Munster's latest Springbok signing raises eyebrows
SPOTLIGHT: Ireland legend Keith Wood has criticised Munster’s decision to sign another Springbok, saying it sends the wrong message to young rugby players who aspire to play for the province.
This week it was announced that Jason Jenkins – who has won one cap for the Springboks – is set to help fill the void left by the departures of club stalwarts Billy Holland and CJ Stander.
The second row who can cover the back row, who currently plays for Toyota Verblitz in the Japanese Top League, is the latest South African signing under Munster head coach Johann Van Graan.
RG Snyman, Damian De Allende and project player Jean Kleyn all call Munster home presently, while Arno Botha, Jaco Taute and Gerbrandt Grobler have all spent time at the province in recent years.
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Speaking prior to Munster’s defeat to Toulouse, former Munster, Ireland and British and Irish Lions hooker Keith Wood gave his reaction to the signing, one which he finds problematic.
“For me it wasn’t the right move,” Wood told Off the Ball in Ireland.
“I didn’t like it; I think it sends out all the wrong signals to the youth.
“I understand there is a rationale behind it, but I think you can justify every decision and for me, I am very uncomfortable with that.
“We have to start using some of the talents that we have coming through, and we have to start maximising that talent.”
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Unlike rivals Leinster, Munster have struggled to churn out as many locally produced players in recent years, especially in the forwards. Home-grown No.8 talent Gavin Coombes has been outstanding for the province this season, but the days of an all Munster pack lifting the Champions Cup in 2006 seem a far cry.
“We need to do a huge amount of restructuring to get that pipeline from Munster. We need to get that pipeline delivering more players earlier, and better players earlier.
“Even so, I don’t think your first option should be to go overseas.
“I know that there is a rationality to it,” admitted Wood.
“There are two guys leaving, there are players injured, there will be players going to Ireland camp and maybe Lions as well.
“There are a whole variety of reasons why you can do it, but you could make that justification to change every player, one to 15 to try and find a better player in the world.
“For me, I would rather see a Munster home-grown talent brought into that situation.”