REPORTS IN THE UK and New Zealand have linked Munster with a move for veteran hooker Andrew Hore.
The 35-year-old retired from All Blacks service following the completion of the recent end-of-year tour, in which he started the final game against Ireland in Dublin. It is believed that Munster are considering a move to bring the Dunedin native on board for the remainder of the season.
Mike Sherry’s season-ending cruciate ligament injury had left Munster looking short in the hooking department, although the energetic debut by Duncan Casey against Perpignan in round three of the Heineken Cup would have encouraged head coach Rob Penney. Indeed, the Kiwi was deliberate in praising the Shannon man after that lively cameo.
Following the reports of an approach for the 83-times capped Hore, Munster this afternoon underlined the words of Penney last week, when he claimed that the province has no interest in bringing new faces on board. Casey and Niall Scannell are both highly-rated within the provincial set-up.
“The two lads, Duncan Casey and Niall Scannell, have been working hard behind the scenes, and while they don’t have the experience as such they are very capable footballers,” said Penney.
Duncan has come through the club rugby system and Niall has been involved with the Irish U20s; cometh the hour cometh the man. We have got to thrust these guys into it now because that is where we are at.”
Hore has only recently stated that he wants to spend time on his family farm in New Zealand, as well as turning out for local club Maniototo in the Central Otago competition, but the lure of a short-term stint in European club rugby might be tempting, if that is what Munster are willing to offer.
Casey in action at Munster training. ©INPHO/James Crombie.
Meanwhile, Gerhard van den Heever and Andrew Conway returned to Munster training today following recovery from hand and knee injuries respectively.
Keith Earls didn’t train though, and will follow IRB ‘return to play’ protocols after sustaining a concussion in the closing minutes of last weekend’s dramatic win over Perpignan. Luke O’Dea had surgery on a broken thumb last weekend and has been ruled out for approximately eight weeks.
Simon Zebo is recovering well from a cracked bone in his left foot and has commenced rehabilitation running. The winger should return to training over the Christmas period.
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