Munster close in on South African prop Kebble for next season

The 24-year-old is being viewed as a project player who could qualify for Ireland.

MUNSTER ARE CLOSING in on the signing of South African prop Oliver Kebble for next season.

The42 understands Munster are nearing a final agreement to sign Kebble as a project player, with view to a transfer going through after the 2017 Super Rugby season.

Jacques Nienaber and Rassie Erasmus Rassie Eramus and Jacques Nienaber are calling on their South African connections again. Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

While the 24-year-old has predominantly featured at loosehead for Western Province and the Stormers in recent seasons, he also has experience of playing on the other side of the scrum and sources close to Munster have confirmed to The42 that the province are pursuing Kebble with a plan to re-convert him to tighthead.

The IRFU will have to sign off on Kebble joining Munster as a project player, with Kebble then potentially qualifying to play for Ireland following 36 consecutive months of living here.

It is understood the Scottish Rugby Union have also made a bid to lure Kebble to Scotland on a similar project player basis.

Durban native Kebble – whose father, Guy, propped for the Springboks – studied at Bishops Diocesan College in Cape Town, but finished his schooling at Dulwich College in England, while also featuring for London Irish’s academy side.

Kebble subsequently had a short spell with French Pro D2 outfit Mont-de-Marsan, before returning home to South Africa as a 19-year-old and breaking into the Western Province set up.

The 124kg prop played for South Africa’s U20 team at the 2012 Junior World Championship, starting two games at tighthead and appearing off the bench in the final victory over New Zealand.

Kebble earned his Super Rugby debut in 2014 and has made a total of 34 appearances in the competition over the last three seasons.

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Munster director of rugby Rassie Erasmus and defence coach Jacques Nienaber both worked with Kebble during their time in South Africa. The prop also played alongside Munster lock Jean Kleyn for the Stormers and Western Province, with whom they won the 2014 Currie Cup.

Munster currently have John Ryan and Stephen Archer in the tighthead position, with the former enjoying a particularly impressive start to the season. John Andress joined the province from Edinburgh over the summer but has been left out of Munster’s Champions Cup squad, while academy tighthead Brian Scott has displayed his promise.

21-year-old South African Thomas du Toit – who plays on both sides of the scrum – will join Munster on a three-month loan deal in the next fortnight, but he has already penned a three-year contract with the Sharks to begin after his stint in Ireland.

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About the author:

Murray Kinsella

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