| 16.4°C Dublin

Munster coach confirms end of the road for legend Hayes

Munster coach Tony McGahan has confirmed the second departure of a Munster legend in a week -- but this time it's permanent.

After twice extending his national and then provincial contracts already this year, 38-year-old prop John Hayes will definitely leave the club in the next few weeks.

"A date will be forthcoming," said McGahan. "We need to have a bit more time to get that done but there will be something forthcoming in the next while.

"At this stage he will not be staying until the end of the season and he will be finishing up in the next few weeks."

Hayes, capped 105 times for Ireland and the first player to reach 100 Heineken Cup appearances, came on as a replacement in Munster's 17-14 win against Scarlets last weekend and will again feature in the return leg.

He was persuaded to stay on with the Ireland camp last summer as World Cup cover before then agreeing to stay on with Munster at the start of this season after injuries to tight-heads Peter Borlase and Darragh Hurley.

Last week, another veteran survivor of Munster's two Heineken Cup wins, Peter Stringer, left the club for a three-month loan spell at Saracens.

Meanwhile, Keith Earls could return to the action this weekend for the first time since sustaining a knee medial ligament injury against Leinster six weeks ago.

"He's only had two sessions under his belt," said McGahan. "We'll see how he gets through this week's training. He certainly has a chance."

Irish Independent