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Major blow for Munster as luckless Snyman faces another long, hard slog

The World Cup-winning lock could now miss another season of action.

Snyman is set for another long spell on the sidelines.
Snyman is set for another long spell on the sidelines.
Image: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Updated Oct 11th 2021, 9:30 PM

HAVING CLAIMED A Scarlets restart, RG Snyman came back down to ground onto his left leg but his knee buckled inwards and suddenly, his injury nightmare had returned.

Just three appearances into his comeback from over a year out of the game, the Munster lock has re-ruptured the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee.

This huge blow for Munster and the South African lock is a reminder of how cruel sport can be.

Snyman is now facing another long spell on the sidelines, with ACL injuries usually taking anywhere from nine to 12 months to fully recover from. Having only just come through that slog, Snyman has the sickening task of undertaking it again.

Munster head coach Johann van Graan referenced Snyman’s resilience as Munster confirmed the worst fears about the injury and the 26-year-old World Cup winner will need every ounce of his mental strength in the coming months.

He has been desperately unlucky to be limited to just 54 minutes of action across four appearances for Munster since joining last year. His debut lasted only seven minutes before he had to limp off with that first ACL rupture.

His battle to get back onto the pitch again had also included a procedure on his other knee and the burn injuries he suffered in Munster’s fire pit accident in June. Snyman simply hasn’t been able to catch a break since arriving in Ireland.

Losing him for what may well be the rest of this season is a huge blow for Munster, particularly given how Snyman’s recent cameos off the bench had underlined just how much of a game-changer he might have been.

Offloads behind the back, agile defensive work, a ridiculous one-handed finish for a try, and a skillful link pass yesterday before Liam Coombes’ second try were all reminders of his impressive skillset. 

The 6ft 9ins lock’s return at Thomond Park was greeted with rapture by the Munster faithful and his team-mates’ celebrations of his try two weekends ago highlighted just how popular he is within the playing group.

jean-kleyn-and-rg-snyman Jean Kleyn alongside Snyman at Munster training recently. Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

Snyman’s contract expires at the end of this season but recent indications had been that both he and Munster were keen to extend that deal to keep him in Limerick beyond the summer of 2022. It remains to be seen what happens on that front and it’s a decision for further down the line.

Right now, Snyman must rebound from his latest setback and face into the long, hard road of rehab. As before, Munster will offer him every support.

Van Graan and co. have to move on without their world-class second row again and in that sense, they will have been buoyed by the strong showings of 23-year-old Fineen Wycherley and 21-year-old Thomas Ahern in the second row against Scarlets yesterday.

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Wycherley was a dominant force in the game, delivering a superb performance, while Ahern showed his ever-improving physicality and has some of the offloading skills and mobility that Snyman possesses. 

Tadhg Beirne could make his return for Munster this weekend after a post-Lions break, while Jean Kleyn has continued last season’s superb form early on in this new campaign.

New signing Jason Jenkins has yet to play for Munster but they could use him now. The once-capped South African had recovered from a shoulder injury but then sustained a thigh issue in training last week, meaning he had to undergo a scan.

Munster will hope that injury doesn’t sideline Jenkings for long, given that his size and power would likely be valuable.

The Munster academy includes three locks in Paddy Kelly, Eoin O’Connor, and Cian Hurley – who made his senior debut last season – but it remains to be seen whether injuries for Snyman and Jenkins mean the province looks for more cover.

Whatever happens next, there is no doubt that Munster are diminished for losing Snyman.

He was set to be a genuine game-changer for the province but they must push on without the incredibly unlucky lock.

About the author:

Murray Kinsella

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