Robin Copeland is to join Munster from Cardiff Blues next season in a bid to fulfil his Ireland ambitions.
The 26-year-old from Wexford will return home at the end of this season in June following two years in the Welsh capital.
Copeland is a former Leinster Academy and St Mary’s College player. He joined the Blues from Rotherham Titans in 2012, having scored 11 tries in 20 games after joining from Plymouth.
No 8 Copeland has proved a major success since arriving at the Arms Park, particularly for his man of the match display in the famous Heineken Cup win over Toulon in October.
Copeland is set to compete with James Coughlan, who turned 33 yesterday, for the No8 jersey at Munster, though he can also play on the blindside flank.
He was impressive again on Friday night in Cardiff’s 29-20 win over Glasgow Warriors, with his athleticism, commitment and ball-carrying ability on display. Those performances grabbed the attention of Joe Schmidt and the IRFU have previously been in contact, though Copeland was well-aware of the need to return to Ireland if he was to fulfil his ambition of wearing the green jersey.
Copeland would have qualified for Wales on residency grounds in time for the 2015 World Cup but has instead opted to push for a place at Munster.
He previously said: “I’m an Irishman and my dream is to pull the green shirt on, but if those opportunities aren’t there I still want to play at the best level and keep moving up the ladder.”
Meanwhile, Munster scrum-half Conor Murray will undergo a second scan on his knee within the next 24 hours to ascertain the extent of the damage.
However, it is believed serious enough to rule him out for at least several weeks. That could force Munster coach Rob Penney to add another scrum-half to his squad for the remaining rounds of the Heineken Cup.
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