Sunday 19 November 2017

Munster's Tomas O'Leary set for 'medical joker' switch to Montpellier

Tomas O'Leary (SPORTSFILE)
Tomas O'Leary (SPORTSFILE)
Tomas O'Leary has been plauged by back problems Photo: SPORTSFILE
Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

Former Ireland scrum-half Tomas O'Leary could join Montpellier in the coming days as a 'medical joker'.

The Top 14 side, who host Leinster on Sunday, are on the look-out for a temporary replacement for Benoit Paillaugue, who is out for four months with injury.

Local newspaper Midi Libre has reported that Montpellier have agreed a deal with the Corkman, who was left out of Munster's European squad.

O'Leary, who last played for Ireland in 2012, re-joined his home province after three seasons at London Irish last year, but has been troubled by back problems.

Meanwhile, Munster's schedule remains in flux as a result of the tragic death of Anthony Foley.

Director of rugby Rassie Erasmus and captain Peter O'Mahony will speak to the media tomorrow as the province come to terms with the loss of their head coach and former captain.

It is not yet known if the European Champions Cup fixture against Glasgow Warriors on Saturday will go ahead.

Foley passed away suddenly on the eve of Munster's opening game against Racing 92 on Sunday, and that match was postponed as a result.


Last season, Munster's Champions Cup clash with Stade Francais was one of a number which had to be rescheduled as a result of the Paris attacks, with the games taking place in the week after round six as the domestic leagues moved their fixtures until the Six Nations window.

Tributes continued to pour in for the 42-year-old yesterday, with Ireland coach Joe Schmidt hailing Foley's coaching insight.

"Over the past few seasons I've had the opportunity to work closely with Axel," he said.

"His insights on the game and good-natured banter ensured he was always great company.

"He was incredibly supportive of Munster squad members selected for national duty and immensely proud of any Munster man who pulled on the green jersey. He is a huge loss to both Munster and Irish rugby."

Australia coach Michael Cheika also paid tribute to the former Munster skipper who he faced during his time with Leinster.

"I'd be lying if I didn't admit that's swirled around in my head all morning, when you wake up to news like that," he said. "It's hard to believe. He's a guy I competed heavily against as a coach when he was Munster captain.

"When you compete against someone and you earn respect for them it shows that there's a special person behind that and it's really tragic."

Irish Independent

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