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Worcester in hunt to land Ian Keatley

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Munster out-half Ian Keatley may be heading to Worcester. Photo: Sportsfile

Munster out-half Ian Keatley may be heading to Worcester. Photo: Sportsfile

SPORTSFILE

Munster out-half Ian Keatley may be heading to Worcester. Photo: Sportsfile

Worcester have emerged as the favourites to sign Munster out-half Ian Keatley next season.

Keatley has previously been linked with a move to France with high-flyers La Rochelle and Bayonne both interested in the 29-year-old but it now appears more likely he will join Worcester.

Should he join the English club, it could mean that Keatley links up with his former team-mate Donncha O'Callaghan who is currently weighing up whether or not to stay on for another season.

Worcester enjoyed a precious bonus-point victory over fellow strugglers Bristol on Sunday as they look to secure their Premiership status for next season.

Keatley is currently sweating over the severity of the knee injury that he suffered last Saturday.

Munster confirmed on Monday that they are awaiting results of a scan from a knee problem that he picked up after 20 minutes in the win over Cardiff and the hope is that it is not as bad as first feared.

Elsewhere, Ulster are understood to be close to signing Schalk van der Merwe. The 26-year-old South African-born loosehead prop, who currently plays Super Rugby with the Kings, will join the province as a 'project player'.

Meanwhile, Joe Schmidt is expected to retain the team that beat France two weeks ago when he names his side for Friday's clash with Wales this lunchtime.

Irish Independent