Former Ireland international Ian Keatley is finished at Benetton, the Italian PRO14 club leaving him out of the team since early December and now deciding to bring to an early conclusion what was supposed to be a two-year deal. The out-half joined the Italians in 2019 from Munster via a pit-stop with London Irish while they were chasing promotion from the Championship back into the Gallagher Premiership.
He went on to make 19 appearances for the club but hasn’t featured since a December 4 defeat at Connacht, that loss being one of nine in Benetton’s hapless PRO14 campaign which sees them rooted to the bottom of Conference B less than two years after they came within a late penalty whisker of beating Munster in a quarter-final play-off in Limerick.
La Tribuna di Treviso have reported that the club have now ‘divorced’ from Kealey who hasn’t been training with a squad whose season got worse in recent weeks with back-to-back derby defeats to country rivals Zebre.
A report read: “It thundered so much that it rained. The unprecedented crisis of Benetton and the disastrous PRO14, winless in nine matches and with only four skimpy bonus points, has produced the first shock: Ian Keatley, the former Munster/Ireland out-half, is no longer part of the squad.
“He has not trained for days, having reached an agreement with the club for the early termination of the contract. His performance was deemed ‘inadequate’ by the club… and there was talk of a finished feeling between the player and head coach (Kieran) Crowley.
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) March 3, 2019
“Called to Treviso to act as a guide to the younger players, and especially in times of difficulty, Keatley has never given the impression that he could be the player with such characteristics. Everything this season has been very bad for him, hence the decision of the cut.”
Capped seven times by Ireland, the last appearance coming in a November 2017 win over Fiji, Keatley turns 34 in April and could potentially be a target of Glasgow who have been chasing an out-half and reportedly expressed an interest in Ben Healey, the 21-year-old who has made the breakthrough at Munster this season.
Rob Kearney has spent his entire club life at Irish outfit Leinster, but the star fullback jumped at the chance to experience something new when the Force came knocking in August. #SuperRugby https://t.co/HCPWJSIj9H
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) January 12, 2021
Sign up to our mailing list for a weekly digest from the wide world of rugby.Sign Up Now