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Quartet commit to Munster

Guinness PRO12 Editor

16 Mar 2011

Magners League leaders Munster have received a boost with a quartet of players committing to new contracts with the province.

Mick O'Driscoll has agreed a one year extension that will see him into his 11th season with Munster while James Coughlan continues until the end of 2012/2013.

Academy winger Simon Zebo who turns 21 today and 22 year old fly-half Declan Cusack have also agreed two and one year deals respectively.

Since making his debut in August 1998, O'Driscoll has played 181 competitive games for Munster, either side of a two season stint with Perpignan.

He captained Munster in the majority of their games on their way to the Magners League title in 2009 and led the side that was narrowly beaten that season by the All Blacks.

"The club is delighted to continue signing key players to the rugby programme and this quartet at opposite ends of the spectrum is no different," said Munster head coach Tony McGhan.

"To have senior players such as Mick and James, who individually have been playing consistent high level rugby this season and who play such an important part in the Magners League and Heineken Cup, especially when the Internationals are away, balances the signing of young up and comers like Simon and Declan.

"Simon has continued to gather game time in recent games after making his debut last season. He brings a genuine attacking threat to the back division and we look for him to continue his development with the senior programme for the rest of the season.

"Declan's progress in the last twelve months since his debut last season was evident in his first start of this season when he played an important role in the bonus point victory against Dragons.

"What turned out to be a long term injury in the pre season plus the presence of quality players such as Ronan O'Gara and Paul Warwick have curtailed his appearances but the future looks promising for Declan who it must be remembered was a late starter to professional rugby."

Munster are next in Magners League action on March 25, when they travel to Cardiff Blues before welcoming Leinster to Thomond Park the following weekend.

They are currently run-away leaders in the league, nine points ahead of nearest rivals the Ospreys and with one foot in the play-off door.