JJ Hanrahan returning home to Munster after Northampton stint

Chris Farrell and James Hart also sign two-year deals with province

 JJ Hanrahan is to return to  Munster after two seasons with Northampton. Photograph: David Rogers/Getty Images

JJ Hanrahan is to return to Munster after two seasons with Northampton. Photograph: David Rogers/Getty Images

 

JJ Hanrahan, who has earned five caps with the Emerging Ireland side, is set to return to his home province Munster, with Chris Farrell and James Hart also on their way next season from France.

Munster also confirmed that Dave Kilcoyne, Niall Scannell, Rory Scannell, Tyler Bleyendaal, Duncan Williams and Darren Sweetnam have all signed contract extensions.

The incoming Irish trio of Hanrahan, Hart and Farrell have signed two-year contracts. Farrell will be returning from Top 14 side Grenoble and Hart from Racing 92, with Hanrahan making the return after two seasons with Premiership outfit Northampton Saints.

“I’ve always indicated our intention to recruit Irish-qualified players where and when possible so to secure the young trio of Farrell, Hanrahan and Hart is great for the province and Irish rugby in general,” said Munster director of rugby Rassie Erasmus.

“In addition to being hugely talented they bring a wealth of knowledge with their combined experiences from playing abroad and this will help with our overall squad development.”

Belfast-born Farrell (23) is a former Ireland Under 20s player and is in his third season with Grenoble, where he has made 70 appearances, while Hart has lined out 12 times for the Parisian club having moved from Grenoble in the summer. The scrumhalf came on as a replacement in Saturday’s Champions Cup encounter at Thomond Park.

Kerryman Hanrahan (24) returns to the province after two seasons with Northampton, where he has played at both centre and outhalf.

It has also been confirmed that 33-year-old Tomás O’Leary, who joined Top 14 side Montpellier on a short-term loan in October, will not be returning to the province.

“I’ve talked about maximising our potential, time and time again,” added Erasmus. “Retaining players such as Killer [Dave Kilcoyne], Niall, Rory, Tyler, Duncan and Sweets [Darren Sweetnam] is key to our long-term plans and they have all played an integral role in our success so far this season.

“Developing homegrown players is at the core of everything we do and it’s rewarding to see five players who have advanced from the Munster pathway commit their future to the club, while also recognising the efforts of Tyler who has overcome long-term injury to make his mark in the squad this season.”

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