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'Joey is still the key man. If Joey gets fit, then there's a lot you can do'

Bernard Jackman says the out-half can help get the best out of Munster’s new signings.

WHILE MUNSTER’S NEW high-profile additions will understandably continue to grab the headlines, Bernard Jackman believes that Joey Carbery is still the key as the southern province looks to win its first trophy since 2011.

World Cup-winning Springboks Damian de Allende and RG Snyman are now Munster players, having joined for the start of pre-season last week.

On the latest episode of The42 Rugby Weekly, former Grenoble and Dragons boss Jackman outlined how impressive the new signings are and said they could push Munster on towards silverware, while underlining that out-half Carbery is essential to getting the very best out of them, particularly inside centre de Allende.

Ireland international Carbery is not due to be back in action again until September as he continues his rehab from ankle and wrist operations, meaning he will miss the first few fixtures of the resumption of rugby in August.

joey-carbery-after-the-game Carbery is due to make his return in September. Source: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

But Jackman believes that getting him back to tie everything together from the number 10 shirt is vital.

“The huge key for Munster’s success is Carbery, who is not a new recruit but if you have Joey Carbery, de Allende, Chris Farrell, Keith Earls, Andrew Conway, Mike Haley or Matt Gallagher in the backline, you can play any way you want,” said Jackman on this week’s episode of the podcast.

“Both Chris and de Allende will get you over the gainline but they’re also very good passers. You have got really exciting, talented players on the edge as well.

“[Stephen] Larkham’s DNA isn’t really built around just setting targets and playing a high-percentage kicking game. I think they will play but I think Joey is still the key man. If Joey gets fit, then there’s a lot you can do with that 10/12/13. On paper, it’s as exciting a backline as any in the Pro14 and up there in the top four or five in Europe.

“I wouldn’t imagine de Allende is just there to be that crash-ball merchant. Given this lockdown and a longish pre-season, they will have been able to do quite a bit around the tactical development with the players, so I think they’ll be going into the end of this 2019/20 season and next season in a really good place.”

Snyman and de Allende joined their Munster team-mates for the start of pre-season training in Limerick last week, while fellow new recruits Matt Gallagher and Roman Salanoa are also now settling in.

Jackman believes Gallagher, the Irish-qualified fullback who joined from Saracens, can immediately push Mike Haley for Munster’s number 15 shirt, while Salanoa is a highly-rated prospect at tighthead prop.

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The Springbok pair, meanwhile, could provide the crucial moments of quality that make a difference for the province.

rg-snyman Snyman at Munster training last week. Source: ©INPHO

“Munster haven’t been far away, they’ve been consistent semi-finalists and not a million miles from being finalists or potentially winning trophies,” said Jackman.

“I think two players of that calibre can be the difference in terms of making them real contenders.

“There’s a similarity to when I was in Leinster. In 2008, we won the Celtic League and that summer we signed Isa Nacewa, CJ van der Linde and Rocky Elsom. That sends a message to the dressing room in terms of the ambition of the province, the quality of training, the ability to have someone who can make a difference in a game. I think Rocky got six man-of-the-matches out of nine games in that European Cup campaign. That’s what you need: world-class players who can do something different.

“Snyman is going to be absolutely brilliant for Munster. He’s only 25 years of age so he’s in his prime. He can be huge for them and de Allende as well. It’s probably the most impressive duo that any club have brought in over the off-season.

“If it was a struggling team without a culture and an identity, you might say it would take them a while to turn it around. But Munster weren’t far away.

“I think this period of Munster in terms of being able to get cohesion in their coaching staff, fine-tune their game plan, plus the addition of all four recruits is very exciting. For a Munster fan, you’d be optimistic this is a big year for you.”

You can listen to The42 Rugby Weekly below or via your favourite podcast app.

Bernard Jackman and Murray Kinsella join Gavan Casey to chat about Munster’s new signings, contract drama at Leicester, Chiliboy’s eight-year ban and Dan Carter playing for Southbridge:

Source: The42 Rugby Weekly/SoundCloud

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