How Damian and RG's objectives dovetail perfectly with Munster's

RG Snyman (Getty Images)
RG Snyman (Getty Images)

While South African rugby's continued player exodus remains an emotive issue, a steady undercurrent is emerging where various members of the sport's fraternity are starting to accept that it's an issue that won't go away.

As a result, the thinking goes that a high-profile move becomes less "painful" if it's one that will improve the player and be beneficial to the Springboks' cause.

It perhaps explains to an extent why the dynamic duo of Damian de Allende and RG Snyman's move to Irish giants Munster - which was officially if belatedly confirmed this week - hasn't been too badly received.

Johann van Graan, former Springbok assistant coach and now in charge at the PRO14 club since late 2017, is particularly excited over how well the two Springboks' objectives align to that of the side.

"We're very privileged to have been able to sign Damian and RG," he told Sport24.

"We maintain high standards as a club and that extends to the players we target. We're always looking guys who are going to improve our squad. I'm confident Damian and RG joining us will enrich them too because there's so much more they can achieve as players."

De Allende's recruitment is poignant for Van Graan as he had first-hand experience of the imposing former Stormers centre's highs and lows at international level.

The 40-year-old had been in charge of the Springboks' attack when De Allende made his Bok debut in 2014 and was credited for helping him and Jesse Kriel gel so quickly as a midfield pairing in the build-up to the 2015 World Cup, where both impressed.

Yet Van Graan's tenure with Allister Coetzee also coincided with De Allende's slump in form and battle with niggling injuries.

It's little wonder then he's chuffed with how the 28-year-old Milnerton favourite won over a whole legion of critics - including former national centre Grant Esterhuizen - following a superb World Cup campaign last year in Japan.

"What can I say? We have a the World Cup's winning inside centre coming to us. During my time at the Boks, it was clear from the outset that he's a very versatile player," said Van Graan.

"He's really come into his own as a top-class player. He's a commanding presence on the field."

De Allende arrives in Limerick probably in the prime of his career, but Snyman could prove to be a very interesting long-term project.

The 25-year-old beanpole lock has earned rave reviews since bursting onto the international scene against England in 2018, yet the consensus is that his rare all-round gifts still need tweaking for him to move from brilliant to simply frightening as player.

"He's relatively young for a player to be so experienced at international level. That's what makes him an attractive option. We all know what he's capable of, but his skillset means he's got an immensely high ceiling," said Van Graan.

"We're confident he can still achieve so much more."  

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