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'He's one of the best in the world' - Munster hope to keep De Allende

The Springboks centre is out of contract next summer.

De Allende is back with Munster this week.
De Allende is back with Munster this week.
Image: Billy Stickland/INPHO

MUCH OF THE contract discussion around Munster in recent times has focused on RG Snyman and whether or not his deal will be extended beyond the end of the current season after the Springbok lock re-ruptured his ACL.

But there are some other big players out of contract at the end of the current campaign for Munster to worry about too.

Conor Murray’s central IRFU deal comes to an end and he has already attracted interest from France, while Keith Earls is also out of contract next summer.

Then there is the world-class Damian de Allende, whose most recent outing for the Springboks against New Zealand was a reminder of just how brilliant a player he is. The centre was outstanding for Munster last season, playing more than expected as the Boks went without Test rugby for so long, and is now into the final year of his deal with the province.

There is no doubt that he will have suitors elsewhere. De Allende turns 30 next month and certainly has another big contract ahead of him. It remains to be seen whether it’s with Munster, who have benefited from private investment to cover the cost of de Allende and Snyman’s original two-year deals.

He’s definitely part of our plans, but I’ve never discussed contract negotiations [publicly],” said Munster boss Johann van Graan yesterday.

“We really rate ‘Doogz’, he’s one of the very best and the future will tell what happens, and as per any player, once we have any announcement to make, we’ll do it some way in the future.

“He’s one of the best players in the world, so that’s great that one of the best players in the world is playing for Munster, so that’s our ambition. We’ll certainly work together with Munster and the IRFU to look at our options.”

While Snyman is unlikely to play again this season due to his knee injury, de Allende will be a key figure again.

The midfielder was away on Springboks duty from June through until earlier this month but is back training with Munster this week. De Allende will soon depart for Test duty again, however, as the Springboks play Wales, Scotland, and England next month.

Van Graan is excited to have the former Stormers centre back at Munster for the rest of the season thereafter.

“Damian is a world-class player, I think everybody knows that,” said van Graan.

“You just have to look at his performance in that last test for South Africa against the All Blacks and how good he was – whether it is in carrying or tackling or post-contact skills, his decision-making. That’s why we signed him and why he’s such a big part of our plans.

“He’ll be raring to go. Obviously, we’ve got one game this week and we’re into a bit of a break and, if selected for South Africa [which he has been], he’s got another week off before he joins them, and then after the November internationals, he’ll be with us until June which will be brilliant.

“The positive out of that is that once the Irish national players go to the Six Nations we have Damian available, which is a big positive for us.”

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chris-farrell Chris Farrell hasn't featured yet this season. Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

Munster are currently without first-choice outside centre Chris Farrell due to an abdominal injury and van Graan indicated that the Ireland international is likely to be sidelined through until late November.

Veteran wing Keith Earls has started two games in the number 13 shirt in Farrell’s absence and van Graan has been pleased with the Limerick man’s efforts.

“I thought defensively he made some very good decisions and a big hit on Sammy Arnold in midfield [against Connacht last weekend],” said van Graan.

“He’s such an experienced player and it’s what he gives to the people around him, what he gave to Rory [Scannell] on the inside and somebody like Zeebs [Simon Zebo] and Andrew [Conway] have played with him so much, that connection is very important.

“He’s embraced it, we certainly haven’t moved him to outside centre full-time. He’ll return to the wing, but we’ve got so many fit players in that back three and we wanted him to do a specific job at 13.

“We were also looking at his speed, he’s certainly not getting slower with age and he’s a phenomenal rugby player full stop. We’re pretty happy with how it’s going.”

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Murray Kinsella

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