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Monday 20 November 2017

Erasmus in the market for Ryan replacement at Munster

Munster boss Rassie Erasmus. Photo: Sportsfile
Munster boss Rassie Erasmus. Photo: Sportsfile

Rassie Erasmus is looking to bolster Munster's second-row resources before the start of next season.

The decision of Ireland's Donnacha Ryan to pocket a prize salary at Racing 92 in light of the IRFU's decision not to centralise his contract has been a seismic blow to the province.

In addition, Dave Foley's move to French club Pau will leave another hole in the roster.

"We have a few gaps we have to fill," said the Director of Rugby.

"We're 95 per cent there, we have to get the balance right at second-row. There's guys like Darren O'Shea, who are putting their hand up.

"Guys like Dave O'Callaghan can help us out there and Billy (Holland) is there, Jean Kleyn too."

The impressive Ireland U20 Fineen Wycherley will need time to progress physically.

"But, with Donnacha and Dave Foley moving on, young Seán O'Connor and Fineen (Wycherley) coming through, we probably need a solid signing there which I'm currently trying to do."

Erasmus will be hindered by the lateness of Munster's entry into the transfer market.

Responsibility

The reach of his responsibility is far and wide.

"It is a difficult time of the year," he said.

"We've been doing it the whole year but, I guess if we were playing a European Cup final, it would have been even more tough."

The week without a game opens up a window of time to examine further what Munster have and what they need moving forward.

"At least, we've a bit of an admin week this week," he stated. "I wasn't supposed to be so much on the field when I came here.

"But, I'm pretty much on the field every day, so weeks like this, when you don't play a match but you still train, gives you a chance to catch up on those things."

Meanwhile, Connacht's incoming coach Kevin Keane has sanctioned the appointment of the experienced Peter Wilkins as his defence coach.

This means the management ticket is complete as the former Edinburgh defence specialist (2015-2017) joins forwards coach Jimmy Duffy, backs coach Nigel Carolan and Keane.

The Englishman earned his stripes in Australia where he had extensive experience with the Queensland Reds.

"I have visited the Sportsground as an opposition coach and have always been struck, not just by the skill-set and commitment of the Connacht players on the field, but also by the passion and rugby values of the Connacht supporters and wider community," stated Wilkins.

"I'm well aware of Kieran's qualities, from my time in the southern hemisphere, and am really looking forward to working closely with him, as well as Jimmy, Nigel and the other members of the organisation."

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