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'Damian is a world-class player' - Johann van Graan hopes to keep De Allende at Munster

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Damian de Allende, left, and Conor Murray during Munster rugby squad training at the University of Limerick yesterday. Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

Damian de Allende, left, and Conor Murray during Munster rugby squad training at the University of Limerick yesterday. Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

Damian de Allende, left, and Conor Murray during Munster rugby squad training at the University of Limerick yesterday. Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

The sight of Damian de Allende rocking up to Munster training this week was a welcome one, as the province hope that it is still a regular occurrence next season.

With De Allende out of contract in June, Munster face plenty of overseas competition to secure the future of one of the world’s leading centres.

The 29-year-old’s performances for South Africa in recent months, firstly during the Lions Series and more recently the Rugby Championship, further enhanced his reputation.

De Allende was named in the Springboks squad yesterday, for the upcoming November Tests, and with the United Rugby Championship set to take a break following this weekend’s round of action, Munster will welcome De Allende back for the start of the Heineken Champions Cup in December.

His presence at training means De Allende is also available for selection for this weekend’s trip to Swansea to face the Ospreys. However, after a heavy workload, it remains to be seen if Johann van Graan springs his compatriot into action.

“Damian is a world-class player, I think everybody knows that,” Van Graan said. “You just have to look at his performance in that last Test for South Africa against the All Blacks.

“Whether it is carrying or tackling, or post-contact skills, his decision-making, it’s great to have him back. That’s why we signed him, and why he’s such a big part of our plans. He’ll be raring to go.

"We’ve got one game this week, and we’re in a bit of a break, and if selected for South Africa he’s got another week off before he joins them, and then after the November internationals he’ll be with us until June, which is brilliant.

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“The positive out of that is that once the Irish national players go to the Six Nations we have Damian available.”

The major downside to De Allende’s excellent form is that big-spending clubs are on high alert, as he enters the final months of his contract.

With private investment having helped bring World Cup winners De Allende and RG Snyman to Limerick, Van Graan is optimistic that both will still be at the club next season.

“He’s definitely part of our plans,” the Munster head coach added.

“We really rate ‘Doogz’, he’s one of the very best and the future will tell what happens, and as per any player, once we have any announcement to make, we’ll do it in the future.

“He’s one of the best players in the world, that’s great that one of the best players in the world is playing for Munster, so that’s our ambition. We’ll certainly work together with Munster and the IRFU to look at our options.”

Conor Murray is set to return against the Ospreys, but Chris Farrell has been ruled out until at least the end of November.



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