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Ex-Munster lock Darren O'Shea signs two-year deal with French club Vannes

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Darren O'Shea. Picture: Sportsfile

Darren O'Shea. Picture: Sportsfile

SPORTSFILE

Darren O'Shea. Picture: Sportsfile

Former Munster lock Darren O'Shea has signed a two-year deal with French side Vannes.

The Pro D2 outfit have snapped up O'Shea to offset the loss of fellow Irish second-row Dan Tuohy, who was forced into early retirement due to injury.

Having been unable to secure a new contract at Munster, O'Shea has been exploring his options, and he will now look to reignite his career with the Brittany-based Vannes.

The 27-year-old Cork native largely found game-time tough to come by at his native province and with the arrival of RG Snyman in Limerick this summer, O'Shea was facing the prospect of falling further down the pecking order.

O'Shea came through the Munster Academy, but enjoyed a two-year spell with Worcester from 2014 to 2016, during which time he helped the English club win promotion to the Premiership.

“Darren is a product of the province of Munster, with the associated standards in forward play,” Vannes’s sporting director Jean-Noël Spitzer said.

“He is a reassuring presence in the lineout after the departures of Dan, Hugh (Chalmers), Nick (Civetta) and Andy (Cramond).

“Without being a first-choice player in Munster, he played regularly and was responsible for calling the lineout.

“Darren is a player who has experienced the Pro14 and knows how to move despite his size. He knows how to do the unseen work in mauls and the scrum.”

Meanwhile, former Scotland captain Greig Laidlaw is also on the move, having joined Japanese side NTT Communications Shining Arcs.

Laidlaw spent the last three seasons with Clermont and while he had offers on the table, the scrum-half has opted for a move to Japan, where he was hugely popular amongst the locals during last year's World Cup.

The 34-year old will bring a wealth of experience to the Shining Arcs, who compete in Japan's Top League, which is due to begin in January.

“I was able to experience the country, the incredible people and the culture for the first time in 2016 and again during last year’s RWC,” Laidlaw said.

“It is a country that has provided the warmest of welcomes every time I have visited. To now be making it my home and joining the Shining Arcs family is extremely exciting.

“I have played for some incredible teams during my rugby career and I’m excited to continue with NTT Communications Shining Arcs.

"I look forward to bringing my experience and what I have learnt with me to Japan and to experience the rugby culture and everything this fantastic country has to offer. I can’t wait to get started.”

Elsewhere, the Rugby Football Union (RFU) have announced plans to cut a quarter of its staff as a result of Covid-19.

Like the IRFU, the English union are in dire financial straits on the back of the current pandemic, and this latest development comes as yet another warning of just how much rugby is struggling.

As many as 139 of the 580 members of the RFU's staff are set to be made redundant in what are drastic new measures.

"We are projecting a four to five year recovery with cumulative revenue reductions around 20pc," RFU chief executive Bill Sweeney said.

"To ensure we have a sustainable RFU we have announced to colleagues that it is proposed that the total number of roles across the organisation will reduce by 139.

"This will be a difficult process, but we will be consulting with colleagues in a fair way to completely remodel our business.

"We need to maintain our organisation for the long term, this is not a short-term cost reduction exercise, the RFU will still stand, but the impact of Covid-19 will continue to affect us for many years to come.

"Our detailed scenario modelling shows there may be a short-term impact of £107m in lost revenues and we also know there will be a much longer-term effect."

Online Editors