Tuesday 16 October 2018

'I don't think they should be spending money rehabilitating drugs cheats' - Off The Ball host on Munster signing

30 October 2017; Gerbrandt Grobler of Munster trains separate from team-mates during Munster Rugby Squad Training at the University of Limerick in Limerick. Photo by Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile
30 October 2017; Gerbrandt Grobler of Munster trains separate from team-mates during Munster Rugby Squad Training at the University of Limerick in Limerick. Photo by Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile

Off The Ball host Ger Gilroy has questioned whether Munster should have signed South African second row Gerbrandt Grobler, who previously served a two-year doping ban.

The 25-year-old joined Munster last summer, and is in line to make his debut this weekend after an injury-hit start to the season.

However, now that his first appearance is on the horizon, questions have been raised about Grobler's past, after he served a two-year ban following a positive test for the anabolic steroid drostanolone as a 22-year-old with Western Province.

Munster boss Johann van Graan addressed the issue at his press conference yesterday, saying that 'everybody makes mistakes', but speaking on OTB AM this morning, Gilroy took a harder stance.

"What does it say to anyone in the Munster academy when a known, confessed drugs cheat who has served a ban for taking an anabolic steroid is brought into the club?," Gilroy asked.

"What does it say to the fans? What do the Munster fans have to say about this? If you are a sponsor, are you happy to be associated with the fact that this guy is representing Munster, the province and by extension, Irish rugby, and the brands that are associated with it?

"I just don't think enough of a conversation has been had about this. I don't really feel very comfortable with the fact that Irish rugby has decided that we are going to be the ones who help drug cheats rehabilitate their reputation.

"I understand that people do a crime, serve the time and need to be rehabilitated so there is a bit of conflict in that aspect to it. Maybe if he has decided to dedicate his life to a drug-free spot, fair enough, I can see something in that but we haven't see that so far.

"More of a conversation needs to be had around this and frankly, I don't think Munster should be spending money rehabilitating drugs cheats." 

Grobler spent the 2016/17 season at Racing 92 after completing his ban, the team who Munster will face in a crucial Champions Cup game in Paris this Sunday.

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