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Dublin: 8°C Sunday 18 April 2021

'I think I'm in the best place for him to bring me to a world-class level'

RG Snyman says head coach Johann van Graan was the key factor in attracting him to Munster.

THE CURRENT RESTRICTIONS mean RG Snyman and his wife haven’t been able to get as great a sense of their new home as might have been the case, but even still they’ve strolled around Limerick, visited Dublin, admired the Cliffs of Moher, and supped a few pints of Guinness.

“Just a couple,” smiles the new Munster lock on a Microsoft Teams call in what is his first interaction with the Irish media since arriving in May.

cj-stander-conor-murray-keith-earls-and-rg-snyman Snyman at Munster training last week. Source: Munster Rugby/INPHO

The image being transmitted through his phone’s camera doesn’t do Snyman justice.

At 6ft 9ins and close to 120kg, Snyman is a big unit and Munster fans are expecting a big impact from the 25-year-old when they get back underway with a clash against Leinster on 22 August.

Snyman was a major part of the Springboks’ ‘Bomb Squad’ off the bench during their World Cup success last year, he and five other forwards being sprung in the second half of games to devastating effect. With offloading and passing ability to go along with his physicality, Snyman made a telling impression for the Boks.

Rudolph Gerhardus Snyman – to give him his full name – could have had his pick of clubs on good terms but it was Munster who managed to secure his services.

The former Blue Bulls lock liked the fact that the province is “tradition-rich” but says the biggest factor in his move here was head coach and fellow South African Johann van Graan, who he first met when he was still in school at Afrikaanse Hoër Seunskool in Pretoria.

Van Graan had moved into the Springboks set-up as an assistant coach by the time Snyman broke through with the Bulls, while he had departed for Munster by the time Snyman was first capped at Test level in 2018, but the second row had heard good things.

“I haven’t really worked under him that much even though I’ve known him for a long time,” explains Snyman. “I do know he is a quality coach and speaking to anyone who has worked with him, I have only heard positive things.

“That’s what I’m looking forward to and also expanding my game within the detail that he brings. I think I’m in the best place for him to bring me to a world-class level.

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rg-snyman-with-johann-van-graan Johann van Graan was a major reason for Snyman's move to Munster. Source: ©INPHO

“I think I still need some work done on the smaller details from a technical side, so working under him is great for that because he’s very technical and his off-field work is very detailed.”

Snyman’s most recent club was Japanese side Honda Heat, who he first played for in 2017 when they were still a second division team. He “really enjoyed the time in Japan,” having also continued to play for the Bulls in Super Rugby in 2017, 2018 and 2019, but this move to Munster is recognition that he’s ready to move forward as a player.

Footage of Snyman in action in the Top League earlier this year underlined his x-factor abilities but he hopes there’s more to come from him as he looks to get to grips with Northern Hemisphere rugby.

“The rugby here is a little more physical so I’m looking forward to that,” says Snyman, “and also broadening my game a little in terms of set-piece.

“The weather will play a big part in games. In the last couple of weeks, the weather has turned a little bit and it’s not as easy to hold onto the ball as it might be in South Africa or Japan. So I will have to adapt a little bit but it should be okay, I can adapt.”

Snyman had several people to ask about Munster within the Springboks environment last year, with boss Rassie Erasmus having “only had good things to say”.

Felix Jones, meanwhile, made a “massive difference” for the Boks when he joined before the World Cup.

rg-snyman Snyman is a big unit at 6ft 9ins and close to 120kg. Source: ©INPHO

“Obviously what Felix learned here in Munster, the detail he brought in analysing other teams, tweaking a little bit of what we were doing, and just the way he worked with the team, it was a big blessing for us to have him with us,” says the second row.

Happily, Snyman also has a Springbok team-mate settling into life in Limerick this summer in the shape of centre Damian de Allende.

“It’s very nice to have him over here,” says Snyman. “At the time I signed, I actually didn’t know he was coming over as well. We only found out late that we were coming together.

“I’m really happy that it is him specifically because he is a great guy and a hard-working player. I’m looking forward to seeing him win some good collisions as well.”

About the author:

Murray Kinsella

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