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Wednesday 1 February 2023 Dublin: 8°C
Ben Brady/INPHO Munster's John Ryan at training.
# Second Coming
John Ryan looks set to close in on 200 Munster appearances after returning from Wasps
The 34-year-old is in contention to play against Ulster as he edges closer to the milestone.

JOHN RYAN LOOKS set to taking a step closer to becoming the third player in the current Munster squad to make 200 appearances for them with the 34-year old being cleared to play against Ulster after rejoining his native province this week from Wasps.

Ryan, who was let go by Munster at the end of last season having played 197 times for them, is in contention to play against Ulster on Saturday after agreeing a short-term contract after all the Wasps squad and coaches were made redundant following the financial crisis at the Premiership club.

Munster attack coach Mike Prendergast said that Ryan, signed on a three-month deal, rocked up to training on Monday and could be thrown in at the deep end on Saturday.

“Yeah, he’s definitely keen. He came in yesterday with a big smile on his face so he’s available to play and we will have to see how we go through the week. We will see with our other props where we are at in terms of game-time etc. but he is available for the weekend.”

Another tighthead Stephen Archer (252 appearances) and Dave Kilcoyne (206) are the only players in the current squad to hit the 200 mark for Munster, with Keith Earls (194) the only one other than Ryan likely to do it this season.

Centre Oli Morris, signed as a free agent following Worcester Warriors’ financial plight, will be on loan until the end of the season, while winger Calvin Nash and locks Tom Ahern and Fineen Wycherley have penned two-year contract extensions.

“The boys signing on is great news as it gives you continuity obviously and then we have brought in the two boys as well to reinforce what we have there,” added Prendergast. “We have a number of injuries at the moment and there are areas we needed to strengthen up. So, it is all good news, positive news going forward.”

Prendergast said there had been encouraging signs in recent weeks that they were recovering from their poor start and they know the importance of finishing this block of seven games with a third win.

“We are at home, which is great. We saw it in the Bulls game with the crowd when we gave them something to connect with and what they brought, so going back to Thomond Park again on Saturday is something we are looking forward to.

“Last weekend we played the best team in the URC and this weekend we are playing the second best team in the URC who have started the season really, really well so we know it’s going to be a huge task and a huge job ahead of us.”

One of the bright notes has been the displays of Jack Crowley and Prendergast said there is a lot more to come from him, whether at full-back or out-half.

“Jack has been great for us. I recognised it the minute I came in the door and obviously he went on the Emerging Ireland tour and had a very good tour, both as a player and the stuff you mightn’t see but we would see it around here in terms of how he leads, speaks very well, has good leadership qualities and obviously can play in multiple positions.

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“The biggest thing for me from an attack point of view is that he is a player who connects incredibly well and you could see that at the weekend, he was comfortable with ball in hand.

“He’s a player who has really stood up over the last few weeks and players have followed with him and it’s a good sign going forward,” he added.

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