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Manning Amongst Munster’s Departing Players

Manning Amongst Munster’s Departing Players

Munster have confirmed the group of players who are leaving the province following the end of their Heineken Cup and Magners League campaigns.

The Irish-qualified Jeremy Manning is the longest-serving of the players departing the Munster scene, having made his debut back in September 2006.

The out-half’s fifth and final season with the province saw him make six appearances in the Magners League, but he did bow out by helping Cork Constitution complete an AIB League and Cup double and Munster qualify for the inaugural British & Irish Cup final.

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Manning, still just 24, has no definite plans other than returning home to New Zealand, despite reports of him joining either an Italian or French club.

Former France prop Julien Brugnaut, having been released by Munster, has agreed a deal with Top 14 side Racing-Metro. He lined out 15 times for Munster between last September and this month, and will return to his native France on Monday.

New Zealander Nick Williams and Springbok star Jean de Villiers are also leaving for pastures new, although powerful back rower Williams has yet to secure a contract with another club.

de Villiers’ departure was confirmed back in February, but the South African continued to feature prominently for Tony McGahan’s men up until last weekend’s Magners League semi-final loss to Leinster. He finished with eight tries in 23 games, including three in eight Heineken Cup appearances.

Williams, 26, also finished his second season with Munster in strong fashion, with league starts against Connacht, Cardiff and Leinster and an appearance off the bench in the Heineken Cup semi-final defeat to Biarritz Olympique.

Homegrown backs Ciaran O’Boyle and Danny Riordan look set to return to the domestic club scene after failing to break into the Munster side this season. O’Boyle made a try-scoring debut for the province last year but injuries have hampered his progress.

The Munster senior squad assembled in Charleville, Cork on Wednesday morning for a season wrap-up meeting and for those not involved in Ireland’s summer tour to New Zealand and Australia, holidays beckon.