looking forward to the next chapter in that journey,” he added.
Having been capped by Ireland 88 times since his debut in 2009 and holding 207 Leinster caps to his name already Healy is almost ever-present and IRFU Performance Director David Nucifora paid tribute to his consistency.
“Cian is performing at a very high level week in and week out. He works incredibly hard in ensuring that he is physically in the best condition to perform and has bounced back from adversity to return to the top of the international and club game. He will continue to be a leading performer for Ireland and Leinster over the coming years,” he said.
Healy has represented Ireland at two World Cups (2011 and 2015) and will be hoping to be heading to a third in Japan later this year, he also represented the British and Irish Lions in 2013.
As well as that Healy has a host of winner’s medals to his name with three Six Nations Championships in the bag for Ireland, while with Leinster he has won four European Cups, three Guinness Pro titles and a Challenge Cup.
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