Munster have confirmed that Jaco Taute has officially signed with the province for the next two years.
The former Springbok has proven to be a hugely popular figure since signing on a short-term contract last year, and keeping him was one of compatriot Rassie Erasmus’s biggest objectives this summer. That has now been achieved, with the centre signing a two-year deal to take him up until the summer of 2019.
In addition, out-half Ian Keatley has also signed a two-year deal. The 30-year-old made his debut in 2011, and while he has sometimes been a polarising figure among Munster fans, Erasmus expressed his delight that both Keatley and Taute, two players with vast experience, have re-signed for the next two years:
“With Ian and Jaco we are retaining the services of two quality players. Both highly experienced and versatile, they not only add value on field but are also good guys to have in our environment.”
With Taute staying, there would only be room for one non-Irish-qualified centre in the squad, and that has led to the announcement that Francis Saili will be leaving at the end of the season. The former All Black has spent the past two years at Munster, and a number of Premiership clubs have already been linked with moves for him.
A move that had already been confirmed by multiple sources is the departure of Donnacha Ryan to Racing 92 – nonetheless, Erasmus paid tribute to the lock as he embarks on a new chapter of his career in France:
“In recognising a stellar career for the province I would like to single out Donnacha Ryan for his outstanding service to Munster Rugby for over 13 years. He is a leader on and off the field and has passed on his experience and knowledge to the next generation. We wish Donnacha and all who are leaving all the best for the future.”
Also departing Munster in the summer will be fellow second row John Madigan and prop Peter McCabe, while Cian Bohane and Mark Chisholm will retire at the end of the season.