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Five Out-Halves That Could Be Better Options For Munster Than Ian Keatley

Five Out-Halves That Could Be Better Options For Munster Than Ian Keatley
By Conor O'Leary Updated
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Until they get an outhalf who can control the game and convert the kicks, they are going nowhere.

That's the words Neil Francis used to describe Munster's current plight. The treatment of Ian Keatley, and frustration at losing one of their best prospects, JJ Hanrahan, hints that a different answer is needed at outhalf at Munster. There's some hope for the future with 18-year-old Bill Johnston impressing for Munster A already, but until then - what can Munster do? Is Rory Scannell going to be good enough? It does seem like Munster need something, even if it is just for a year or two to aid the development of Johnston and Scannell.

Their recently rebuffed move for Australian captain Stephen Moore suggests that there is money in the bank, so if they wanted to spend that on an out-half, who could they get? Ideally, JJ Hanrahan would be the answer to come back, but it's unlikely that he will until his Northampton contract runs out at the earliest.

Here are five potential answers to Munster's call in the no. 10 jersey:

Christian Leali'ifano

Nominally an inside centre for the Brumbies and Australia, Leali'ifano started his career at out-half, and is probably a better playmaker from the pivot position than one out. His contract with the Brumbies runs out at the end of the 2016 season, which is the next time a southern hemisphere player would be available to move.

He wasn't included in Australia's World Cup squad, and despite a mass exodus after the World Cup, the options for Cheika at 10/12 could mean that Leali'ifano is willing to take a move north.

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Ihaia West

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The ginger Maori would be right at home in Ireland. The 23-year-old's only experience of international rugby is for the Maori's, so he would count as a project player. West is best described as a New Zealand version of Ian Madigan - who seems more likely to reject Munster and head to France. West's flair shines even in New Zealand, and he is being afforded the opportunity to learn the nuances of the out-half position for the Blues.

His goal-kicking is remarkably good, and his game management continues to improve. His contract runs out at the end of 2016 too.

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Kyle Godwin

Similar to Leali'ifano, Kyle Godwin was also brought up as an out-half. While Godwin looks more at home in the centres, the promising Western Force youngster has failed to break into the Wallabies to earn a cap, and could use a move to reignite his promise.

Could be a long term answer at 12, and would help Keatley to guide Munster around the park from there. His contract also runs out at the end of 2016.

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Johan Goosen

Formerly South Africa's answer at fly-half, Goosen's move to Racing Metro hasn't worked out. Sound familiar? Except Goosen's Racing contract lasts until 2017, and he now seems to be stuck behind Dan Carter and Remi Tales. There has been a mooted move back to South Africa already, so it does appear that Goosen would be available. He's probably the most complete option out there for Munster, although he would be the most expensive option available to them.

Tyler Bleyendaal

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Getting Tyler Bleyendaal back would feel like a new signing. Despite moving to Munster at the start of last season, injuries have meant that the New Zealander (signed as a centre, but only comfortable at out-half), has only made a handful of appearances. If Bleyendaal gets a good run in the team, he will prove to be the out-half that Munster are looking for, and is good enough to become a legitimate contender for an Ireland cap in two years.

See Also: The Try That Shows Why Stuart McCloskey Has To Be In The Ireland Squad

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