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Munster close in on Irish tighthead Andress ahead of next season

The 32-year-old has spent the vast majority of his professional career in England.

MUNSTER ARE SET to sign Irish tighthead prop John Andress from Edinburgh ahead of next season.

Andress has Ireland caps at U21 and A levels, and spent the majority of his career in England before a move to join Guinness Pro12 side Edinburgh on a two-year contract in 2014.

John Andress on the attack Andress carries ball for Edinburgh against the Dragons last season. Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

Andress – who turned 32 last week – came through the age-grade ranks in his native Ulster but departed to England to join Exeter, then a Championship side, in 2007.

He spent two years with Harlequins from 2009 until 2011, playing Premiership and Heineken Cup rugby, before returning to Exeter for the 2011/12 season.

Thereafter, the former Campbell College student signed for Worcester Warriors, amassing 46 appearances over the course of two years before his transfer to Alan Solomons’ Edinburgh.

Ex-Belfast Harlequins man Andress has made eight starts at tighthead prop for the Scottish club this season, and has had appearances against all four of the Irish provinces in the Pro12.

Connacht are understood to have made an approach to Andress after losing Rodney Ah You to Ulster, but it appears Munster have convinced the 32-year-old to relocate to Limerick next season.

With BJ Botha departing Munster this summer and Uruguayan Mario Sagario also out of contract at the season’s end, the southern province have been on the lookout for tightheads.

Rugby Union - Heineken Cup - Pool 5 - Harlequins v Sale Sharks - Twickenham Stoop Andress previously spent two seasons with Harlequins. Source: Joe Giddens

Stephen Archer will be back from his long-term neck injury next season, while John Ryan – who plays loosehead too – recently signed a new three-year contract with the province.

Munster have also looked at a number of possible project players in the position and there remains scope to add another tighthead ahead of the 2016/17 campaign.

It’s understood the IRFU are reluctant to allow a high-profile and expensive NIQ player to be recruited at tighthead, as they look to ensure Irish-qualified props continue to be given game time.

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Murray Kinsella

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