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Ronan O'Gara uses Munster connection to sign up versatile back from former club

By Sam Smith
Darren Sweetnam will join La Rochelle. (Getty)

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Ronan O’Gara has struck a deal with former club Munster to sign versatile back Darren Sweetnam. The 27-year-old has requested an early release from his Munster contract and joins the French side as a medical joker for the remainder of the season.

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Sweetnam, who can play at fullback or on the wing, has represented Munster 92 times and scored 22 tries since making his debut in 2015.

However first team opportunities were becoming increasingly limited, with Sweetnam making just six starts for the province this season.

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He has also won three caps for Ireland and scored a try on debut against Fiji in 2017.

The news follows this morning’s announcement that Munster out-half JJ Hanrahan is also bound for France, having agreed a deal to join Clermont Auvergne.

Munster head coach Johann van Graan admitted both moves came as a result of the financial pince caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Van Graan said, “Like JJ, we were eager to retain the services of Darren beyond the current campaign, but it hasn’t been feasible.

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“He is a hugely talented player who has a chance to play in the premier French competition over the coming months and while we are disappointed to see him leave, we are supportive of the move with the hope of Darren securing future opportunities and success in his career.”

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