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Munster to reshuffle squad with up to nine players set to depart ahead of next season

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Munster head coach Johann van Graan is freshening up his squad ahead of next season. Photo by Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile

Munster head coach Johann van Graan is freshening up his squad ahead of next season. Photo by Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile

SPORTSFILE

Munster head coach Johann van Graan is freshening up his squad ahead of next season. Photo by Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile

Munster are set to reshuffle their squad ahead of next season, with up to nine players from the current group no longer expected to be part of Johann van Graan's plans going forward.

Having already confirmed the signings of recent South African World Cup winners RG Snyman and Damian De Allende, as well as full-back Matt Gallagher from Saracens, Leinster tighthead Roman Salanoa has also agreed to join Munster.

Van Graan has beefed up his squad significantly, but there will also be several departures.

Props Brian Scott and Ciaran Parker look to be on their way out of the club, with the latter having already returned home to England, three years after joining from Sale Sharks.

Parker, like Scott, has struggled for game-time this season, having endured plenty of injury problems. The 24-year old was limited to just nine appearances off the bench before Covid-19 brought the campaign to a halt.

Cork native Scott, who is a former Ireland U-20 international, came through the Munster Academy, but injury has also hampered his progress in recent times, with the versatile prop only featuring three times off the bench this season.

Although Scott (27) signed a two-year contract in 2018, he is believed to be exploring his options, having sounded out interest from English clubs.

Locks Darren O'Shea and Sean O'Connor may also have played their last game for Munster, as the pair seek fresh starts elsewhere.

O'Connor is understood to have agreed to join English Championship side Jersey Reds, and the 23-year old Tipperary man will be hoping that the current pandemic does not scupper his potential move.

O'Shea, who is in the final weeks of his current contract, made five starts this season, as well as another three appearances off the bench, but with Snyman arriving in Limerick this summer, the Cork native could explore other options, including the possibility of joining another province.

The 27-year old has already spent two years in England with Worcester Warriors, before he re-joined Munster in 2016.

Meanwhile, Conor Oliver and Sammy Arnold are both expected to link up with Connacht in a bid to get more first-team minutes.

Injuries have meant that flanker Oliver has fallen down the pecking order, while Arnold, who was capped by Ireland in 2018, was facing a similar fate with the impending arrival of Springbok midfielder De Allende.

Academy scrum-half Jack Stafford is also set to depart. The 22-year old, made three senior appearances in the 2017/18 season, but hasn't featured since.

The province have already confirmed that former 'Bok back-row Arno Botha has returned to Super Rugby outfit, the Blue Bulls.

Munster are expected to announce further departures in the coming weeks, as well as the signing of Salanoa, as Van Graan begins to finalise his squad ahead of next season.

Online Editors