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Nomadic scrum-half Mathewson keen on long-term Munster stay

After turning 33 this week, Alby Mathewson is looking for a long-term deal for both personal and professional reasons.

Alby Mathewson in action against Castres at Thomond Park.
Alby Mathewson in action against Castres at Thomond Park.
Image: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

AFTER LIVING IN five countries in the last two years Munster scrum-half Alby Mathewson is eager to find a long term home.

His initial four-month contract with Munster has been extended until the end of March, but after playing a big part in Munster’s season to date he is desperate to be signed up until the end of the season at least.

The ex-Toulon nine says he has found the time away from his Australia-based family tough, and whether he signs a long-term deal in Munster, Ireland, Europe or back home in New Zealand, the former All Black has had his fill of wandering.

“I have loved it so far,” said Mathewson. “Obviously, I am here until March at the moment and when that time comes around we will see what happens.

“I would like to stay because I was here from the start of the season and once it gets to March there is only two months left,” added the recently-turned 33-year-old.

“It is obviously not up to me, really, but just take it as it is at the moment, see what happens in the future.

Long-term [staying with Munster] would be ideal. It has been tough the last two years for me. I have lived in five countries the last two years, just as I said picking up contracts here and there.

“It is tough on my family. My oldest son is eight, he has been to five different schools in the last two years. This is probably the toughest period, I have never been away from him for this long and obviously over Christmas it makes it even tougher. But I sort of said to him that it is not forever, just for myself and for them, a long-term [contract] is the plan.”

Alby Mathewson receives the man of the match medal from Ken O'Callaghan Mathewson is awarded man of the match against Glasgow in the Pro14. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

It was Conor Murray’s neck injury that prompted Munster to delve into the free agent market, and at the end of August Johann van Graan managed to secure Mathewson’s signature. His late arrival meant he had no pre-season to rely on and a delay in his work permit meant he didn’t debut until the end of September against Ulster, but he was well used to being ready at short notice.

“It is always tough because obviously I finished with Toulon and I had three months off doing nothing, because I didn’t have a contract, so I got a phone call to come over and I was happy to come over.

“I put a lot of emphasis on the mental side of the game, just backing myself. Obviously, you haven’t played, you’re worried about rustiness, but I do the homework, do that sort of stuff and I back myself to be able to just come into the team.

“I have had to do this the last three years. I went to Bristol after the Western Force on a short-term contract and had to go straight in, learn the plays and play. The same with Toulon, but I put a big emphasis on my preparation and all the little things.”

It is expected that Mathewson will be handed his fifth Munster start against Ulster in Belfast this weekend and he is ready to make another big impact against the northern province. A quarter-back style lineout throw 11 minutes into his debut certainly caught the eye, and he has continued to shine for Munster since, but he thinks it will be a tougher ask this time around.

“We had a really good day in Thomond Park when everything went well. Ulster have obviously improved a lot since then with two good wins over the last couple of weeks against Scarlets who are a quality team.

“They have many good players across the board and play an attacking brand. I remember Dwayne Peel from my time at Bristol and he is a very good attacking coach. And being away, it’s going to be a lot tougher.”

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Declan Rooney

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