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Former All Black Saili wants to stay with Munster

The 26-year-old has played in all eight games since he made his return in the win over Leinster on St Stephen’s Day.

Francis Saili speaking at a Munster Rugby Press Conference recently.
Francis Saili speaking at a Munster Rugby Press Conference recently.
Image: Donall Farmer/INPHO

FORMER ALL BLACK Francis Saili says he wants to stay with Munster and is hoping to extend his two-year contract, which expires this summer.

Saili, who will be 26 next week, missed the opening four months of the season with a shoulder injury but has played in all eight games since he made his return in the win over Leinster on St Stephen’s Day.

But with South African Jaco Taute extending his stay until the summer at least, it remains to be seen if terms can be agreed to keep the twice-capped All Black with Munster.

“It’s a weekly thing for me but you know I’m honoured to stay here longer. Going back home, pre World Cup… when you have something quite good here you’re happy to stay here longer.

Whatever happens, happens but I’m just playing each week as it comes and putting my hand up and being able to play my best . That’s what I want to do.”

The former Auckland Blues star said the turnaround in Munster’s fortunes from his first season have been huge and he believes they are destined for a huge finish to the season as they go for glory on two fronts in the Pro12 and Champions Cup.

“I think this time last year I think we were seventh in the table but this year the table has turned for us and we’re very happy with it but we can’t be complacent in our next block of games as we have our internationals away and it’s a good chance for our young boys to step up and put their hand up.

I think everybody knows Rassie and Jacques are important, good coach feeling and a lot of positives around the place.

“The thing about them is, they don’t mind us making mistakes, whereas in the past a lot of us would be afraid to express ourselves within the system. So, they drive the culture with us being able to express ourselves within the system and not be afraid to make mistakes, because when we do come through reviews, if the team is there, they are happy with it.”

Saili has been thrilled to get back in action after being sidelined for four months, but he’s feeling fresh and looking forward to a big impact for the current Pro12 leaders and Champions Cup quarter-finalists.

It’s never easy being on the sideline, and see your team go well. You always want to be part of the team as well and be out there playing so it was a tough four months but I’m back in it now and it’s a blessing in disguise for me, I’m happy to be out there again with the boys.”

He is delighted to see young talent coming through, with the likes of winger Calvin Nash last weekend making his Munster debut and this weekend lining out for the Irish U20 side away to Italy.

Funnily enough, I asked the boys how old he was in the airport on the way back home from Edinburgh and they were saying he was only 19.

“I’ve been impressed with him in training, he’s rapid man, so I think there’s many more games to come from him, especially with this block of games coming up. I was impressed with him and he’s a good prospect coming through the ranks for Munster,” added Saili.

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