Munster snap up Oz starlet Chambers

MUNSTER may have found what they’ve been looking for, after signing Australian code-jumping sensation Will Chambers on a short-term contract.

The highly rated 23-year-old centre was recently let go by Super 15 champions Queensland Reds after two years — the reasoning more on financial constraints than any lack of rugby ability, according to top Brisbane rugby sources.

The decision alleviates some of the salary cap pressure for the Reds and also helps them in their battle to keep in-form Test winger Digby Ioane, who has received a $1 million per season Japanese offer.

Bullocking centre Chambers, who moved codes two years ago, was denied Wallabies selection last year due to shoulder surgery and has recently been chased down again by National Rugby League clubs Melbourne and Canterbury.

Queensland chief executive Jim Carmichael said it was a very hard call and described Chambers as “a gifted footballer.”

“Unfortunately,” he said, “we couldn’t satisfy ourselves we would be able to develop him next year by playing him week-in and week-out; as a young man, emotionally he needs to be playing football.”

Munster’s McGahan yesterday said he was delighted to have secured the services of a quality player with Super 15 experience. “We hope his availability will stand us in good stead while our players are on RWC duty and in the crucial period of the Heineken Cup Pool stages.”

The deal is subject to a medical and work permit clearance.

Meanwhile, a few days short of his 22nd birthday, Peter O’Mahony is eager to make a big statement as to his future in Irish rugby. He leads Munster into battle for another RaboDirect Pro12 assault in Firhill tonight against perennially difficult opponents Glasgow Warriors.

Yesterday, Munster team manager Shaun Payne spoke openly of the contribution of all those contenders for the captaincy and of the role model influence, but he stressed that captaincy of Munster had always been one of the strong points in developing its players.

“Perhaps,” he said, “it’s about building for the future. “Yeah, Dougie and James Coughlan were up there and there are several guys you could call upon to captain this side based on credentials and experience.

“Chuckie (James Coughlan) hasn’t had the benefit of being involved in the international set-up, but there is somebody who has readily moved forward over the last couple of years and he has stuck at it when the prize wasn’t always there for him in terms of selection. Now that it is becoming more regular, you can see the guy blossoming.”

In terms of O’Mahony’s captaincy, Payne isn’t in the slightest bit worried. “Yes, it is a big question to be asked; but a lot of successful teams are built on guys being able to take up that challenge. You only have to look at Paulie (O’Connell) and the influence he has been on the team over a number of years now. Peter (O’Mahony) is not the finished article and has some way to go, but we certainly see leadership potential in him.

“There is work to be done, but hopefully he can take it on and get better and better. It’s one thing to play consistently. but having the added responsibility of captaincy is obviously stepping up another level on top of that.”

GLASGOW WARRIORS: S Hogg, F Aramburu, F Dewey, T Nathan, C Shaw, D Weir, H Pyrgos, R Grant, P MacArthur, M Cusack, T Ryder, N Campbell, R Harley (captain), R Wilson, C Fusaro

Replacements: F Gillies, E Kalman, G Reid, J Eddie, R Pitman, C Gregor, S Wright, P Horne.

MUNSTER: J Murphy, D Howlett, D Barnes, L Mafi, S Zebo, I Keatley, P Stringer, W du Preez, D Varley, J Hayes, B Holland, M O’Driscoll, P O’Mahony (captain), J Coughlan, N Ronan.

Replacements: D Fogarty, M Horan, S Archer, D Foley, T Gleeson, D Williams, S Deasy, T O’Donnell.

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