Saturday 3 December 2016

Munster confirm five squad departures including Denis Hurley and Gerhard van den Heever

Published 10/05/2016 | 18:08

Gerhard Van Den Heever
Gerhard Van Den Heever

Munster have named six players who will not be a part of the province's plans for next season.

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Denis Hurley, BJ Botha, Cathal Sheridan, Gerhard van den Heever and Shane Buckley will leave the Thomond Park side.

Hurley, who announced his departure on social media last night, won a Heineken Cup with the province in 2008 and also the province to PRO12 titles in 2009 and 2011 and a famous win over Australia at Thomond Park in 2010. In total, the Cork Constitution clubman has amassed 166 caps – making him the most capped player of the current squad – and scored 16 tries.

Hurley’s wealth of experience also saw him captain Munster on seven occasions while his achievements were also recognised by his peers when he was nominated for the 2015 IRUPA Unsung Hero Award.

Botha, a member of the south African squad that won the 2007 Rugby World Cup, joined from Ulster in 2011 and became a firm fan favourite.

He played his last game in the red of Munster against Stade Francais in January when he ruptured his ACL joint, sidelining him for the remainder of the season.

A product of the Munster Rugby Academy, Cathal Sheridan made his senior debut against Edinburgh at Musgrave Park in February 2013 and went on to make 35 appearances, a tally somewhat impeded by a string of injuries in recent seasons.

On his first European start, the Sligo native played a key role in Munster’s dramatic win away to Perpignan in the 2013/14 Heineken Cup, while the scrum half also made 17 appearances with Munster A, featuring the British and Irish Cup winning campaign of 2011/12.

Scoring 6 tries in 29 appearances for Munster, Gerhard van den Heever joined the province in November 2013 and made his debut away to Newport Gwent Dragons at Rodney Parade.  The Bloemfontein native will have fond memories of his Heineken Cup debut where Munster comprehensively defeated Toulouse at Thomond Park in the 2014 quarter final of the competition, with the speedster also representing the province at ‘A’ level – 4 appearances – and at the inaugural Limerick World Club 7s at Thomond Park in August 2014.

A former Academy Player of the Year, Shane Buckley spent two seasons in the senior squad where he made eight PRO12 appearances, the first of which came as a starter against Edinburgh at Thomond Park in September 2014.  Across five seasons with Munster A, the back row made 24 British and Irish Cup appearances, scored 3 tries, captained the side on occasion and featured in the 2011/12 tournament winning campaign.

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