Munster backrow James Coughlan to join Pau
Province agree to Corkman’s request to cancel contract a year early
James Coughlan will leave Munster a year early to join French side Pau. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho
Munster have accepted the player’s request and the the 33-year-old Corkman will leave the province at the end of June for French second division side Pau.
Coughlan made 139 appearances for the province, scoring 13 tries after a late arrival to the professional game at the age of 26.The Dolphin player was awarded the Munster player of the year in 2011.
Munster have added to their backrow options for next season with the signing of Cardiff Blues’ Irish international No 8 Robin Copeland.
“This was a difficult decision for me to make,” admitted Coughlan. “I was presented with an opportunity that I had to take for myself and my young family as we plan for our future. I want to thank Garrett (Fitzgerald) and the Professional Game Committee for their support in facilitating my request to leave the province.
“Playing for Munster has been a dream come true. I never thought I would have achieved what I have and the whole experience has been life-changing.
“I am so thankful for my career and the incredible support I have received along the way. It is with the heaviest of hearts that I am leaving but an amazing challenge awaits me and my family.
“My wife Katri and children Finn, Aoibhinn and Elsie have been an incredible support and we are really looking forward to the next chapter of our lives.
“I want to wish the Munster Rugby squad, staff and supporters all the success for the future and the five of us will continue to cheer you on!”
Commenting on Coughlan’s departure Munster chief executive Garrett Fitzgerald said: “James is an honest and committed player with a terrific work-rate, and he has delivered over and over again for Munster.
“He is an example to all aspiring players – dedication and hard-work at club level secured his fate as he broke into professional rugby and excelled as a player, something we are extremely thankful for.
“It is hard for us to release such a valuable asset but we fully support James and his family and wish them all the best with their move.”