Two Munster players set for switch to Connacht next season

Two Munster players set for switch to Connacht next season
Sam Arnold of Munster is tackled by Cai Evans during the Heineken Champions Cup clash back in January at Thomond Park. Picture: Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile

WHILE no action has been allowed to take place on training pitches there seems to be plenty of action off the pitch with the movement of players being announced.

Munster are to lose two more of their young players to Connacht as Sammy Arnold and Conor Oliver looking likely to follow in Stephen Fitzgerald’s footsteps and join Andy Friend in Connacht.

Neither Arnold or Oliver have seen much game time over the last year or so because of injuries and with a world class lock and midfield coming to Munster for next season, the pair’s chances of seeing more game time looked limited.

Injury has been particularly cruel to 24-year-old Arnold was capped by Ireland under Joe Schmidt in 2018 against the US but has since struggled to get consistent game time in Munster recently due to injuries and selection decisions.

His style will certainly sit in well with Friend’s philosophy on the game.

With Connacht losing starting openside flanker Colby Fainga’a to Lyon this summer, Oliver will hope to make an impact with the switch of province.

The different rugby unions and competition organisers have also been making the headlines with the EPCR, the organisation in charge of the professional club game in Europe insisting that this year’s Champions Cup will be finished before the end of the year.

With the Irish government erring on the side of caution and not allowing rugby back on the calendar until phase five of the easing of Coronavirus restrictions, early in August.

Fans and players will be keeping their fingers crossed that the Irish provinces will be allowed to return to action in the sport from 10 August, in what will be an interpro series behind closed doors although that scenario remains highly uncertain.

The players will be keen to get back to action with all of the professional players and IRFU staff currently on a pay deferral scheme of between 10 and 50%, with the biggest earners taking the heftiest hit.

Australia are the worst hit of the southern hemisphere nations and need as many of the international games to go ahead as possible so they are not keen on either seeing the summer Tests or the Test in the November in Dublin being cancelled.

In other news World Rugby has tweaked the laws of the game to ensure that it’s no longer possible to score a try by grounding the ball against the post protectors but that will now no longer count as a score when professional rugby action returns.

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