Munster Rugby’s New Signings For 2023/24
6th July 2023 By The Editor
Five players will join the Munster Rugby senior squad next season as the province look to defend their URC title and compete in a Champions Cup Pool that includes Toulon, Exeter Chiefs, Northampton Saints and Bayonne.
Additionally, the province will also have games against Leinster (Musgrave Park) and Barbarians (Thomond Park) in September and a clash of champions against Super Rugby holders Crusaders in February (venue TBC).
Click here to buy Leinster and Barbarians double-header match tickets with limited tickets remaining for the Leinster game.
Three players will join the province from other clubs with two players stepping up from the Munster Rugby Academy.
The new additions are Maori All Black international Alex Nankivell, former Ireland U20 international Seán O’Brien and Ireland international John Ryan.
The players stepping up from the Academy are Patrick Campbell and Cian Hurley.
Find out more about our new members of the senior squad below.
Alex Nankivell – Centre
26-year-old Alex Nankivell, who can play in either centre position and on the wing, joins Munster from the Chiefs in New Zealand on a two-year deal.
He scored 13 tries in 70 Chiefs appearances since making his debut against Stormers in 2017 and helped set up two tries in the Super Rugby Pacific final against Crusaders last month as Chiefs fell to a narrow loss.
Nankivell made his provincial debut for the Tasman Mako in 2015 after a successful campaign with Christchurch Boys High School in 2014.
Nankivell’s impressive 2019 season caught the eye of the Māori All Blacks selectors and he made his mark on the international stage against Fiji.
He was an integral part of the Chiefs team who made the Sky Super Rugby Aotearoa final in 2021 and lined out for the Māori All Blacks again that year.
In November 2022 he was selected for the All Blacks XV that played Ireland ‘A’ and the Barbarians and will also line out for the All Blacks XV on their tour to Japan this month.
Seán O’Brien – Centre
Seán O’Brien joins Munster Rugby on a two-year contract from Exeter Chiefs having played a key role in the Devon club’s progression to the Champions Cup semi-finals last year.
The 25-year-old from Westmeath came up through the ranks at Mullingar RFC before making the move to Clontarf RFC.
He made six appearances for the Ireland U20s in 2018 and lined out with Munster team-mates Diarmuid Barron, Jack Daly and Jack O’Sullivan.
He joined the Connacht Rugby Academy ahead of the 2018/19 season and impressed with nine appearances in the 2020/21 campaign before joining Exeter Chiefs.
He scored three tries in 16 appearances for Exeter over the past two seasons and started their Champions Cup round of 16, quarter-final and semi-final fixtures.
John Ryan – Prop
A man who needs no introduction to Munster supporters, John Ryan returns after a 2022/23 season that also saw him line out for Wasps in England and Chiefs in New Zealand.
The 34-year-old tighthead prop from Berrings in Cork has made 205 appearances for the province and earned 24 Ireland caps to date, returning on a one-year contract.
He joined Premiership side Wasps last summer before signing a short-term deal with Munster in October after the English club unfortunately went into administration.
He made eight Munster appearances, including a landmark 200th cap against Edinburgh in December, before moving to Chiefs for the 2023 Super Rugby Pacific campaign.
Ryan made a big impression at the Chiefs and lined out in 16 games as they reached the Super Rugby Pacific final, losing to Crusaders in the decider last month.
Patrick Campbell – Full-back/wing
Patrick Campbell moves up to the senior squad on a two-year contract after an impressive two years in the Munster Rugby Academy.
A Grand Slam winner with the Ireland U20s in 2022, Campbell has scored four tries in 12 Munster appearances since making a try-scoring debut against Wasps in December 2021.
Has also starred for Young Munster in the AIL over the past two years having played a key role for PBC as they reached the final of the curtailed 2020 Pinergy Munster Boys Schools Senior Cup.
Made 10 senior appearances last season and scored tries against Connacht, Leinster and Scarlets.
Cian Hurley – Lock/back row
23-year-old Cian Hurley moves up to the senior squad after a very productive three years in the Munster Rugby Academy.
A product of Clonakilty RFC and CBC, Hurley plays his AIL rugby for Garryowen and made his senior debut as a starter at the age of 20 against Benetton in March 2021.
Paired with Thomas Ahern (21) in the second row, they became the youngest starting second row combination for Munster Rugby in the professional era.
This season, Hurley has played a further four senior games for Munster including an appearance in the historic victory over South Africa A at Páirc Uí Chaoimh.