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O’Driscoll Returns To Munster

19th May 2005 By Munster Rugby

O’Driscoll Returns To Munster

Munster have moved closer to finalising their playing squad for the coming season with the news that John O Sullivan returns to the province with Mick O’Driscoll set to return to his native Cork.

Munster have moved closer to finalising their playing squad for the coming season with the news that John O Sullivan has accepted terms and returns to the province while negotiations to bring Mick O Driscoll back from France have been concluded.

In addition, newcomers to the Munster squad include, Shannon prop Tony Buckley, former Ireland Under 21 scrum-half Tomas O Leary, Bourgoin prop, Italian international, Federico Pucciariello, centre Trevor Halstead (Natal Sharks) and Eugene McGovern (prop) who moves from a development to full contract.

There are still two squad positions to be filled while 7 development contracted players will be finalised by the end of May.

28 year old Halstead is currently engaged with the Natal Sharks. He won the first of six Springbok caps against France in 2001 and played his final game against Scotland in Ellis Park in 2003.

Halstead rejected approaches from three English Premiership clubs opting for Munster instead because he was aware of Munster from, games that we get over here and speaking to a couple of guys who have played in Britain.

The reports were really very good about the side, the set-up and the people over there. I only heard very positive things about everything. The vibe was really good.

Then again you only have to look at some of the players they have, O Gara, Stringer, Paul O Connell, guys like that who I knew about from the internationals. Then there is Christian Cullen who travelled across the world to play there.

” So when the opportunity came to play with Munster I took it. I made my mind up very quickly.

Playing here in South Africa the past few years has been a little stressful. We (Natal Sharks) haven t been going that well so I m looking forward to getting back to enjoying my rugby. I want to win, I want to win some trophies.”

Pucciariello (29), Argentine by birth has been capped eight times by Italy. He has previously played with Narbonne and Gloucester and this season is on the Bourgoin side that finished second in the French Championship.

The retirement of Jim Williams, Jason Holland and Gordon McIlwham brings to nine the number of players from last season s squad who will not be involved in the coming season.

Players whose contracts have come up for renewal and who have just signed extensions to their contracts with Munster include, Donncha O Callaghan, Shaun Payne Denis Leamy, Trevor Hogan and Frank Roche.

It is not expected that any announcement will be made in relation to the management team until Declan Kidney officially takes over the Director of Coaching role.

Munster Squad Burke P; Buckley T; Cullen C; Devlin P; Foley A; Flannery J; Horgan A; Henderson R; Halstead T; Horan M; Hogan T; Hayes J; Keogh S; Kelly J; Leamy D; Lawlor M; Mullins M; McGovern E; O Callaghan D; O Sullivan J; O Connell P; O Gara R; O Leary T; Payne, S; Pucciariello F; Quinlan A; Roche F; Sheahan F; Stringer P; Wallace D.


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