Gerbrandt Grobler set for Munster debut on Saturday

Convicted doper will line out for Johann van Graan’s side when they take on Zebre in Pro14

Munster’s Gerbrandt Grobler during a British and Irish Cup match against Nottingham last year. Photo: Daniel Matthams/Inpho

Munster’s Gerbrandt Grobler during a British and Irish Cup match against Nottingham last year. Photo: Daniel Matthams/Inpho

 

Munster v Zebre, Thomond Park 7.35pm (TG4)

Enough fuss has been made of Gerbrandt Grobler for the IRFU and Munster to issue a statement indicating he will probably play for the first time for the province against Zebre on Saturday.

The IRFU timing could not have been better with most newsprint already full of Six Nations material. Grobler is named among the replacements for the Pro14 match in Thomond Park and in line to make his senior debut.

“While some hold the view that rugby should provide no road-back for those that have taken a banned substance in the past, it would not be within the spirit and values of rugby to turn its back on every person that ever made a bad decision, having made restitution,” said the statement.

Restitution was being caught and banned. The danger, as several players have pointed out, is that being caught and banned could be seen as being permissible, ultimately you can still play rugby in Ireland. The statement goes on to say: “(The) IRFU wish to reiterate that Gerbrandt, as a member of the Munster squad and living by our values, will continue to be considered for selection during his time with the province, once deemed fit.”

The IRFU statement continued: “Irish Rugby is recognised as operating one of the most stringent testing environments of any rugby nation with a zero tolerance approach to doping in the sport.”

Grobler served his two-year ban before returning to play for Racing in November 2016 and began in Munster this season. The decision to sign him has come under fire from former international players including Gordon D’Arcy and Chris Henry.

However, Munster and Ireland scrumhalf Conor Murray supported his teammate in January.

“It’s affecting him badly, all the stuff people have been saying and writing and going after the club,” said Murray at the time. “It’s a time we need to remain tight and ignore this shit, and it is shit. It is people creating something.”

MUNSTER: S Zebo; D Sweetnam, S Arnold, D Goggin, A Wootton; JJ Hanrahan, D Williams; J Cronin, N Scannell, B Scott; J Kleyn, B Holland (c); J O’Donoghue, C Oliver, R Copeland.

Replacements: K O’Byrne, J Loughman, J Ryan, G Grobler, D O’Callaghan, J Poland, I Keatley, R Scannell,

ZEBRE: C Gaffney; G Di Giulio, G Bisegni, F Afamasaga, G Venditti; S Bordoli, G Palazzani; C Ah-Nau, T DiApice, E Bello, D Sisi, G Biagi (c), R Giammarioli, J Meyer, J Tuivaiti.

Replacements: L Luus, A De Marchi, R Tenga, L Krumow, D Minnie, R Raffaele, M Azzolini, R Parata.

Referee: S Brickell (WRU).

Verdict: Munster.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.