Munster boss rejects ‘crude’ view they chose between ‘world-class’ Springboks locks

Munster head coach Graham Rowntree insisted that a number of factors were taken into consideration when negotiating with locks Jean Kleyn and RG Snyman.

Their other lock who was born in South Africa, Jean Kleyn, was an Ireland international when Snyman was signed in 2020.

Nevertheless, the Springboks exploited the modified World Rugby eligibility rules after Andy Farrell declined to give him a recall after his strong performance for Munster.

Kleyn was duly called up by Rassie Erasmus and Jacques Nienaber ahead of the Rugby Champi

onship, and he would later contribute to their victory in the Rugby World Cup.

Letting one of them go

He was no longer Irish-qualified (NIQ) as a result, and the Limerick-based organization would probably have to allow him or Synyman go to other pastures.

At one point, it appeared likely that both would leave at the end of the season, but the Munstermen were able to sign Kleyn for a further two years.

The province also revealed in the same announcement that his Bok teammate would be departing after the 2023–2024 season for an as-yet-undetermined location.

There have been those who argue that Munster only had to decide which players to maintain, but Rowntree disagreed.

“To look at it that way is a little harsh. We anticipated that keeping both of them would be difficult,” he said to reporters.

We initially believed that keeping Kleyn would be difficult when he chose to play for the Boks.

“No, it has turned out to be like it is, but fortunately we have two elite locks for the remainder of the season when RG does return.”

Snyman’s injury

As Rowntree intimated, Snyman is currently out of action following surgery on a shoulder/chest injury picked up during the World Cup.

According to the Munster boss, March is when he is likely to be back, which is a blow for him and the province.

Some might have suggested that it played a part in his departure but, as the head coach explained, various factors were taken into account.

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He went on, “There are a lot of ramifications, including repercussions for the budget and NIQ. We also have some fantastic young locks coming through, and the IRFU is right to want us to bring them through.

“A lot went into the melting pot, and this is how it came out. RG has my best wishes for wherever he goes. He’s been a great addition to our team—just a kind guy.

He has behaved well in the group and is a member of the leadership group. He suffered two ACL injuries, had some difficult times, and yearned to support the team.

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