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Munster secure BJ Botha until after World Cup on new six-month contract

The province have also announced deals for Niall Scannell and Kevin O’Byrne.

Botha lost his jersey during December's win over Leinster.
Botha lost his jersey during December's win over Leinster.
Image: Billy Stickland/INPHO

MUNSTER HAVE ANNOUNCED that tighthead prop BJ Botha has signed a new six-month deal with the province.

The 35-year-old South African’s contract was set to expire at the end of the current season, but Munster and the IRFU have negotiated to extend Botha’s stay until December 2015.

Head coach Anthony Foley indicated that the former Ulster prop’s presence will be important for Munster during the World Cup period, although it remains to be seen if Stephen Archer is called away on Ireland duty in September and October.

“BJ’s contract is up at the end of this season but after working closely with the IRFU we have thankfully secured the services of a player of his calibre for a further six months,” said Foley.

He brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to the scrum and front row and it is a huge boost to the squad to have him available during the World Cup window when our squad numbers will be reduced.”

Botha has started 15 games for Munster this season, including five in the pool stages of the Champions Cup.

Meanwhile, hooker Niall Scannell has signed a new two-year deal with the province, advancing from development status onto a full senior contract. A former Ireland U20 captain, the 24-year-old had made six appearances for Munster in his career so far.

Kevin O’Byrne of UL Bohemians, also a hooker, has penned a new one-year development contract with Munster, having joined on a training contract at the start of the current campaign.

Niall Scannell Scannell has signed on for two more years at Munster. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

“This season alone has shown us how critical it is to have a number of options available at hooker,” said Foley. “Out of a possible six hookers we had two, max three, available for most of the season through various injuries.

“With [Damien] Varley’s retirement confirmed and Mike Sherry out since November 2013, it’s great to see these young players, both Kevin and Niall, taking their opportunities and committing their futures to the province.”

Munster also confirmed that 28-year-old prop Alan Cotter will leave the squad at the end of the season to join French side Pays d’Aix Rugby Club.

PARC are currently leading their Fédérale 1 pool and will compete strongly for promotion into the Pro D2 for next season. Cotter has previously spent loan stints at London Irish and Bath.

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Murray Kinsella

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