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Edinburgh 2020/21 leavers confirmed

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(Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Edinburgh Rugby today confirmed ten senior players will leave the club at the end of the season.

The leavers join the five players who departed the club earlier this year, as Head Coach Richard Cockerill and his coaching team continue their preparations for the new campaign.

Scotland international prop Murray McCallum departs the club following five years in the Scottish capital. The former Dunfermline RFC and Strathallan School prop – who made his Edinburgh Rugby debut in 2016 – has made 63 appearances, scoring four tries, since graduating from the FOSROC Scottish Rugby Academy.

Fijian winger Eroni Sau will also leave the club following the conclusion of the 2020/21 season. Sau joined Edinburgh Rugby in 2019 and scored six tries in 26 appearances.

Jamie Farndale leaves the club to pursue the Olympic dream with GB Rugby Sevens. The winger – who initially made his Edinburgh Rugby debut in 2012 – re-joined his hometown team from the Sevens programme in 2019 and has scored four tries in 15 appearances.

Having joined the club on a short-term deal in 2020, Andries Ferreira will also move on at the end of the season. The South African lock has made nine appearances since making the move from Blue Bulls.

Scrum-half Dan Nutton will also depart Edinburgh Rugby following the conclusion of the current campaign. Nutton – who penned a short-term deal earlier this year – leaves having made two appearances for his hometown team.

With his move to Glasgow Warriors announced earlier this year, Scotland international prop Simon Berghan moves on, having made 90 appearances in seven years in the Scottish capital. Berghan – capped 31 times for Scotland – joined the club in 2014 and made his debut against Cardiff Blues that same season.

Ally Miller will join Berghan at Scotstoun next season and leaves the club having made 24 appearances. The back-row initially joined the club in 2017 having graduated from the FOSROC Scottish Rugby Academy.

Scotland international winger Duhan van der Merwe – who played his final game for the club against Ulster last weekend – makes the move to Worcester Warriors this summer and leaves the Scottish capital having scored 32 tries in 67 appearances.

Mike Willemse will join Van der Merwe in the English Premiership next season as he joins London Irish. The South African hooker joined the club in 2019 and has made 39 appearances in a two-year spell.

Andrew Davidson – whose move to Gloucester was also confirmed earlier this year – leaves the Scottish capital having made 13 appearances since joining from Glasgow Warriors in 2020.

On the departing players, Head Coach Richard Cockerill, said: “We’d like to thank all of our leavers for their hard work and commitment to the club during the course of their Edinburgh Rugby careers.

“Every player leaves having worn the jersey with pride and that’s all we can ever ask. It’s been a pleasure to coach them and we wish them the very best in their future ambitions.”

2020/21 Leavers (appearances in brackets)

Murray McCallum (63)
Eroni Sau (26)
Jamie Farndale (15)
Andries Ferreira (9)
Duhan van der Merwe (67)
Mike Willemse (39)
Simon Berghan (90)
Ally Miller (24)
Dan Nutton (2)
Andrew Davidson (13)

Departed/retired earlier this season

Nic Groom (22)
Rory Darge (1)
Korie Winters (0)
Fraser Mackenzie (119)
Matt Gordon (1)

Source – Edinburgh Rugby


Champions Cup

Academy Trio Stepping Up & Contract News

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Munster Rugby and the IRFU are pleased to announce that Academy trio Tony Butler, Ethan Coughlan and Mark Donnelly will be promoted to the senior squad in the summer.

We can also confirm that hooker Scott Buckley, who graduated from the Academy to the senior squad in 2022, has signed a contract extension.

Out-half Butler, scrum-half Coughlan (both 21) and 22-year-old prop Donnelly have all signed on for the next two seasons after impressing over their three years in the Academy.

Butler and Coughlan become the first Ennis RFC players to earn senior Munster contracts.

As previously confirmed, Academy lock Edwin Edogbo (21), who also came up through the Munster Youths system with Cobh Pirates, will graduate from the Academy to the senior squad on a two-year deal next season.

Buckley, Butler, Coughlan and Donnelly all made their Munster debuts in the famous Champions Cup win over Wasps in December 2021.

Tony Butler in action against Dragons.

Tony Butler in action against Dragons.

Ennis out-half Tony Butler has earned his first senior contract after a very productive three years in the Academy.

He has made six senior appearances to date, including two starts so far this season against Dragons and Connacht.

A Grand Slam winner with the Ireland U20s in 2022, Butler now plays his AIL rugby with Young Munster having previously lined out for Garryowen.

He captained Ennis at underage level, teaming up with Coughlan in the half-backs as they enjoyed success in the Munster U16 and U18 Clubs competitions.

Scrum-half Ethan Coughlan is enjoying an excellent campaign with three starts so far this year and eight senior appearances in total since joining the Academy.

He enjoyed great success alongside Butler with Ennis RFC at underage level before captaining the Ireland U18 Clubs team.

He also won a Grand Slam with the Ireland U20s in 2022 and plays his AIL rugby with Shannon.

Prop Mark Donnelly has already made nine senior appearances for Munster after coming up through the ranks at Midleton RFC, Midleton College and CBC.

He was a Pinergy Munster Schools Senior Cup winner with CBC in 2019 and featured for the Ireland U20s in the 2021 Six Nations.

He joined the Academy that summer before making his Munster debut along with Buckley, Butler and Coughlan against Wasps in December 2021

Along with his nine senior Munster appearances, Donnelly has also played regularly for Garryowen in the AIL over the past three years.

Mark Donnelly at Munster training.

Mark Donnelly at Munster training.

Hooker Scott Buckley (23) has signed a one-year contract having made 25 appearances for Munster to date.

A product of the Munster Rugby Academy, Buckley started out with Kinsale RFC before captaining CBC to the Pinergy Munster Schools Senior Cup in 2019.

He was Player of the Match against Wasps on his Munster debut and made nine appearances last season as Munster won the URC title.

A UCC clubman, he scored the match-winning try against Crusaders at Páirc Ui Chaoimh earlier this month.

Scott Buckley scores a try against Leinster in pre-season.

Images & Content from Munster Rugby


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URC

Squad Update Ahead Of Zebre At Virgin Media Park

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The Munster squad are preparing at the HPC ahead of Friday night’s URC Round 11 clash against Zebre at Virgin Media Park (7.35pm).

There are a limited number of tickets available here.

25 players lined out in the thrilling encounter against Harlequins on Friday night, including eight Academy players and two young club players. Scroll down for match highlights.

The squad is boosted by the return of Tom Ahern, Craig Casey and Jeremy Loughman from international duty ahead of Friday night’s clash in Cork.

On the injury front, Academy back-row forward Ruadhán Quinn has completed the return to play protocols and is available for selection.

Following the game against Harlequins on Friday night, Academy duo Shay McCarthy (ankle) and Daniel Okeke (elbow) will go for scans and are unavailable this week.

Continuing to rehab: Simon Zebo (knee), Patrick Campbell (shoulder), John Hodnett (finger), Paddy Patterson (knee), Jack O’Donoghue (knee), Dave Kilcoyne (shoulder), Diarmuid Barron (foot), Jean Kleyn (eye/knee), Liam Coombes (shoulder), Roman Salanoa (knee).

Video | Harlequins v Munster Highlights

Tickets

URC Round 11: Friday, March 1

Munster v Zebre Parma, Virgin Media Park, 7.35pm; Buy final tickets here

U20s 6 Nations Round 5: Friday, March 15

Ireland v Scotland, Virgin Media Park, 7pm; Buy final tickets here

URC Round 13: Saturday, March 30

Munster v Cardiff Rugby, Thomond Park, 7.35pm; Buy tickets here

Women’s 6 Nations Round 3: Saturday, April 13

Ireland v Wales, Virgin Media Park, 4.45pm; Buy tickets here

URC Round 16: Saturday, May 11

Munster v Connacht, Thomond Park, 5.15pm; Buy tickets here

URC Round 18: Saturday, June 1

Munster v Ulster, Thomond Park, 5.15pm; Buy tickets here

Images & Content from Munster Rugby


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URC

Dan McFarland departs Ulster Rugby

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Dan McFarland departs Ulster Rugby

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Ulster Rugby and the IRFU can confirm that Dan McFarland will step down from his position as Head Coach.

After joining the club in 2018, McFarland has been the longest-serving Head Coach for the province in the professional era, with the club reliably securing play-off rugby in URC and EPCR competitions during his time at the helm, including reaching the PRO14 final in 2020.

Ulster Rugby CEO, Jonny Petrie, said:

“We would like to thank Dan for his determination in driving forward the professional squad over the past six seasons, and I would like to wish him and his family the best for the future on behalf of all at Ulster Rugby.”

The change to the Senior Men’s coaching set-up is with immediate effect, with Ireland U20s Head Coach, Richie Murphy, to link-up with the province as interim Head Coach until the end of this season following the Under-20s Six Nations. Bryn Cunningham, Head of Rugby Operations and Recruitment at Ulster Rugby, will also assume greater management responsibilities within the performance function during this time.

Assistant Coach, Dan Soper, will oversee operations next week ahead of Ulster facing Dragons at Kingspan Stadium in Round 11 of the BKT United Rugby Championship.

Petrie continued: “With Richie coming to Ulster in the coming weeks, ahead of the squad travelling to South Africa, our focus will be on consistently performing to the best of our abilities at this crucial time of the year.”

Images & Content – Ulster Rugby


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