Munster head coach Graham Rowntree says that two-time World Cup-winner RG Snyman will be back for the business end of the season and he has set a March return as a “worst case scenario” for the Springbok.
Rowntree is hopeful that Peter O’Mahony will be back for Champions Cup action this side of Christmas – they host Bayonne on Saturday week and then travel to Exeter Chiefs a week later.
Snyman, who suffered a chest/shoulder injury winning his second World Cup medal against New Zealand last month, is now back in Limerick recovering from surgery but fears that he would not play again for Munster before moving on in the summer have been dismissed by Rowntree.
“We’re probably not going to be able to see him until March,” said Rowntree. “I’m planning for the worst case scenario and that will be March, but he has still got a big role to play for us. I wish him all the best wherever he decides to go but he has got a big job to do for us before then.”
Snyman has only played in 10 games for Munster since he arrived in the summer of 2020, suffering two cruciate injuries and other issues, but Rowntree said he still has a lot to offer. Snyman returned in March earlier this year for his first action of the season. and played in six games as they went on to win the URC title.
“He’s been great around our group, he has been in our leadership group. He’s had his injury woes, some dark times, and for him to be able to lift a trophy at the end of last season with his mates was fantastic. And I wish him all the best but he has got unfinished business with us,” added Rowntree.
Snyman’s departure was announced at the same time it was confirmed that his World Cup-winning teammate Jean Kleyn had signed a new two-year contract extension. There were fears, now that the former Irish lock is classed as an overseas player after being capped by his native South Africa, that he might not be retained with Lyon among a number of clubs interesting in securing his services.
“There were a few people sniffing around him but I’m just delighted we got him over the line,” added Rowntree. “Good business, good business from us. Player of the year and he played a lot of minutes for us last year. I’m delighted with that.
“I think he has always declared his love for Limerick and playing for the club.”
New signing, tighthead prop Oli Jager, could make his debut on Friday night against Glasgow Warriors after arriving in Ireland late last week after his move from the Crusaders. The Irish-qualified prop has been training with his new teammates and Rowntree said he has already stood out.
“You can’t miss him, he’s huge. He’s trained, he didn’t do a lot of training at the back end of last week. He only arrived in on Thursday, he had some scrum training today. He’s looking good and I think he is going to fit in nicely.
“Obviously he has come from a very good environment. He’s a good rugby player, [he has] good rugby nous alongside a big set-piece presence.”
Rowntree confirmed that O’Mahony, who announced last week he is stepping down as captain after ten years, will be back soon from a shoulder injury.
“It’s not as bad as it was feared. He will be weeks, I’m hoping to get him involved in the European competition this side of Christmas.”
Munster are currently eighth in the table with three wins and a draw from their opening six games and they are seven points behind league leaders Glasgow ahead of their clash at Musgrave Park on Friday night.
But Rowntree reckons there was plenty in their loss to Leinster at the weekend to suggest they are really starting to click.
“I think it was the best we have played this season in attack,” he added. “We got our game going. I said afterwards I was proud of the lads, the effort we put in and what we showed there. But, again, we have to take our chances a bit better.”