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Munster set to sign Irish-qualified fullback Mike Haley from Sale Sharks

It’s understood that the IRFU’s IQ Rugby branch has played a central role in the move.

MUNSTER ARE SET to complete the signing of Mike Haley from Sale Sharks ahead of next season.

Northampton Saints v Sale Sharks - Aviva Premiership - Franklin's Gardens Haley has been impressive for Sale in recent seasons. Source: PA Archive/PA Images

The southern province have been looking to bring in a fullback since confirmation of Simon Zebo’s impending departure to Racing 92 and it appears that Haley is the solution.

The move was first reported by The Rugby Paper in the UK last weekend and The42 has since confirmed the story with sources close to Munster.

Haley still has a year left on his current Sale contract, meaning Munster and the IRFU may have to pay a fee for the fullback unless a mutual agreement for an early release can be reached.

The 23-year-old played for the England Saxons twice in 2016 but remains Irish-qualified due to those games having come against South Africa ‘A’ – who are not their union’s official second team.

As such, Haley – who also represented an ‘England XV’ in a non-capped match against the Barbarians last summer – remains eligible for Ireland thanks to family roots in Limerick.

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Mike Haley Haley is set to compete for Munster's 15 shirt next season. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

The42 understands that the IRFU’s IQ Rugby programme, run by Joe Lydon, has played a central role in Munster’s capture of Haley, with his Irish-qualified status making him attractive as Irish rugby looks to continue to grow its depth.

Irish-qualified prop Ciaran Parker joined Munster from Sale last summer, while former Sharks scrum-half James Mitchell moved to Connacht at the start of this season.

Haley made his senior Sale debut in April 2014 and has gone on to become an impressive presence in the 15 shirt in recent seasons – including a start against Munster in the Champions Cup back in 2014.

It now seems that Haley’s future at club and perhaps international level lies in Ireland.

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Murray Kinsella

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