When Ben Betts’ name was not included among the members of Munster’s academy for the 2016/17 season, I immediately became suspicious. After all, the tighthead was an important part of Ireland’s under 20 Championship campaign, and Munster are not blessed with a huge amount of talent in that position.
The Young Munster player’s big carries and powerful scrummaging impressed people in my industry, and the scouts casting an eye over events in Manchester. Yet, as he was rated by those involved in the Irish underage set up, I never expected to see him leave Munster.
Betts though was offered more money by the Leicester Tigers, and he will gain a whole lot from the experience in England. Leicester are one of England’s traditional powerhouses, and have invested massively in their playing squad.
Not only have they kept hold of Manu Tuilagi, but will partner the big centre with Matt Toomua next season. Aaron Mauger has achieved a great deal in improving the skills of the players at Welford Road, while Richard Cockerill and Richard Blaze have ensured the Leicester pack has maintained it’s edge.
Upfront, Betts will have the opportunity to train alongside props such as Marcos Ayerza, Dan Cole and Ellis Genge, something Munster simply cannot offer Betts at the moment.
As sad as it is to see a player like Betts leave for England, it might benefit him in the long term.