World news – Münster confirms that Covid Crunch has led to players leaving

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Münster head coach Johann van Graan saw JJ Hanrahan and Darren Sweetnam sign contracts with French clubs. Photo by Matt Browne / Sportsfile

Ruaidhri O’Connor Twitter

Münster’s coach Johann van Graan has admitted that due to the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic, he was unable to make new offers to JJ Hanrahan or Darren Sweetnam beyond the end of the season.

Both players have traveled to France as a result. Half of Hanrahan moved to Clermont Auvergne in the summer to sign a one-year deal with the option of a second and former Irish winger Sweetnam to join Ronan O’Gara at La Rochelle for the remainder of this season where he will be given the opportunity to to show his goods as health insurance.

« JJ is a fantastic player and a great servant of Munster rugby, » said van Graan.

« We have said from the start that we want to keep all of our players, but unfortunately the harsh realities of the events of the past year have come to a head.  »

« Due to the challenges posed by the Covid landscape, we are unable to detain a player of JJ’s caliber and we are sorry to see him go. »

« Though He has a fantastic opportunity ahead of us, we still have a job to do here and we look forward to JJ ending his time in the red jersey successfully.

« Like JJ, we have been eager to keep Darren’s services up to date Keeping the campaign out but it wasn’t feasible.

« He is an extremely talented player who has the chance to play in the first French competition in the coming months. Although we are disappointed to see him leave, we support it this step with the hope that Darren can secure his future chances and successes. « 

Although he was disappointed to have to leave Münster, Hanrahan is happy to join forces with such a strong club.

 » It was difficult to get the message ten to hear about my future at Munster Rugby. However, it was a dream come true and a privilege to represent my home province and to wear the jersey for eight years, « he said.

 » I have lifelong friends from this club and am very proud of the people in Münster and especially to represent the people of Kerry.

« I also believe that in Clermont I am going to a club with very similar traditions and values, and this is an opportunity that I am very much looking forward to.

« Right now my main focus is on giving the Munster jersey all I have during my time here in Ireland. »

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