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'He's different to your normal lock': JVG excited to see Snyman grow at Munster

12 years have passed since the Munster coach was first alerted to the outrageous talents of the Springbok second row.

RG SNYMAN AND Johann Van Graan go back quite a way.

Long before the Springbok lock helped to forge the phrase ‘bomb squad’ in the glossary on his way to a World Cup winner’s medal, before he committed to joining Ireland’s southern province, the current Munster coach heard excited talk of a two-metre tall 13-year-old making an impression in his his old school halls in Afrikaanse Hoer Seunskool.

Coach Jan Grabie advised Van Graan to see his fellow ‘Affie’ in action.

“I went over and had a look at him. He was an incredibly tall young lad at that stage,” said Van Graan yesterday during a virtual press conference.

At that time, Van Graan was working with The Bulls. He would later work with Snyman with South Africa U20 and then in 2016 he was on the Springbok coaching staff when Snyman was called to play against the Barbarians at Wembley.

“I’ve known RG for a long time, the important thing to note about him is that he’s a different rugby player. He’s different to your normal lock.

“He’s versatile. He’s one of the quickest locks I’ve seen.

His offloading skills are incredible and signing him, he’s very different to the general type of forward we have in terms of his offloading ability.

“You’ve got to have balance in the back, so he’ll certainly give us some of that offloading ability because of his length.

“He’s a phenomenal athlete in terms of what he can do, I just think he’s got potential to be one of the very best rugby players in the world.

“He’s a lot to learn, he’s not the finished product yet. That was part of the talks to get him across. In terms of his lineout calling, his defensive game. He’s only in his early 20s. He appreciates the fact a lot of hard work lies ahead of him as well. 

“He came to Munster to be better, to become better.”

rg-snyman-celebrates-with-rassie-erasmus-after-the-game Snyman celebrates winning the World Cup with Rassie Erasmus. James Crombie / INPHO James Crombie / INPHO / INPHO

Indeed, Van Graan adds that the 25-year-old Snyman and his fellow World Cup winner Damien De Allende will not be on a pedestal in Limerick.

“It’s important to note that both of them, they’re not superstars. They’re normal, down to earth guys who will fit very well with Munster.

“They’re part of a bigger squad, they know of the ambitions of the clubs and the dreams of this team.

“They’re fascinating individuals and that’s the most important thing. They’re coming to add to what we have at Munster and they are buying into the way we do things at Munster.”

Snyman will present stiff competition for another offloading lock in Munster’s ranks, Tadhg Beirne. The Kildare man, along with Keith Earls, is on track to be fit for Munster’s first game back in action next month. However, out-half Joey Carbery remains pencilled in for a September return after his ankle surgery.

joey-carbery-and-matthew-rea Laszlo Geczo / INPHO Laszlo Geczo / INPHO / INPHO

“He (Carbery) is working very hard, he’s very excited about the comeback but specifically about Joey I think it’s very important that we only put him back on the field when he’s 100% ready.

“He’s so important for us. He’s one of only two senior out-halves that we have at Munster Rugby and he’s a starting international, so he’s not only important for us but for Irish rugby as well.”

 “So we’ll make sure he’s 100% ready when we put him back on the pitch and whether that will be at the back end of the first part of the Pro14 or the start of next season’s Pro14 that will still be determined.”

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