Munster Rugby Gaming, the esports arm of Irish sports side Munster Rugby, is making a comeback.
It will now be taking part in the lower-tier UKEL (UK Esports League) 2021 spring split.
The rugby club previously got involved in League of Legends esports in the higher-tier NLC (Northern League of Legends Championship) last year, but Munster was embroiled in a scandal that saw its players paid late, and some of its staff not paid at all.
According to information obtained by Esports News UK in the story linked above, this was not Munster’s doing, but that of esports organisation Phelan Gaming.
Phelan founder Ciarán ‘Wings’ Walsh had acquired a license to use the Munster Rugby Gaming brand and lead operations for the League of Legends team.
The nightmare internal situation at Munster led to its departure from the NLC and, while organisers DreamHack originally said Phelan would be playing in the mid-tier UKLC (UK League Championship), it later changed its mind and announced Phelan had withdrawn from the UKLC.
Now, however, Munster Rugby Gaming’s involvement in the UKEL offers it a fresh start under different management.
It’s not clear who is leading the project and the roster has not yet been revealed, but Esports News UK has reached out to Munster Rugby and will update this article with any information passed our way for publication.
A Munster Rugby spokesperson told Esports News UK: “Munster Rugby is running the team opportunity directly, not in partnership with another esports entity. We look forward to competing in the UKEL and growing the League of Legends community and competitive opportunity in Ireland.”
The UKEL said in this announcement post: “Due to the exceptional nature and time constraints involved with the selection of this spot, we believe that Munster is the best fit for the UKEL in Spring 2021.”
UKEL founder and operations director Alex ‘Synygy’ Winton added: “I’m sure some will find the choice of Munster surprising given recent events, however I’m a firm believer in second chances when they’re due.
“Munster submitted a very strong application, setting out their plan and goals by joining the UKEL and how they aim to carry that forwards, I also believe that committing to starting fresh from the bottom rung of the ladder shows their seriousness with building a successful esports organisation.
“I would also like to confirm that Munster Rugby are in sole control of Munster Rugby Gaming, this is not a partnership with another esports organisation.”
The UKEL gets underway on January 21st on the UKEL Twitch channel.
Get this article in video form:
Dom is an award-winning writer who graduated from Bournemouth University with a 2:1 degree in Multi-Media Journalism in 2007.
As a long-time gamer having first picked up the NES controller in the late ’80s, he has written for a range of publications including GamesTM, Nintendo Official Magazine, industry publication MCV as well as Riot Games and others. He worked as head of content for the British Esports Association up until February 2021, when he stepped back to work full-time on Esports News UK and as an esports consultant helping brands and businesses better understand the industry.