Varley signs new two-year deal to stay in Munster red
Damien Varley was among three Munster players to commit their futures to the province yesterday as Tony McGahan continued to plan for next season.
The Ireland-capped hooker -- who returned from a spell at Wasps at the start of last season -- has impressed in the absence of injured pair Jerry Flannery and Denis Fogarty in this campaign. He has penned a new two-year deal that will keep him at Thomond Park until 2013.
The Magners League leaders also nailed down two of their rising stars as prop Stephen Archer and winger Danny Barnes put pen to paper on two-year contracts.
"Damien's signing of a new contract reflects his hard work and the single-minded approach he has displayed since his return," McGahan said.
"His form for us has been rewarded with an International cap, and we feel his continued progress will play a significant role in both Munster's and Ireland's rugby programmes."
Meanwhile, Russia international Vasily Artemiev will play for Northampton Saints next season after signing at Franklin's Garden's yesterday.
The former Blackrock College star -- who won Leinster Junior and Senior Schools Cups alongside Luke Fitzgerald and played for Ireland Schools -- looks set to face his former schoolmate in the World Cup. He joined the Leinster Academy on leaving school and played in the AIL for UCD before moving back to his native Moscow in 2008.
Elsewhere, the England union have told the Crusaders that Twickenham will be unable to stage their Super 15 match against the Sharks on March 26. The Christchurch-based side had contacted the RFU about moving the fixture to London because the AMI Stadium was damaged in the recent earthquake, but have had their request turned down.