Munster Rugby and the IRFU have confirmed that both Ian Keatley and Jaco Taute have signed contract extensions, while a number of players are set to depart at the end of the season, including Donnacha Ryan and Francis Saili.
Thirty-year-old Dubliner Ian Keatley, who has been with Munster since making his debut against Newport Gwent Dragons in September 2011, recently marked his 150th appearance with a man of the match performance against Connacht in round 22 of the Guinness PRO12. In October the out-half became only the second Munster player ever to score over 1,000 points, achieving the milestone against Zebre in Thomond Park. Keatley, who has been capped on five occasions for Ireland, has signed for the province for a further two years.
Similarly 26-year-old Springbok Jaco Taute has signed a two-year deal that will see him remain with Munster until June 2019. Initially arriving on a loan basis from the Stormers and Western Province, the centre has lined out for Munster Rugby on 24 occasions since September 2016, scoring 8 tries. Taute has made three appearances for South Africa.
Munster’s most capped player of the current squad, Donnacha Ryan, will leave the province at the end of the season and move to Top 14 side Racing 92. The 33-year-old has made 165 appearances since making his debut against Ospreys in September 2004. The Nenagh-man enjoyed Heineken Cup and Magners League success over a 13-year-career in the red jersey and was awarded Munster’s Player of the Year in 2012. On the international front, he has made 47 Ireland appearances, lining out in two World Cups (France 2007 & England 2015), and last November played a pivotal role in Ireland’s historic victory against the All Blacks in Chicago.
Centre Francis Saili, prop Peter McCabe and lock John Madigan are also set to leave at the end of the season with the trio all moving on to other clubs, while centre Cian Bohane and lock Mark Chisholm have both confirmed they are to retire from professional rugby.
Saili has made 38 appearances over two seasons and scored 8 tries, while Bohane most recently captained Munster ‘A’ in their British and Irish Cup success, with Chisholm, McCabe and Madigan all playing their part in the winning campaign.
Munster Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus paid a special tribute to Donnacha Ryan for his contribution to the province:
“In recognising a stellar career for the province I would like to single out Donnacha Ryan for his outstanding service to Munster Rugby for over 13 years. He is a leader on and off the field and has passed on his experience and knowledge to the next generation. We wish Donnacha and all who are leaving all the best for the future.”