Dougall will be playing in Pau next season. Billy Stickland/INPHO
Irish Abroad

Another Munster player will be joining James Coughlan in Pau, but Denis Hurley is staying put

Back row Paddy Butler’s exit was also confirmed today.

Updated 15.30

PAU HAVE CONFIRMED the signing of Munster back row Sean Dougall ahead of next season.

The openside flanker will join the French club on a two-year deal after spending three years with Munster. Dougall is a product of the Ulster academy and previously played in the English Championship with the Rotherham Titans.

The 25-year-old has started 27 games for Munster over the last three campaigns, including four in the Pro12 this season. However, it appears the competition for places in the back row within Anthony Foley’s squad has forced Dougall to look elsewhere.

That said, the former Ireland U19 and U20 international is joining a club on the rise. Pau, coached by ex-Munster backs coach Simon Mannix and with James Coughlan excelling, are leading the French Pro D2 and are favourites to win promotion into next season’s Top 14.

Munster also confirmed that Paddy Butler would leave at the end of the season and he could well be joining Coughlan and Dougall in Section Paloise.

“It is always disappointing to see guys leave,” Anthony Foley said today.

In professional sport you have to be ambitious, and players are eager to secure game time, but with the back row being such a competitive area within our squad it is an ongoing challenge to satisfy all parties.  We wish both players the very best of luck for the future, but before then they have a job to do here.”

Though 1964 was the French club’s most recent championship win, Pau have enjoyed increased funding in recent seasons and have ambitions of breaking into the Top 14 elite.

Mannix brought Coughlan with him to the southwestern club last summer, while also signing former Munster video analyst Elliot Corcoran. Dougall becomes the latest link between Pau and the southern province.

Coughlan has excelled in his first season in the French second tier, picking up favourable media reviews and featuring in a number of Midi Olympique‘s teams of the week. More importantly, he has quickly become a fan favourite at Stade du Hameau and a key cog in the promotion push.

Dougall will watch the remainder of Pau’s season with great interest, urging them towards the Top 14 ahead of his arrival.

There has also been some good news for the southern province, however. Centre Denis Hurley has committed his immediate future to Munster by signing a one-year contract extension.

“We are maintaining the services of a talented and experienced individual,” Foley said.

“Denis has always shown his leadership qualities and versatility, providing us with a number of options across the backline.”

- Originally published 12.30

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