Munster have announced eight-player contract extensions, including two-year deals for current Ireland Guinness Six Nations squad picks Craig Casey and Shane Daly. Brothers Niall and Rory Scannell, Jack O’Donoghue and Calvin Nash have also agreed on similar length contracts, while Liam Coombes and Alex McHenry have put pen to paper for one year.

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Casey, the uncapped 21-year-old scrum-half who was an unused replacement in Ireland’s defeat to France last Sunday, made the step-up to the Munster senior squad ahead of the 2019/20 season. Named 2018/19 academy player of the year, he has made 21 appearances for Johann van Graan’s side, scoring two tries.

Daly, meanwhile, made an Ireland Test debut off the bench in last November’s Autumn Nations Cup win over Georgia. He too made his Munster breakthrough in the 2019/20 season, going on to be named young player of the year. The full-back/winger has scored five tries in 24 appearances.

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Three other Ireland players have been retained – hooker Niall Scannell, who has 20 caps, brother Rory, who has three, and back row O’Donoghue, who has two. The recently turned 27-year-old became the first Waterford player to captain the province in the professional era when leading the side against Cardiff Blues in February 2018.

Commenting on his first contract news of the season, Munster boss van Graan said: “We are delighted to be in this position, confirming player contracts for the season ahead. 

“The calibre of this initial player group is a huge positive with the province retaining the services of experienced, quality players while also securing the futures of up-and-coming talent. It’s a further reward for the clubs, schools and volunteers that have invested time and effort into the development of these players.”

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Last-gasp winners at Benetton in their last Guinness PRO14 outing on January 30, Conference B leaders Munster return to action this Saturday following a three-week break with an away game at Edinburgh which will be followed by another away game six days later at Cardiff.

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