Donncha O’Callaghan will make a huge impact in the Aviva Premiership this season after his move from his beloved Munster, one of his old team-mates declared last night.
Johne Murphy figures the 36-year-old O’Callaghan will be a “major” signing for Worcester Warriors when the deal is finally inked in the coming hours.
O’Callaghan’s move from Munster is a foregone conclusion.
Yesterday, Munster chief executive Garrett Fitzgerald declined to comment on the possibility of O’Callaghan’s move, although head coach Anthony Foley admitted there was no denying the substance of the story.
The ambitious English side, just recently promoted back to the Premiership, have enjoyed success at different levels and under illustrious coach Dean Ryan also hope to make a major impact in the top flight of English club rugby this season.
Ryan has been chasing O’Callaghan since his days as coach in Gloucester, and the Munster and Irish player had discussions a couple of years ago and more, obviously, in the last few weeks.
Corkman O’Callaghan was last night finalising details with Munster officials to allow a release from his current contract, which was due to expire in June of next year.
Former Munster backs heavyweight Murphy believes O’Callaghan has every right to a release clause after serving Munster so well over almost two decades.
“His physical shape was getting better year on year,” said Murphy last night, “I know that as a second row he had to work harder and harder to get into condition, but his condition was more or less an all year round thing, purely down to his work ethic and he tried different things, tried something new if that something new was out there, all just to get himself into the peak of fitness.
“Donncha trained very hard and always needed to do what had to be done, but also had the craic during the session in a very competitive way to make sure everyone else needed to do what had to be done when they were indoors.
“He (Donncha) looked after me big time when I came into the Munster set-up. I was a very good friend of Geordan Murphy in Leicester and he would have had a relationship with Donners given that they played at Under 19s and other grades on the way up. They played together with Ireland for several years before I arrived to Munster, so there was a bit of craic when we went on tour with Ireland for the first time in 2010 to Australia and New Zealand.
“Yeah, he knew the difference between when it was time to be serious and when it was time to have the craic, he drove that and when it was time to put the head down and go to work.”
What will he bring to Worcester?
“He will bring huge experience, they have a few older guys but in general they’re a young squad, there is a progression that they feel they can push towards Europe and with the facilities they have (at Sixways) there is a vision. Having played against a couple of teams led by Dean Ryan, they would have a hard-nosed edge and Donncha will add to that in a massive way, in every way.”
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