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18th Oct 2018

Nick McCarthy to join Munster next season as understudy to Conor Murray

Michael Corry

mccarthy munster

Scrum half Nick McCarthy is to join Munster next season on a two year deal.

Leinster stormed their way to a European and Domestic double last season, and McCarthy featured prominently throughout the campaign, making three starting appearances and coming of the bench 18 times.

The scrum half has made 30 appearances in total and scored three tries. The former Ireland u20 player also made 18 appearances, over two Six Nations and World Championship campaigns.

mccarthy munster

As first reported by The Irish Times, it is thought the move is being prompted by Jamison Gibson Park becoming Irish qualified in 2019.

The 23-year-old will follow in the footsteps of Joey Carbery and Andrew Conway by leaving Dublin in order to further their playing time.

The proposed move, it would appear has been prompted by the IRFU and is keeping in line with their policy on spreading out underused talent across the four provinces.

A policy that has worked out well for other scrum halves, including John Cooney who is currently thriving at Ulster.

mccarthy munster

With Jamison Gibson Park set to become Irish qualified next year, it means that Leo Cullen potentially has five Irish qualified scrum halves, meaning someone has to move on, and that someone looks to be McCarthy.

Gibson Park is clearly Leinster’s second choice ‘nine’ behind Luke McGrath who has been playing his best rugby to date over the past year or so.

mccarthy munster

However, McCarthy’s move to Limerick will also pose some difficult scenarios for Johann van Graan. All Black, Alby Mathewson signed a three month deal with Munster and has been deputising for the injured Conor Murray.

In his absence, Duncan Williams produced the performance of his career last week in their unexpected draw with Exeter. The 32-year-old was invaluable to Munster and ended up making a try saving tackle that helped secure the spoils.

mccarthy munster

Neil Cronin joined the red men’s ranks from Garryowen, and came into the European side after Mathewson’s injury.

Munster also have 27-year-old James Hart. However, he has failed to establish himself following his move from Racing 92 last year.

It’s clear we are not short of scrum halves in Ireland as Leinster could boast five qualified Irish guys next year, whilst Munster already have four.

mccarthy munster

However, none compare to our first choice ‘nine’, Conor Murray, who recently signed a new contract with the IRFU that will see him stay at Munster through to 2022.

It is still amazing to see the potential around Ireland when it comes to one particular position.

mccarthy munster

Luke McGrath (Leinster), Kieran Marmion (Connacht), John Cooney (Ulster), Jamison Gibson Park (Leinster) all look like they could make the breakthrough at international level.

However, no scrum half in the world is performing to the level of Conor Murray. So, as long as the Munster man is around, the rest will be fighting it out to be his understudy, both at provincial and national level.

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