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Munster confirm 'top-quality player' Grobler will leave this summer
The second row was impressive once again in Munster’s draw with Ulster.

Murray Kinsella reports from Thomond Park

MUNSTER HEAD COACH Johann van Graan has confirmed that second row Gerbrandt Grobler will leave the province this summer.

The South African lock was at the centre of a media storm earlier this year when he recovered from injury to make his senior Munster debut.

Gerbrandt Grobler with Luke Marshall Ryan Byrne / INPHO Grobler was involved in some second-half handbags against Ulster. Ryan Byrne / INPHO / INPHO

His previous two-year ban after testing positive for an anabolic steroid was widely discussed and debated during that time, but Grobler has bounced back impressively on the pitch following that furore.

The 26-year-old was outstanding once again in Munster’s 24-24 draw with Ulster in Limerick this evening, pilfering the visitors’ lineout throws regularly, showing his handling skills in phase play, and demonstrating huge power in contact.

Grobler featured off the bench for Munster in their Champions Cup quarter-final and semi-final in recent times and put some pressure on starting lock pairing Billy Holland and Jean Kleyn before the semi-final defeat to Racing 92 in particular.

Despite his big impact on the pitch, Grobler will depart at the end of the season.

Tadhg Beirne will arrive at Munster next season from the Scarlets to boost their second row, while Grobler is expected to join Gloucester.

“Yes, Gerbrandt won’t be staying at Munster,” said van Graan at Thomond Park.

“I think it’s a massive loss. He’s a quality player. I thought that was his best 80 minutes for Munster.

“I thought firstly, his primary work, his lineout defence, was exceptional. I thought the way he called the lineouts in the second half, his ball-carrying abilities, his fight on the ground, his defence – I thought that was a really good second-row performance from
a quality individual.”

Iain Henderson with Gerbrandt Grobler at the line out Billy Stickland / INPHO Grobler was exceptional at lineout time against Ulster. Billy Stickland / INPHO / INPHO

It’s understood that Grobler endured a tough time during the widespread debate about whether or not Munster should have signed him, but he is a popular man within the province’s squad.

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His team-mates have spoken highly of his impact and hooker Mike Sherry, who captained Munster on his 100th appearance this evening, said they were impressed with how he responded to the off-field drama.

“I think GG just kept his head down and kept working really hard. He’s got a good few chances in recent weeks and I think he’s been outstanding.

“I think he’s a great fella and we wish him the best of luck next year. We’re sad to lose him because he’s a top-quality player. He’s brilliant at the lineout, he’s brilliant around the pitch.

“Gloucester are getting a great addition. He’s a great fella off the pitch as well so we will be sad to see him go.”

- This article was updated at 9.35pm on 29 April to correct ‘win over’ to ‘draw with’ in the sub-heading.

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