CJ Stander and Peter O'Mahony who are both in talks with the IRFU
REPORTS in this morning's Irish Times suggest that Munster's back row forward CJ Stander could leave the province at the end of his current contract, as talks with the IRFU on a national contract have stalled.
Gavin Cummiskey reports that Stander, 27, who is currently in talks to move from a provincial contract to a central contract with the IRFU, has not been able to get the deal over the line.
The South African born, Irish international, would be able to name his price on the open market with clubs in France and the UK watching from the wings.
In recent weeks Simon Zebo has confirmed he is to leave the province at the end of this season, while only yesterday reports suggested that Peter O'Mahony could also leave the province as his central contract is up for renewal.
Central contracts are paid for in full by the IRFU, so while a player is on same, there is no direct cost the province in terms of wages. Therefore, should Peter O'Mahony leave, his replacement would have to be paid for in full by Munster rugby themselves.
The CJ Stander situation, which can often be a case of using the rumour mill to force the IRFU's hand, would be a big blow to Munster too, both financially and in terms of good will from supporters.
Stander, O'Mahony and indeed Zebo are seen as fan favourites and a Munster team without that trio would not be as attractive a prospect for some fans.
With rumours such as these more common than not at this time of the year, fans can only hope that they are just that. Rumours.