Ryan cools on Perpignan as O'Driscoll urges fringe players to spread wings
PERPIGNAN are unlikely to land Munster's Donnacha Ryan next season, according to the Catalans' manager Perry Freshwater.
But the Ireland second-row's former partner in the Reds' engine room Mick O'Driscoll has urged younger Irish players to take their opportunities to move abroad when they get the chance.
Ryan visited the club's Stade Aime Giral in October, but former England prop Freshwater does not expect the transfer to go any further. The two clubs meet in the first of their back-to-back Heineken Cup clashes this Sunday.
Having finally become a first-choice Ireland second-row in the last 18 months and with the 2015 World Cup looming, the prospect of staying within the system may appeal to 29-year-old Ryan (right), who has also attracted interest from another Top 14 club and two English Premiership sides.
"Donnacha was here, but I'm pretty sure he won't come over,'' Freshwater told the Irish Independent. "We get players here all the time coming through, it's the nature of the beast. I was a player and it's about making sure you know what your market value is.
"We're not idiots, we know how that works. We're not Clermont, Toulouse and certainly not Toulon. But it is a bloody nice place to play rugby, the fans are bonkers and you can get a good kick out of it."
Former Munster and Ireland lock O'Driscoll spent two seasons at Perpignan and encouraged young players who are struggling for game time at the province to look abroad.
"If fellas have the opportunity I think they should go. It certainly helped me as a player and it is ultimately good for Munster," he said.
"I'm not saying it against the IRFU, but if I was involved higher up in the IRFU or the Munster branch I'd be trying to get guys to move abroad for a year or two and bring them back.
"If a guy is on the fringes and isn't playing a lot of rugby, it is a good thing to do."
Meanwhile, Ulster have been dealt a blow with the news that Tommy Bowe will be out of action for four to six weeks after it was confirmed he suffered a groin tear playing for Ireland against New Zealand.