Irish legend bemoans Munster's signing of Bok lock: 'It sends out the wrong signals'

play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
Jason Jenkins (Gallo)
Jason Jenkins (Gallo)
  • Ireland legend Keith Wood has slammed Munster's decision to recruit former Bull Jason Jenkins ahead of next season's PRO16 campaign.
  • Munster head coach Johann van Graan, a former Springbok assistant, signed the one-cap Springbok after apparently failing to secure Pieter-Steph du Toit.
  • Wood believes Jenkins' arrival hampers the potential development of promising local prospects.

Whether he would've held a different opinion had they signed Pieter-Steph du Toit is moot, but Ireland legend Keith Wood has criticised Munster's recruitment of former Bulls lock Jason Jenkins.

The 24-year-old second rower, a man Jake White desperately wanted back at Loftus after being on loan for last season's Super Rugby Unlocked campaign, was unveiled as the Irish giants' latest signing last week.

Munster head coach Johann van Graan, Springbok assistant under Heyneke Meyer and Allister Coetzee, though reportedly had the irrepressible Du Toit as his main target before the Irish Rugby Union blocked the move on "moral grounds".

READ | Bok lock predicament: 'General Franco' will do just fine

Local players, like their South African counterparts last year, are currently subjected to pay cuts due to Covid-19 and the Springbok star's rumoured R10.3 million per year deal was deemed insensitive.

As a result, Jenkins - who gained his solitary Springbok cap in 2018 but is back on the national radar - was approached.

But Wood isn't convinced.

"For me it wasn’t the right move. I didn’t like it; I think it sends out all the wrong signals to the youth," the 58-cap hooker told OTB Sports.

"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 our talent that we have coming through, and we have to start maximising that talent."

While Wood acknowledged that local prospects within the province aren't emerging all that quickly, he still believes that it's a situation that can only be rectified if Van Graan and co show more faith in their pipeline.

"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," he said.

"I know that there is a rationality to it. There are two guys leaving, there are players injured, there will be players going to Ireland camp and maybe the 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."

Wood singled out academy graduates Thomas Aherne and Paddy Kelly as deserving of an opportunity.

Jenkins will join Munster at the start of next season's expanded PRO16 campaign and won't be seen in the upcoming Rainbow Cup. 

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
What is your favourite sport to watch on TV?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
41% - 13429 votes
12% - 4101 votes
19% - 6196 votes
3% - 852 votes
1% - 328 votes
2% - 775 votes
5% - 1674 votes
8% - 2804 votes
4% - 1168 votes
Water sports
1% - 304 votes
American sports
1% - 413 votes
3% - 1112 votes