'It went from absolute athleticism in the air into despair half a second later'

Despite the injuries, Munster took some positives from their 27-25 defeat to Leinster on Saturday night.

WHO KNOWS HOW things might have unfolded had RG Snyman not come down from that seventh-minute lineout in such injurious fashion?

The Springbok lock was in the process of stealing a Leinster throw so perhaps Munster would have caused even more damage to the eastern province’s lineout than they did for the remainder of the game.

Perhaps Snyman’s offloading ability would have delivered a game-breaking moment or an unseen clearout that would have helped Johann van Graan’s men to victory. 

The hope is that we’ll be seeing Snyman back on the pitch sooner rather than later but the outlook wasn’t good on Saturday night, with Van Graan describing the injury as looking “pretty serious” ahead of a scan. 

rg-snyman-watches-from-the-bench-due-to-a-knee-injury Snyman was forced off after just seven minutes. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

As is so often the case with defensive lineout jumpers, Snyman was launched across the lineout to make the steal with lifters Billy Holland and Peter O’Mahony naturally losing an element of control in the process of doing so.

Jumping across the lineout is supposed to be illegal but it’s very often overlooked, so defences regularly do it. Putting your body on the line goes with being a professional rugby player but this was a reminder of the dangers of being catapulted into the air in the lineout, something we genuinely take for granted.

Whatever about the details of the incident, Snyman could now be sidelined for some time. 

“I’m gutted myself with possibly losing him now,” said van Graan post-match. “He himself is pretty disappointed.

“He worked so hard to get into the position to actually play, he was so excited to play. He stole that lineout, it went from absolute athleticism in the air into despair literally half a second later. Hopefully it’s not bad, but yeah I’m pretty gutted about that.”

Snyman’s injury was one of a few for Munster, worryingly enough ahead of next weekend’s clash with Connacht, in which a win would secure the southern province a Pro14 semi-final clash against Leinster a week later.

Dave Kilcoyne, who limped off at the same time as Snyman, was wearing a moon boot post-match on Saturday and was due to join second row Jean Kleyn – who injured his neck – in having a scan.

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Munster had already lost loosened James Cronin [groin] and back row Jack O’Donoghue [concussion] before Saturday’s game, which both had been due to start.

“A few of the forwards will definitely be disrupted, it’s a big worry for us,” said Van Graan.

peter-omahony-dejected-after-the-game Munster were left disappointed after a two-point loss. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Connacht are set to completely change their starting 15 after yesterday’s win against Ulster, so Munster will certainly still fancy their chances of getting the job done this coming Sunday back at the Aviva Stadium.

And Munster can take plenty of encouragement even in defeat to Leinster, having played with only seven forwards for the closing quarter and still come close to pulling off a comeback win.

“There were some excellent aspects,” said captain Peter O’Mahony. “We were in the mix. We were physically there, which was great. We had to be mentally prepared more than anything. That was far from a pre-season friendly. That was a different animal.

“It was as if we had never left. From that aspect it was great. The lineout was good, there is a huge amount of positives. I thought our defence was good.”

Van Graan agreed on the positive outlook despite the disappointment:

“Bigger picture, it was our first game in six months and last week because of the Covid case we couldn’t even play an internal game,” said the Munster boss. “So, the fact we stayed with them for 80 minutes is a real positive from our side.

About the author:

Murray Kinsella

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