Munster get Conway boost but Cordero not on their radar

Munster are hoping for another new contract boost with the retention of Ireland back-three star Andrew Conway to follow extended deals announced last night for forwards Billy Holland, Stephen Archer, and Kevin O’Byrne.

Negotiations between Munster and full-back/wing Conway are understood to be progressing well as the province seeks to continue securing its regular starters for next season and beyond.

Second row Holland, fellow Ireland cap Archer, the tighthead prop, and hooker O’Byrne all put pen to paper on two-year extensions having featured prominently in the starting line-up of late, while there was also deals confirmed yesterday for academy trio Liam O’Connor, Fineen Wycherley, and Calvin Nash, each of whom have broken through into the senior team this season.

Loosehead O’Connor, 22, will step up to a two-year senior contract next season while lock Wycherley and wing Nash have signed one-year development deals

Conway, 26, could be poised to follow suit. A product of Blackrock College and the Leinster academy, he moved south to Munster in the summer of 2013 and has enjoyed the most productive period of his professional career in the last 12 months, during which time he was awarded his first Test cap by Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt in the Six Nations victory over England last March.

The Dubliner featured in all three November Tests to bring his cap tally to six, scoring his first international try against South Africa in the autumn test at Aviva Stadium and is set to make his 90th Munster appearance this Sunday when the Champions Cup pool 4 leaders travel to Paris looking to qualify for the quarter-finals with a victory at in-form Racing 92.

An extension to the two-year deal Conway signed in January 2016 would lengthen his stay with Munster beyond the current contract, which expires this summer and would see him following the examples of Test stars CJ Stander and club captain Peter O’Mahony last month in committing their futures to the province at the start of head coach Johann van Graan’s tenure.

The new deals came on a day when Argentina full-back/wing Santiago Cordero was linked as a potential replacement at Munster for the departing Simon Zebo.

Cordero’s name is one of several being circulated by agents looking for prospective contract offers from European clubs but it is understood Munster have no interest in making a bid. Cordero, 24, was in the Pumas side which heavily defeated Ireland in the 2015 World Cup quarter-final and was reported by the Limerick Leader as being lined up to replace the outgoing full-back, whose move this summer to Racing 92 was confirmed on Tuesday.

Cordero, who played Super Rugby last season for Argentine franchise the Jaguares, is being chased by Leicester Tigers, whose head coach Matt O’Connor told the Leicester Mercury: “Santiago is a class act, he is an international player and would give us a similar sort of threat to Jonny (May) and Telusa (Veainu), which would be a great attribute to the group.”

  • The Bank of Ireland Munster Senior Challenge Cup final between UL Bohemian and Garryowen has been fixed for Friday January 19, at Markets Field, Limerick (kick-off 7.30pm).

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