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Munster Begin Preparations For New Season

Munster Begin Preparations For New Season

Munster’s preparations for the coming season began on Thursday with a squad assembly in Cork. The province’s new strength & conditioning coach Bryce Kavanagh was introduced to the players.

The session did not include Munster’s Ireland players who have been at a pre-season training camp in Carton House this week.

The Ireland internationals will return south and join the rest of their Munster colleagues on Monday. They will train with the province for the best part of the next two weeks before returning for a three-week Ireland camp.

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Those attending the session in Cork IT on Thursday were introduced to Munster’s new strength & conditioning coach Bryce Cavanagh, who joins from Australian Rules side Sydney Swans.

New signings BJ Botha and Ian Keatley were among those present along with 11 players who have come up through the ranks to earn full-time contracts.

Six of those are forwards, Mike Sherry, Stephen Archer, Dave Foley, Ian Nagle, Peter O’Mahony and Paddy Butler, with the five backs, Conor Murray, Simon Zebo, Scott Deasy, Declan Cusack and Danny Barnes, joined by Ivan Dineen and Sean Scanlon who are on development contracts.

A number of Academy players were in attendance also as they will train with the senior squad for the duration of pre-season.

The Munster management have announced their squad for the 2011/12 campaign and while it does not include John Hayes, the 206-times capped prop, he is contracted until the end of the Rugby World Cup.

Meanwhile, the entire Munster squad was present in Warrington on Wednesday to attend the funeral service of their much-loved former head of strength & conditioning, Paul Darbyshire.

The Reverend Canon June Steventon conducted the service at St. Elphin’s Church which was attended by a 55-strong Munster contingent as well as Munster Branch President Denis Kelleher, and Ireland head coach Declan Kidney who appointed Darbyshire to his position four years ago.

Among the pall bearers were Ronan O’Gara, Paul McCarthy and Brian Carney, with O’Gara later delivering a eulogy as did Munster captain Paul O’Connell.

Barry Murphy gave a poignant rendition of ‘The Fields of Athenry’, joined in the chorus by his Munster colleagues.

MUNSTER 2011/12 Squad: Backs (19) – Felix Jones, Denis Hurley, Doug Howlett, Scott Deasy, Sean Scanlon, Ivan Dineen, Danny Barnes, Keith Earls, Johne Murphy, Lifeimi Mafi, Simon Zebo, Tom Gleeson, Ian Keatley, Ronan O’Gara, Declan Cusack, Tomas O’Leary, Conor Murray, Duncan Williams, Peter Stringer.

Forwards (26) – BJ Botha, Darragh Hurley, Stephen Archer, Marcus Horan, Wian du Preez, John Ryan, Jerry Flannery, Denis Fogarty, Damien Varley, Mike Sherry, Sean Henry, Peter Borlase, Mick O’Driscoll, Donncha O’Callaghan, Paul O’Connell, Dave Foley, Ian Nagle, Billy Holland, Donnacha Ryan, Paddy Butler, Denis Leamy, Niall Ronan, Tommy O’Donnell, Peter O’Mahony, David Wallace, James Coughlan.