5 Next Generation Players To Reinvent Munster Rugby

Rory Scannell

Scannell is a young man who can really challenge the gainline whether playing at 10 or 12 and has impressed throughout the season with both the ‘A’ side and when thrown into the deep end with the seniors.

His distribution has allowed  Keatley inside him and Francis Saili outside, to express themselves with greater freedom than of that with Denis Hurley and some of his kicking play has furthermore shown promising character.

With scorching line breaks and creative sparks, we hope to see the youngster continue to start as a first-five-eight and grow into a unique player for club and country.

John Madigan

Hampered with injuries but packed with potential and at 6’7, immense physicality. Madigan got this season off with a bang as he ran riot over Bernard Jackman’s Grenoble in a Thomond Park friendly before being named in the starting team to take on Treviso in round one of the Pro 12.

Since then he has been kept quiet with injury, an unfortunate theme of his career so far but when fit, he is a bully of the breakdown and offers the men in red an individual that they have lacked when up against opposing packs in Europe so often in recent seasons – indeed, the new breed of second row, the Vaahaamina, the Manoa, the Gray.

In a time when Irish second rows are few and far between, we need this guy.

Bill Johnston

The most promising of all at just 18 years of age. Johnston was a surprise star in Munster’s pre-season this year, featuring and impressing in each game. Although he has oddly not been given a chance to express himself in the first fifteen since, his ‘A’ performances of late have been equally as exquisite as his debut games, with even the odd whisper for him to step in for Ian Keatley being spread around as a result.

Before picking up an injury for Ireland U20s last week, he boasted of a 6/7 kick success against Ospreys PS for the A’s in December. However,  those who took the chance to watch him in action live on S4C that night, were furthermore impressed by his attitude in open play, calling the shots and orchestrating the play with sweet passes or sublime kicks in behind.

If he can act like this when handed senior opportunities in red then we can’t see what will stand in his way of going all the way to the top.

Stephen Fitzgerald

Enjoyed first team exposure through Autumn, shining through the Ospreys match in the Liberty particularly before Amorosino arrived, proving an obstacle for the Ardscoil Ris man.

He plays the game off the cuff with intelligence but his natural ability to dodge past hopeless defenders is forever at the fore when he’s on his day.

Felix Jones’ retirement and potential departures of Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino upon his 3 month contract and Simon Zebo would mean that first team exposure is highly unlikely to be an issue in the future, hopefully meaning that he will have numerous chances to shine as he did with the Irish U20s last season.

Jack O’Donoghue

He may be as young as the others but O’Donoghue’s already an established first team regular at the age of 21 and it wouldn’t surprise many to see him have some involvement in Carlton House over the next couple of months either.

The UL Bohs backrow is an immaculate product of the Munster academy and proved to be a fine asset of Anthony Foley’s arsenal in 2015. With injuries to Peter O’Mahony and Tommy O’Donnell he was forced to cover at openside in each game this season which has not suited him ideally but now being swapped to blindside and eight against Ulster, we were cast a timely reminder of how excellent he can be in the tackle and when offering support play whenever he’s not breaking tackles himself.

A big future is surely now ahead of the Waterford born powerhouse with all early signs from captaining Ireland U20s, UL Bohs and Munster A to dominating provincial interpros suggesting he’s more than a little bit special.


The Next Munster Team to Legitimately Win A European Cup:

01) James Cronin 

02) Duncan Casey 

03) John Ryan 

04) Dave Foley 

05) John Madigan 

06) Jack O’Donoghue 

07) Peter O’Mahony

08) CJ Stander

09) Conor Murray 

10) Bill Johnston 

11) Simon Zebo 

12) Rory Scannell 

13) Keith Earls

14) Andrew Conway 

15) Stephen Fitzgerald

Replacemnts: Scannell, Kilcoyne, Burke, McCarthy, O’Donnell; Poland, Quinlan, Wooton

That is all.

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