Where The Munster Rugby Players Stand In Their Current Contracts
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Steven Miller of the Limerick Leader yesterday took the time to look at what Munster players are signed up to long-term contracts – and what ones are out of contract at the end of this season.
Munster’s issues both on the pitch and off the pitch financially have a huge topic of discussion in recent weeks and as a result they now find themselves in a position where some of the high-profile players are yet to sign new deals so late in the season.
Signed up to end of 2018-2019 season
Tommy O’Donnell and James Cronin
Tommy O’Donnell and James Cronin are the two players that can look well ahead as both recently signed three-year contracts that will keep them with Munster until the end of the 2018-2019 season.
Signed up to end of 2017-2018
Stephen Archer, Peter O’Mahony, CJ Stander, Jack O’Donoghue, Robin Copeland, Dave O’Callaghan, Mike Sherry, David Johnston, Rory Scannell
Signed up to end of 2016-17 season
Dave Kilcoyne, Niall Scannell, Mark Chisholm, Dave Foley, Donnacha Ryan, Tomas O’Leary, Duncan Williams, Ian Keatley, Tyler Bleyendaal, Johnny Holland, Francis Saili, Ronan O’Mahony, Cian Bohane, Darren Sweetnam
Out of Contract 2016
BJ Botha, John Ryan, Peter McCabe, Duncan Casey, Kevin O’Byrne, Billy Holland, Shane Buckley, Jordan Coughlan, Sean Doyle, Conor Murray, Cathal Sheridan, Denis Hurley, Keith Earls, Simon Zebo, Andrew Conway
Those only committed until the end of this season are the most interesting – and there are a number of players yet to agree new deals. Some may not be offered one.
The three most high-profile ones are Conor Murray, Simon Zebo and Keith Earls. Murray is in the second year of his two-year IRFU deal and would undoubtedly attract attention from some of the big-spending clubs. Murray hinted strongly before Christmas that he wants to stay at Munster but, as of yet, nothing has been agreed. Earls is also on the IRFU books but that deal will expire at the end of this season. Munster and CEO Garrett Fitzgerald said they are optimistic of signing him up again.
Zebo has been linked French giants Toulouse and Pau. Speaking last week, though, Garrett Fitzgerald was also confident that Zebo would commit to the province – but again nothing has been signed.
BJ Botha will almost certainly be on the way out. He only signed a short-term deal to cover the World Cup but Stephen Archer’s ongoing injury problems meant Botha then extended that deal to the end of this season. But the South African damaged his cruciate ligament against Stade Francais in Paris and that injury will keep him out for the rest of the season. We’re unlikely to see him in a Munster jersey again.
Two of the other tight-head props in the squad – John Ryan and Uruguay’s Mario Sagario – are also only signed up until the end of this season.
Ryan is in the second year of a two-year deal while Sagario, who initially signed up on a three-month deal, has recently committed to the end of this season. Dolphin’s Peter McCabe signed a one-year development deal last year.
Andrew Conway, Denis Hurley, Jordan Coughlan, Kevin O’Byrne and Shane Buckley also signed one-year deals for this season. Duncan Casey, Billy Holland and Cathal Sheridan are all in the second year of their two-year deals.
Gerhard van den Heever is also out of contract at the end of this season, while Argentinian Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino and Australian Sean Doyle signed three-month contracts at the end of October which are due to expire shortly.