Twenty-six Munster Rugby players were unavailable for last weekend’s 27-13 loss against Leinster Rugby at the Aviva. An astronomical number given that we are only six rounds into the URC season. Tour commitments in South Africa contributed to this number but there is one hell of an injury list for the Munster Rugby medical team to contend with right now.
Munster Rugby had hinted that there would be moves in the postgame comments after this Aviva fixture and so it proved as they look to John Ryan and Oli Morris to shore up the squad given the extensive injury list.
I am delighted that John Ryan is back with the ball club. He should never have gone. A three month contract for the Cork native but I would imagine that this should be extended given the game minutes that Ryan will secure in this period. An excellent scrummager and someone who knows the club inside out. The East Terrace chant ‘John Ryan for Prez’ will be barked out this weekend!
Oli Morris’ loan deal is for the rest of the season. I am genuinely very excited by this announcement. A player who is a centre. It indicates concerns with injuries and probably an acceptance from management that the three quarters depth chart needed to be boosted given that Chris Farrell is unavailable for selection for the foreseeable future. Work load among the three quarters an issue early in the season.
Morris is versatile and can play on the wing if required which could be why the player’s loan deal is extended to the end of the season, Morris started his career at Saracens where he came to prominence with Ampthill (National League 1 champions in 2018/19).
Worcester Warriors career obviously cut short due to the administration of the club. Morris will be relieved much like John Ryan (Wasps scenario) that they have contracts and can look to secure game minutes with a view to extending contracts come next year.
Oli Morris has represented Ireland in underage international teams (2019 Ireland U20 Six Nations). A player who has explosive pace but also a solid defensive game. Morris if provided with good fast ruck ball could be an interesting addition along players such as Antoine Frisch, Malaki Fekitoa.
The loan signings were coupled with some positive contract news and securing potentially players who will be key players for the province for years to come. Tom Ahern, Fineen Wycherley and Calvin Nash all signing to the ball club on new two year contract extensions.
Ahern and Nash impressed on tour for Emerging Ireland in South Africa. People will ridicule the merits of the tour but it gave these two players massive experience and exposure playing in these fixtures. They should be key players for the side going forward and are now on the Ireland senior team management radar going forward.
Fineen Wycherley is recovering from a shoulder injury but the second row has impressed since bursting on the scene for Munster Rugby. Eighty-eight appearances for the province, a player whose work rate and physicality has progressively improved. A key stalwart in the second row going forward.
Munster Rugby have acted to quell the player personnel issues. Reflections on the injury count can take place later but it is now time for the side to focus fully on a must win interprovincial derby against Ulster Rugby at Thomond Park this weekend.