Munster’s weekend to remember signed off in the perfect fashion yesterday when Ireland forward Donnacha Ryan committed his future to the province for another three years.
The news, following recent speculation the lock/back row was considering a move to either England or France, tempered confirmation from Munster that former All Black centre Casey Laulala was leaving at the end of the campaign.
Ryan, who turned 30 last week, had made his return from an eight-week injury absence in Munster’s dramatic 18-17 Heineken Cup victory on Saturday at Perpignan, one of the clubs with whom he had been linked with a switch at the end of his current deal next summer. London Irish were another side understood to be vying for Ryan’s services but the Tipperary man yesterday put pen to paper on an IRFU contract that will keep him at Munster until at least June 2017.
“I am delighted to sign a new contract and to continue my playing career with Munster,” said Ryan, who made his 123rd appearance for the province on Saturday. “It is an exciting time to be involved in Irish rugby and I hope to play an important role in achieving success for both Munster and Ireland.”
There are still several players’ futures to determine for next season, not least Paul O’Connell and Keith Earls as well as Johne Murphy, James Downey and Denis Hurley.
Another’s has been resolved with Laulala set to depart next summer. The centre has been linked with a move to Grenoble, while Ronan O’Gara revealed in his Irish Examiner column that his own French club, Racing Metro, were also strong contenders for his friend’s signature.
Other clubs are believed to be in the hunt also and Munster revealed they were unable to match the terms being offered to the 31-year-old.
“We understand Casey’s reasons for leaving at the end of the season and are disappointed to see him go,” coach Rob Penney said.
“I’m sure he will continue to commit himself to the goals we set out at the beginning of the season and will contribute to Munster’s campaign.”
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