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Short-term signings possible as Munster await final Ireland World Cup squad

Former England out-half Charlie Hodgson is visiting the province as a guest kicking coach.

MUNSTER BOSS JOHANN van Graan says the province are waiting to learn which of their players make Ireland’s final 31-man World Cup squad before finalising any possible short-term signings.

denis-logan-speaks-to-the-team Munster trained in UL today. Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

With several Munster men set to be involved in Japan under Joe Schmidt, van Graan has been looking at solutions to strengthen his squad for the World Cup period.

Conor Murray, Keith Earls, Joey Carbery, Chris Farrell, Andrew Conway, Dave Kilcoyne, Niall Scannell, John Ryan, CJ Stander, Peter O’Mahony, Jean Kleyn, Tadhg Beirne and Tommy O’Donnell are all currently in the mix with Ireland, while Mike Haley and Rory Scannell were released after completing much of the pre-season with Schmidt’s squad.

As such, van Graan could be without many key players for the opening months of the season. Although he stressed that Munster’s academy players have been training well this summer, he is keeping his options open in terms of more experienced cover.

“We’re waiting on the final Irish squad, so that might be a possibility,” said van Graan today in Limerick. “We’ve been in constant conversation with Joe Schmidt and David Nucifora regarding World Cup cover, so we’re looking at one or two possibilities.

“A few guys got added to the World Cup squad, which is great for Munster. We had 15 guys in the extended squad, so the closer it gets to the final selection, we’ll make our decisions based on that.”

The only new addition from outside so far this summer has been scrum-half Nick McCarthy, who joined from Leinster.

nick-mccarthy Nick McCarthy is Munster's only outside addition so far this summer. Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

“It’s great to have Nick in,” said van Graan. “His excitement and work ethic is brilliant. He came in on the first day and ran one of the all-time best 1km tests. He wants to get settled in and fight for that number nine jersey.”

Munster trained in the University of Limerick today as their preparation for the new campaign continues, with ex-Sale Sharks, England, and Lions out-half Charlie Hodgson an interesting visitor.

Now a kicking coach, Hodgson has linked up with Munster this week to provide specialist guidance in an area of the game that van Graan sees as hugely important. With Richie Murphy busy in Ireland camp, he is currently unavailable to the provinces.

Van Graan said the province will continue to look at guest coaches coming in on a short-term basis, revealing that former Springboks scrum-half Fourie du Preez had visited in a similar capacity last season.

charlie-hodgson Charlie Hodgson is spending two days with the province. Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

“We bring in consultants continuously, so Charlie is just here for two days looking at some individuals. It’s similar to what we did last season with Fourie when we brought him in to help our nines.

“We will continuously look to add people and bring them in for a day or two. Charlie is in for today and tomorrow.

“We will bring in one or two more like that, on and off the field, because you can never learn enough. We’ll look at that as the season goes on.”

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Murray Kinsella

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