Munster Rugby have today confirmed two-year contract extensions for back rower Jack O'Donoghue and wingers Ronan O'Mahony and Alex Wootton.
The contract extensions will see Jack O'Donoghue, Ronan O'Mahony and Alex Wootton remain with the province until at least June 2019, with all three products of the Greencore Munster Rugby Academy.
In just his second season with the senior squad, O'Donoghue has already won over 50 caps for his native province, reaching the half-century milestone in January's derby win over Connacht at the Sportsground.
Needing just two more tries to reach 100 points scored in the red jersey, O'Mahony leads the way as Munster's top try scorer this season, crossing the whitewash on no less than nine occasions in 20 appearances.
Progressing from the Academy ranks last summer, Wootton has shown much promise when taking to the pitch in this season's GUINNESS PRO12. The speedster has made six competitive appearances to date, including his first start against Zebre in October and his first try against Benetton Treviso in November. The 22-year-old is currently rehabbing a shoulder injury sustained in British & Irish Cup action in December.
Meanwhile, on the injury front, it has been confirmed that Dave Foley requires surgery for an ongoing wrist complaint. The Tipperary lock will undergo the procedure in the coming week.
With Jean Kleyn already ruled out due to a neck injury, the additional blow to the second row ranks sees Munster director of rugby Rassie Erasmus call on the services of Sharks lock Jean Deysel on a three-month loan.
The 32-year-old Deysel, who has made seven appearances for South Africa and over 70 Super Rugby appearances, will join the province later this month, subject to being granted a valid work permit.
In keeping with EPCR tournament rules, Deysel and Young Munster scrum half Abrie Griesel have been nominated as Munster's additional players for the knock-out stages of the Champions Cup. Griesel made his PRO12 debut against the Ospreys in November and has two caps.
Commenting on today's announcements, Erasmus said: "It's great to see players who have come through our Academy system commit their future to Munster. Jack and Ronan are among our standout players this season, and while injury has kept Alex sidelined of late, he really impressed when opportunity presented itself earlier in the season and is an exciting prospect. It's good to have all three on board as we continue to build our squad depth.
"On the lock situation, it's always a challenge when we have two of our experienced players ruled out through injury, and we have a third, Mark Chisholm, only back training after a year out from the game due to concussion.
"We needed to bolster the squad in that area with the trio unavailable, especially as we enter the business end of both the Champions Cup and PRO12. Jean (Deysel) comes with the talent and experience to hit the ground running at this busy period. He will be a valuable addition to the squad."
The Ireland Under-18 and Under-19 squads had a busy Easter period with seven matches played in Ashbourne, Cardiff, Llanelli, Caerphilly and Bordeaux. Check out some of the tries scored. Full match reports are available on www.irishrugby.ie.
Speaking to RTE Radio rugby correspondent Michael Corcoran, Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt was asked about prioritising players playing in Ireland when it comes to national selection over those who are based overseas.
In an interview broadcast on RTE Radio 1's 'Sunday Sport' programme, Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt discussed the challenges and opportunities presented by the summer tour to the USA and Japan, and also looked ahead to next month's Rugby World Cup Pool Draw.
Speaking about working with the provinces and monitoring players' progress, Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt told RTE Radio 1: "For us, having the best quality of performance within the provinces, getting some really good coaching from the provincial coaches, which we know is happening at the moment, that's the foundation that we need because in the end we get the players in a match week pretty much."
In an interview with RTE Radio rugby correspondent Michael Corcoran, Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt confirmed that Girvan Dempsey, Felix Jones and Ronan O'Gara will be incorporated into the coaching group for the upcoming summer tour to the USA and Japan.
IRFU National Talent Development Manager Hendrik Kruger says the Easter age-grade internationals give the Ireland Under-18 and Under-19 players 'the chance to represent their country and experience international rugby' and are 'the highlight of their season'.
The Ireland Under-18 Clubs & Schools team (sponsored by PwC) played the England U-18 Counties side in the first of two matches at Ashbourne RFC this week. Check out the highlights from Wednesday's entertaining clash.
Four of our stadiums through the eyes of four Irish sporting legends. O'Driscoll on Aviva Stadium, Brogan on Croke Park, Matthews on Kingspan Stadium and O'Connell on Thomond Park. The world is invited #Ireland2023.
Irish Rugby TV caught up with flanker Sean O'Brien to get his reaction following Ireland's hard-earned 13-9 victory over RBS 6 Nations champions England. He singled out man-of-the-match Peter O'Mahony for special praise.
Peter O'Mahony reflects on what went wrong for Ireland in Cardiff and tells Irish Rugby TV that he is focusing on the squad and their work this week ahead of the final Six Nations game against England.
The Ireland squad paid a visit to Monaghan last week and held an open training session in Monaghan RFC. We spoke to Andrew Trimble after the session which was attended by over 2,000 cheering supporters.