Monday 16 July 2018

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Munster confirm signing of Simon Zebo replacement on a three-year deal

Mike Haley of Sale Sharks is joining Munster
Mike Haley of Sale Sharks is joining Munster Newsdesk Newsdesk

Sale have agreed to release full-back Mike Haley to enable him to join Munster and push his claims for an Ireland call-up.

The 23-year-old has represented England Saxons but qualifies for Ireland through maternal grandmother from Tralee and has signed a three-year contract with Munster from the start of next season.

Haley will be a straight replacement for Ireland full-back or wing Simon Zebo, who is leaving Thomond Park to join French club Racing 92 in the summer.

Munster head coach Johann van Graan said: "We are delighted to recruit an exciting young playmaker such as Mike.

"At 23, he has over six years of professional rugby under his belt and will be a great addition to our squad."

Haley follows in the footsteps of Ireland flanker Ciaran Parker, who joined Munster from Sale last year.

"Obviously it was a very, very difficult decision," Haley said. "I've spent many happy years at Sale but after lots of careful thought I just felt that it was a once in a lifetime opportunity I had to take.

"I have a strong family connections with Munster and used to go there all the time when I was younger and being eligible to play for Ireland was another big factor.

"But I will be giving absolutely everything for Sale between now and the end of the season."

Sale director of rugby Steve Diamond said: "It has been a really difficult decision to let Mike go with us having brought him through from being a teenager and with Mike having a year left on his contract with the club.

"However, he has aspirations to play international rugby with Ireland and we really didn't want to stand in his way."

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