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'I still love the game, love training, learning, competing': Mathewson intent on leaving Munster on a high

The All Black’s long run of short-term contracts looks set to end this month.

Mathewson speaking at UL this week.
Mathewson speaking at UL this week.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Updated Nov 8th 2019, 8:30 AM

FORMER ALL BLACK Alby Mathewson is determined to leave Munster on a high as his contract expires later this month.

The Kiwi was brought in at the start of last season on a short-term deal to provide cover for the injured Conor Murray. But while the contract was extended a couple of times, his term with the Reds will end on November 23.

The 33-year old is determined to go out on a high, starting with their home clash against Ulster tomorrow and also the start of the Heineken Champions Cup, with Johann van Graan including him in the squad for Europe ahead of promising Irish U20 Craig Casey.

Mathewson has experienced rugby in New Zealand, England and France and is excited about linking up the Irish players who are returning to Munster from World Cup duty.

“It was a different dynamic with the internationals being away,” said Mathewson.

“Everything is different now, from the terminology even from Munster last year it has changed.

“They’re coming off their Irish terminology, different styles of play also, but we have had a pretty good week getting some clarity with new plays and getting them up to speed.

“After that, it was a little more full-on and they’re smart enough to pick it all up even if it is going to take a bit of time.  

It’s a southern hemisphere style. We put in a lot of work in pre-season to get to play like this.

“It could look a bit loose to the untrained eye but it’s the way we have trained throughout the pre-season.

“It’s nice to see what you’ve done and been able to put it into practice in matches.”

The former All Black joined Munster from Toulon last season. Mathewson played four Test matches for New Zealand and since his arrival at Munster he has scored six tries in 25 appearances, including his double in last weekend’s victory over Cardiff Blues at the Cardiff Arms Park.

Before he turns 34 next month his current contract will be up, but Mathewson is desperate to impress and extend his playing career.

“I don’t want to stop playing for the foreseeable future,” said Mathewson.

“I can contribute wherever I am, England, France, wherever. I still love the game, love training, learning, competing. I see my future in the northern hemisphere unless Japan came calling.

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alby-mathewson Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

“I am really enjoying playing with the boys. I’m living in the here and now and enjoying the brand of rugby that we’re playing.  

“Ulster in the interpros, they’re the kind of games you look forward to. We beat them last year at Thomond and lost to them away so things are pretty even.  

“We both have lost to the Cheetahs away but it’s still two teams playing well and it should be a good game.”

We thought there might be a post-World Cup comedown, but then Saracens went and Saracened. Andy Dunne joins Sean Farrell and Gavan Casey as the pod segues from the international to club season.

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Daragh Small

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