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Munster bring in Irish-qualified Antoine Frisch from Bristol

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Tony Marshall/Getty Images)

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Bristol have confirmed that French midfielder Antoine Frisch will leave at the end of the current Gallagher Premiership season and will play next season for Munster in the URC. The centre was touted as one of the players set to leave Ashton Gate when reports emerged about an alleged accounting gaffe regarding the Premiership salary cap for the 2022/23 season.

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That March revelation coincided with the news that ex-England lock Dave Attwood was on his way back to Bath for next season, and it has now emerged that Frisch will indeed also be exiting Bristol having made twelve appearances so far this season following his recruitment from Roeun in the French Pro D2 league. 

The 25-year-old previously had lower league stints in France with Tarbes and Massy and having spent the current season operating as the only French player in the Premiership, he will now take his talent to Ireland where newly promoted head coach Graham Rowntree is finalising preparations for next season. 

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Frisch is Irish-qualified through his maternal grandmother, who hails from Dublin, and he will join Munster on a three-year deal. Bristol director of rugby Pat Lam said: “When Antoine joined us from the Pro D2, it’s fair to say he had a lot of room to learn and develop his game. He has worked hard and has shown real promise in his performances, particularly in the second half of the season.

“Because he is Irish-qualified, that has attracted the interest of the Irish rugby union and we are pleased he has been offered a good opportunity with Munster to chase his international dream. We thank Antoine for his contribution to the club and wish him the very best for the next chapter in Ireland.”

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The confirmation that Frisch is leaving England for Ireland came on a busy afternoon at Bristol who confirmed that Semi Radradra is set to undergo knee surgery for the second time in six months, bringing a premature end to his 2021/22 season with the Premiership club. It was October when the Fijian midfielder was initially sidelined with a knee injury that required an operation and that put the start of his season on hold. 

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It was originally described as a potential four-month layoff but the setback only kept him out until the start of December. However, it has now been revealed by Bristol that Radradra will have a procedure on his other knee this week and won’t be involved again until the start of the 2022/23 campaign.  

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