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Gerbrandt Grobler gets rapturous welcome as he makes his Munster debut in Thomond Park

Munster replacement Gerbrandt Grobler warms up
Munster replacement Gerbrandt Grobler warms up

South African Gerbrandt Grobler received a very warm welcome in Thomond Park as he made his Munster debut as a second-half substitute against Zebre in the Pro14.

Munster have been criticised for signing a player who had tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs, and after a lengthy spell on the sidelines due to injury, Grobler finally saw game time when he replaced Jean Kleyn in Munster's 33-5 win.

Munster took the unusual step of releasing a statement on Grobler to coincide with naming their team this week and they reiterated their support for the second-row.

"In relation to Gerbrandt Grobler's selection for the province, Munster Rugby and the IRFU wish to reiterate that Gerbrandt, as a member of the Munster squad and living by our values, will continue to be considered for selection during his time with the province, once deemed fit," said a statement from Munster and the IRFU.

"While some hold the view that rugby should provide no road back for those that have taken a banned substance in the past, it would not be within the spirit and values of rugby to turn its back on every person that ever made a bad decision, having made restitution.

"Irish Rugby is recognised as operating one of the most stringent testing environments of any rugby nation with a zero tolerance approach to doping in the sport. The province and Irish Rugby are fully supportive of all WADA and World Rugby anti-doping policies.

"Gerbrandt Grobler served a two-year ban from rugby and returned to play for Racing 92 in November 2016 as per the process set out by World Rugby."

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