Munster grant O’Callaghan permission to join Worcester

The secondrow was previously contracted to play with Munster until June 2016

Munster have accepted a request from Donncha O’Callaghan to leave his contract early and join English Premier League side Worcester. Photo: Billy Stickland/INPHO

Munster have accepted a request from Donncha O’Callaghan to leave his contract early and join English Premier League side Worcester. Photo: Billy Stickland/INPHO

 

Munster have accepted a request by their most capped player Donncha O’Callaghan for an early release from his contract in order to play with English Premiership side Worcester.

The secondrow was contracted to play with Munster until June 2016 but the province and the IRFU have accepted the player’s request to leave and have supported O’Callaghan in his decision.

The 36-year-old, who has played 94 times for Ireland over an eleven year period, is in line to join Worcester on a two-year contract.

In becoming Munster’s most capped player in February 2014 against Zebre (241 appearances) O’Callaghan, for over a decade seen as the affable team prankster, represented the province on 268 occasions over 17 seasons.

He started this season featuring in all three of Munster’s pre-season games with his last appearance taking place on home soil in Cork last Friday against London Irish.

It is the same venue where the Cork-native made his Munster debut when lining out against Edinburgh Reivers in August 1998 at 19 years of age.

Second Captains

O’Callaghan has won two Heineken Cups, in 2006 and 2008, a Celtic League title in 2003 and two Magners League titles in 2009 and 2011. He also won a Celtic Cup in 2005.

At national level he played his role in Ireland’s three Triple Crown successes and played every minute of Ireland’s Grand Slam winning campaign in 2009. He has featured in three World Cups, represented the Lions on two series (2005 and 2009) and captained the side to victory over the Southern Kings in Port Elizabeth in 2009.

“It has been a huge decision for me to leave Munster, one that I have thought long and hard about. The opportunity to prolong my career is one that I couldn’t pass up and I’m extremely grateful to Munster, the IRFU and Worcester for providing me with this opportunity,” said O’Callaghan.

“Playing for both my home province and country has been a dream come true for me and my family, I have loved every moment of it. I leave with a full heart and unbelievable memories.

“I’m forever grateful to those in Munster and Irish Rugby that put the structures in place all the way up, and most importantly, the people that have influenced and shaped me not only as a player but as a person.

“My goal is the same now as it was when I was eight years of age, to play rugby, enjoy it and win. I look forward to earning the respect of the Worcester management, players and supporters.”

Munster Head Coach Anthony Foley, who played in the alongside O’Callaghan for many years thanked his former colleague for his commitment to the province.

“I had the honour of playing with Donncha for over a decade and have witnessed first-hand everything he has achieved with Munster and Ireland,” said Foley.

“A true Munster man in every sense, his passion and commitment were clear for all to see. He is held in the highest regard on the world stage after excelling at every level and we are thankful for his immense contribution to the province.”

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