Van Graan backs Haley for Ireland honours after finding his feet at Munster

The 24-year-old has been in impressive form for the province in recent times.

Haley scored Munster's third try against Ospreys last week.
Haley scored Munster's third try against Ospreys last week.
Image: Alex Davidson/INPHO

MUNSTER HEAD COACH Johann van Graan believes it’s just a matter of time before fullback Mike Haley gets his first Ireland cap.

The 24-year-old arrived from Sale Sharks in the summer to fill the void left behind by Simon Zebo’s departure to Racing 92 in France.

The Preston native, who is Irish qualified through his Kerry grandmother Vivien, has already played 18 times for Munster.

“He has found his feet over the past few weeks,” said van Graan.

“He came from England, he came in step by step. We said: ‘listen, don’t look for anything special, just do your job,’ and I think he has done it really well over the course of the season.

“He is delivering special moments, the last three weeks he was really good, safe under the high ball, making good decisions from the back, running some good lines.

“He has been with the national team at all their camps, so I am sure at some stage when he earns it, he will be picked, that is in the future.

“The only thing that we want is for him to perform at Munster at this stage, but really happy with his form.”

Munster are top of the Pro14 Conference A before they make the trip to Scarlets on Saturday [KO 5pm, TG4/eir Sport/Premier Sports].

Mike Haley The fullback in training this week. Source: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

And van Graan says he is thrilled to have the contracts of scrum-half Alby Mathewson and out-half Tyler Bleyendaal extended, as they push for their first silverware since they won the league in 2011.

“It is great to have the players staying with us at Munster. If players stay it means that they are happy and they believe in what we are doing,” he continued.

“Alby has been very good this whole season for us. He is a key part in our season. It is pretty important that you get balance in your squad and that is why Neil Cronin started the last two games, to also give him that opportunity to develop.

“Tyler is a key part of our squad and he is such an experienced guy, especially at this part of the season you need experience to carry you through and he and Billy Holland have done an exceptional job in doing that.

“Great teams have great depth and you need depth in this competition.”

Bernard Jackman joins Murray Kinsella and Gavan Casey to discuss the backlash to World Rugby’s league proposal, captaincy styles, sports psychology and more in The42 Rugby Weekly.

Source: The42 Rugby Weekly/SoundCloud

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