It has been a whirlwind 15 days for Darren Sweetnam with the winger finishing his time on the province and becoming a member of French High 14 facet La Rochelle on a three-month contract.
A followers favorite and trailblazer for west Cork rugby, the Dunmanway native scored 22 tries in 92 Munster appearances after making his senior debut in opposition to Cardiff Blues in February 2015.
On the worldwide entrance, he has earned three Eire caps and scored one strive.
Talking about his transfer to France and the thrilling new problem, Sweets stated: “I came to visit right here on a medical joker contract for 3 months and hopefully if I impress and go properly there may be one thing else on the desk. It’s dangerous however it’s a fantastic alternative.
“I’ve left my residence membership, my consolation zone, and moved over right here with my Leaving Cert French. I’d remorse it if I didn’t take the prospect.
“It in all probability hasn’t hit me but actually that I’ve left Munster, pondering that I received’t be taking part in in entrance of followers once more in Thomond Park or Musgrave Park.
“It occurred so rapidly, I packed my locker up on the Friday and solely obtained to say goodbye to some in individual and I simply put a message into the squad group and flew out then. It was all very surreal.
“My final recreation in entrance of crowds was in opposition to Scarlets in Thomond Park and in the event you requested me then would I be in France taking part in for La Rochelle over 13 months later I’d have laughed at you, so in that sense it has all been a little bit of a whirlwind few weeks.”
Sweetnam started his rugby profession with Dunmanway RFC and Bandon Grammar and has performed AIL rugby with UCC, Dolphin and Cork Structure.
He joined the Greencore Munster Rugby Academy in 2012 after representing Munster by the provincial age-grade system.
A proficient all-rounder, Sweetnam’s skills in hurling and hockey are well-known – significantly his hurling expertise having lined out for Cork within the 2012 All Eire semi-final.
He moved as much as the senior squad in 2015 and established his place within the beginning XV throughout the 2016/17 marketing campaign.
That 12 months noticed Sweets rating seven tries in 25 appearances, together with an exquisite solo effort within the win over Maori All Blacks, and he was named the province’s 2017 Younger Participant of the Yr.
Sweetnam made his Champions Cup debut within the memorable win over Glasgow Warriors on an emotional day at Thomond Park and scored his first European strive within the quarter-final victory over Toulouse.
His rise continued with an extra 43 Munster appearances over the next two seasons and his type was rewarded with worldwide recognition and three Eire caps between 2017 and 2018.
He featured in 9 of Munster’s 20 video games this season, scoring two tries.
Talking about his time at Munster, he stated: “There have been so many standout moments within the purple jersey for me, video games just like the Maori recreation, the Glasgow recreation after Axel’s passing, and Toulouse within the quarter-final of the Champions Cup to call just a few, however they have been all particular days.
“I grew up desirous to play for Munster, it was at all times my dream, and whereas this isn’t the best means of how I needed it to finish, only a few gamers actually get the best ending.
“There may be nothing higher than operating out in a packed Thomond Park stadium, it’s unbelievable, they’re one of the best followers. I noticed what Holl (Billy Holland) stated, and he’s proper, it provides you a carry and it makes you play above your self. It means extra, simply taking part in in your residence membership in entrance of your loved ones and associates, and it’s very particular.
“I actually simply must take this chance now, and who is aware of what’s going to occur sooner or later.”