Gerbrandt Grobler gets rapturous welcome as he makes his Munster debut in Thomond Park
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.
Munster score 33-5 bonus point win v Zebre. 5 tries. Big reception for Gerbrant Grobler when introduced. Sam Arnold with 2 tries. Copeland Man of the Match. Williams 150th cap & successful comeback from injury for Goggin #MUNvZEB— Colm Kinsella (@ckSportLeader) February 10, 2018
Great to see the Munster fans cheering on gerbrandt grobler on his first appearance.— Dan Costello (@dannyc150) February 10, 2018
Warm ovation at Thomond Park for Gerbrandt Grobler as he replaces Jean Kleyn in the engine room. #MUNvZEB— Colm Kinsella (@ckSportLeader) February 10, 2018
Grobler on the pitch for Munster. Gets a huge roar.— Eoin Sheahan (@EoinSheahan) February 10, 2018
"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."