Injured Springbok headlines Munster re-signings
CONTRACT NEWS: Wednesday turned out to be a very good news day for Munster, as Simon Zebo has escaped a ban following his United Rugby Championship red card.
However, the more significant news is that Springbok lock Rudolf Snyman is one of five players to agree to contract extensions at the Irish province.
Munster confirmed that Snyman, props Stephen Archer, Roman Salanoa, Liam O’Connor and hooker Scott Buckley have all committed their futures to the province.
World Cup-winning Bok, Snyman, has signed a two-year deal that will see him remain with the province until at least June 2024.
Despite enduring a difficult time with injuries since arriving at the province in 2020, the 26-year-old is well settled at his Limerick base.
An out-and-out leader, he is highly regarded across the squad and already in four short appearances, he has managed to display his athleticism and skill set, including a first try scored against the Stormers in Thomond Park.
Snyman made his Bok debut against England at Ellispark, Johannesburg, in June 2018 and played the last of his 23 Tests against England in the 2019 World Cup Final in Yokohama.
He sustained a knee injury on his Munster debut that ruled him out until 2021.
He also underwent a skin graft procedure in July 2021, having sustained burns in an accident the previous month.
Snyman then sustained a re-rupture of his cruciate ligament in a United Rugby Championship win over Scarlets in October, having featured off the bench in Parc y Scarlets and nine minutes later was forced off with an injury that could sideline him for up to nine months.
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The province’s most-capped prop Stephen Archer has penned a one-year contract extension.
The 33-year-old is the most recent player to reach 200 caps in 2019, joining an illustrious group of 11 players to reach the milestone.
The tighthead prop has now featured in 235 games and has been a vital member of the squad since his debut against Edinburgh at Murrayfield in October 2009. His name is rarely omitted from a team sheet showing great durability, strength, consistency of form and technique in a specialist position.
Loosehead prop Liam O’Connor has signed a one-year contract extension having made 32 Munster appearances since his 2016 debut in a Champions Cup clash against Stade Francais.
A product of Dolphin and CBC, the former Ireland U20s international plays his AIL rugby with Cork Constitution and graduated from the Academy to the senior squad in 2018.
Tighthead prop Roman Salanoa has signed on for three more years at Munster after one try in eight appearances for the province to date.
A former USA U20 international, the Hawaiian is a Shannon RFC club man and joined the Leinster Academy in 2018 before making the move to Munster in the summer of 2020.
Hooker Scott Buckley follows Alex Kendellen in becoming the second Greencore Munster Rugby Academy player to be promoted to the senior squad ahead of next season, signing a two-year deal.
A product of Kinsale RFC and CBC, Buckley plays his AIL rugby with UCC and was a try-scoring Player of the Match on his Munster debut in the Champions Cup win over Wasps last month.
* Meanwhile, there were fears that a suspension for Zebo would see him miss out on Ireland squad selection for the upcoming Six Nations.
However, a discipline committee hearing has cleared him for selection for this weekend’s Champions Cup assignment at Castres on Friday when he will look to show he has what it takes to catch the eye of Ireland boss Andy Farell.
Zebo, who agreed on a Munster contract extension at the start of this week, was re-carded last Saturday versus Ulster for a collision with Michael Lowry and a URC statement read: “The disciplinary panel of Declan Goodwin, as chairman, Frank Hadden and Sarah Smith considered all of the evidence and camera angles available and concluded that the player’s actions did not result in foul play.
“In particular, on a detailed examination of the video evidence, the panel determined that it was No.10 of Munster who completes the tackle on Michael Lowry of Ulster, with Simon Zebo only making minimal contact whilst wrapping his left arm. As a result, the player is free to continue playing this weekend.”