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'I've got CVs of wonderful players who want to come and play for Munster'

The province are understood to have permission to sign a NIQ second row.

RASSIE ERASMUS SAYS Munster’s search for a second row to replace the departing Donnacha Ryan and Dave Foley is still ongoing.

It’s understood the southern province have IRFU permission to sign a non-Irish-qualified lock after losing frontliner Ryan to Racing 92.

Rassie Erasmus Erasmus at Munster training in UL. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

South Africa is an obvious place for Munster director of rugby Erasmus to search, and a number of high-profile names have already circulated the rumour mill in relation to a move to the province.

However, Erasmus says there are financial constraints involved – something he also says was behind the province’s decision to let Francis Saili go at the end of the season.

The South African boss stresses that world-class players remain interested in joining Munster, but points out that finding the right player at the right cost is important.

Getting to a Pro12 final might help attract players to the province, though that’s not really the issue according to Erasmus.

There’s a lot of players that want to come to Munster, it’s really never been a problem,” says Erasmus. “I can tell you I’ve got CVs there of wonderful players who want to come and play for Munster.

“I wanted to come here and Jacques wanted to come here. Munster is a wonderful brand, Munster is a world-wide brand. That will never be the problem. This helps a little bit, but Munster are a big name in the country where I’m from.

“It will always be a financial thing and then a numbers thing, you know, how many foreigners. The nice thing is we are bringing a lot of Irish-qualified guys in, good Irish-qualified guys to bolster our squad.

“It’s more budget-constraint. We would have loved to keep Francis Saili but we just don’t have the money.”

Rassie Erasmus The Munster director of rugby is searching for a second row. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Ryan is departing for France this summer to join Racing 92, while fellow second row Dave Foley is also off to the Top 14 to link up with Pau. Promising lock John Madigan is destined for France too, set for a move to Pro D2 side Massy.

It means Erasmus has been searching for a new lock, with the IRFU thought to have given the green light for a NIQ signing.

Given his extensive contacts in his homeland, Erasmus has likely been looking at the available options in South Africa.

With two South African and one Australian Super Rugby franchises to be cut before next year’s competition, there are likely to be a raft of solid second rows on the market in the coming months and Erasmus is not going to rush into anything.

“We must find another second row,” says Erasmus. “I’m looking really hard and I’m trying really hard and we’ll find one. We’re only playing in September [when the 2017/18 season starts] and there is a lot of plans that we’re trying to make.

“Obviously, to lose Dave and Donners was a bit of a… not a shock, but I didn’t expect it to happen so quickly, both of them in one year. So it’s now my job to find a solution.”

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Murray Kinsella

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