MUNSTER RUGBY have received a major boost after securing Bank of Ireland as their new sponsors for next season.
The Irish Independent has learned that the bank, whose name already adorns the jerseys of Leinster and Ulster, will announce the multi-million euro deal in the next week and will replace Toyota whose €13m deal finished at the end of the season.
The car manufacturer had sponsored Munster for nine years and Bank of Ireland were their predecessors.
The news comes after the province were hit by the retirements of captain Doug Howlett and talisman Ronan O'Gara last week and is a major coup in a difficult economic climate that saw Puma prematurely pull the plug on their deal with the IRFU in January.
Munster's march to the semi-finals of this year's Heineken Cup has greatly improved their marketability in a period of transition for the club under coach Rob Penney and the new deal should form the basis of a whole new era for the province after a raft of big-name retirements.