MUNSTER HAVE CONFIRMED that Doug Howlett will captain the side for the upcoming season, replacing Paul O’Connell in the role.
The 33-year-old Howlett becomes only the second overseas player to captain the province, and is also the first back to lead the squad in the professional era.
Howlett, a former All Black, has played 94 competitive matches for Munster since making his debut against Clermont Auvergne in January 2008, and is the squad’s leading try scorer with 32.
O’Connell, captain since 2006/2007, said: “I’ve been squad captain for six seasons and just felt it was time to step back and let someone else assume the role.
“I thought the timing was right with the new coaching structure and I think we’re unbelievably fortunate to have a player of Doug’s calibre to step in. He brings a wealth of experience and an exemplary work ethic to the job that can only benefit Munster Rugby in the season ahead.”
Howlett himself described the honour as one of “the biggest of my career.”
“I know I’ve got big boots to fill following Paul, Axel, Mick Galwey and Jim Williams. And I’m also aware of the number of leaders in this squad, people well capable of doing this job and that makes my appointment all the more worthy and humbling.”