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IRFU block Munster's move to sign Australia captain Stephen Moore

The southern province were close to finalising a deal with the 102-times capped Australian.

THE IRFU HAS blocked Munster’s move to sign Australia captain Stephen Moore.

The42 understands the southern province had been close to finalising terms with the 102-times capped Wallaby for a transfer following the 2016 Super Rugby season, but the IRFU have vetoed the deal.

AustraliaÕs Stephen Moore Moore was close to finalising a deal with Munster. Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

32-year-old Moore, currently contracted to the Brumbies in Australia, was extremely receptive to Munster’s advances and is understood to have been ready to sign off on his move to Ireland before the IRFU blocked the deal.

IRFU performance director David Nucifora must copper fasten every professional contract involving players and coaches in this country and was not ready to do so in this case.

Moore’s parents are Irish and he spent the first few years of his life living in Tuam, before the family shifted to Queensland in Australia when he was five. The Wallabies captain’s cousin is Paddy O’Rourke, who plays football with Meath and was a goalkeeper for Ireland in the 2013 and 2014 International Rules series.

The IRFU themselves made a move to lure Moore back to Ireland when he was first making a name for himself in Brisbane rugby as a 19-year-old, but the hooker opted to remain in Australia.

He captained Michael Cheika’s Wallabies to the World Cup final last month.

Having made a play to bring Moore to Ireland in his youth, it is now the IRFU who are blocking his potential return. As recently as 2013, Moore himself stated that he “would love” to play in Ireland at some point.

Munster are frustrated by the IRFU’s lack of willingness to allow a deal to be completed for a player they felt would have added greatly to their ability to remain competitive in the Champions Cup next season.

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AustraliaÕs Stephen Moore Moore captained the Wallabies in last month's World Cup final. Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

It is understood that the IRFU’s main reluctance centred around the fact that Moore, who turns 33 in January but remains in superb condition, would have denied homegrown Irish-qualified players game time.

Munster currently have Mike Sherry, Duncan Casey, Niall Scannell and Kevin O’Byrne as hooking options in their senior squad.

The42 understands that Munster also made moves to bring in an openside flanker from abroad ahead of next season, but that the IRFU also blocked any such intention. The southern province are now believed to be targeting Leinster’s Dominic Ryan.

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Murray Kinsella

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