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Howlett a late NZ departure?

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Reports from Ireland on Wednesday indicated that the All Black exodus might not yet be at an end, with wing Doug Howlett apparently high on Munster’s wish list.

Howlett, a comparative veteran at 59 Test caps and 28 years of age, who has played centre and full-back as well as his most customary wing position, is rumoured to be a target of a host of big money bids from the usual suspects in England and France.

He would fill obvious gaps in Munster’s back-line, namely pace and cover at full-back, where there is a vacancy left by the retirement of Shaun Payne in June.

One possible problem though is that Munster’s squad has already been registered for the Magners League, but Howlett could be a shoe-in for Munster’s Heineken Cup campaign, and Munster coach Declan Kidney gave as much away.

“We’re always in the market for good players – that will never cease from one end to the other. For today’s (Wednesday’s) Magners League launch, we had to register a squad for that. But the permitting system for the ML it is not as tight as the Heineken Cup,” he said.

“With all contractual stuff there are always different names thrown around. We’ve never said anything during negotiations, but we’d always to be talking to who is available.

“Obviously, having just returned from America, we’re trying to catch up with things. We’re in negotiations with different players all the time. If we mentioned every name, we’d only be feeding everyone rubbish and we don’t want to do that.”

Howlett is the top Super Rugby try-scorer of all time with 58 tries, and has scored 43 tries in his 59 Tests for the All Blacks, only three short of being the all-time great there as well. Christian Cullen, who also finished his career at Munster, tops that list with 46.

 

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