Monday 23 October 2017

Taute: I would have cried if I hadn't been allowed to stay on

Munster's Jaco Taute. Photo: Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile
Munster's Jaco Taute. Photo: Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile
David Kelly

David Kelly

An uncertain week for Munster, with the only certainty, if form and logic are to be believed, a Champions Cup quarter-final success beckoning against flagging former giants Toulouse.

Donnacha Ryan may be off, while the head coach's future, and consequently that of his loyal number two, is now openly a matter for discussion.

The expected player overhaul this summer, then, may or may not continue to have the fingerprints of Rassie Erasmus all over it, which leaves the future of rampaging compatriot Jaco Taute, well, uncertain.

The 26-year-old has been a bedrock for one of the best defences in Europe and he has also crossed for three tries during a campaign which, nominally at least, was supposed to end at Christmas.

A clever little bit of contractual jiggery-pokery that upset their friends in the north allowed Munster to retain a second overseas international in their back-line until the end of the season, however, and Taute will once more join All Black Francis Saili on the field this weekend.

From next season, however, two into one will not go; should Munster annex either of their twin title tilts, the decision to release one or the other will be done with a much less heavy heart.

Had it been necessary three months ago - as many, particularly in an Ulster province being forced to part ways with Ruan Pienaar, presumed would be the case - the parting would have prompted far more sorrow.

"I think I would have cried," admits Taute, whose devotion to the red jersey has earned him an intimate bond with the Thomond faithful.

"I feel it would have been sad not to play or be involved. I'm just very grateful. Yes, I count my blessings every day. It's been a special time so far but it's not over yet. We've got some hard work to do and it's exciting."

Just like the future of other colleagues, so much may remain uncertain but the primary focus of what can be achieved will take priority for now.

"I don't know yet," he says when asked of his future. Having told us in December he was definitely off, perhaps caution is advisable.

"We'll have to see. I would love to play here but there is still a lot of water to run under the bridge so we'll take it week by week.

"I've been doing that for the past number of weeks and it has been paying dividends. So I don't like to look too much ahead into the future, except just running out on the pitch and giving it my all."

Toulouse beckon; a mammoth clash of fallen European giants seeking to rise once more. Taute surveys Thomond as a European battleground of old.

"I'm very excited, it's going to be cool. I've had a few similar occasions and it's going to be all-out warfare.

"I think it's a special game between Munster and Toulouse because they have been in finals, there have been knock-outs before so they will be coming here to get a scalp at home so it's going to be all-out warfare.

"It's going to be crazy and I can't wait for it."

Irish Independent

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