| 5.7°C Dublin

Larkham backs new signings to shine

Close

Stephen Larkham. Photo: Sportsfile

Stephen Larkham. Photo: Sportsfile

Stephen Larkham. Photo: Sportsfile

Wallaby legend Stephen Larkham reckons Munster have signed a pair of South African gems for next season with the capture of World Cup winners Damian De Allende and RG Snyman.

And with utility back Matt Gallagher, who is Irish-qualified, joining from Saracens, Larkham reckons the future is bright. Lock Snyman will beef up Munster's engine room, while centre De Allende and full-back/winger Gallagher will fall directly under Larkham's tutelage next season.

He said: "De Allende is an exciting player, isn't he? He has got very good skills, he is a big man.

"We played against him at Super Rugby level and at Test level. He is one of the best attacking players in the world. He is not a one-trick pony, where if you shut down his running game you are going to shut him down, he has got all the skill elements.

"He is somewhat of a kicker, he certainly has a good pass, he is powerful through contact, but he also has good evasion, so I think he is going to bring a lot of excitement.

"Matt Gallagher has performed exceptionally well for the games that he has played this year for Saracens. We think that he is going to add something a little bit different."

Head coach Johann van Graan intends spreading his squad across this three-game block during the Six Nations, against the Kings, Zebre and Scarlets, with Munster left with only the PRO14 to aim for this season after their Heineken Champions Cup exit.

Chris Farrell and Jack O'Donoghue, among 13 players released from the Irish squad for action this weekend in the PRO14, both start this evening against the Southern Kings in Cork.

Van Graan has handed a debut to back-rower John Hodnett, a hero of the Irish U-20 Grand Slam last year.

Jerry Sexton, younger brother of Irish captain Johnny, is in the second-row for a Kings side who have lost nine of their 10 games in the competition.

Munster - M Haley; C Nash, C Farrell, D Goggin, S Daly; JJ Hanrahan, N Cronin; J Cronin, N Scannell, J Ryan; F Wycherley, B Holland; J O'Donoghue, J Hodnett, A Botha. Reps: K O'Byrne, J Loughman, K Knox, G Coombes, C Cloete, N McCarthy, B Healy, R Scannell.

Southern Kings - A Loubser; C Hollis, S Sithole, E Cronje, E Ludick; D Catrakilis, S Ungerer; S Ferreira, J du Toit, R de Klerk; J Sexton, JC Astle; L Badiyana, B de Wee, R Lerm. Reps: A van Rooyen, X Vos, I Prinsloo, A Fortuin, T Bholi, L Dapula, J Allderman, C Winnaar.

  • Munster v Southern Kings, Live, eir Sport 1, 7.35

Irish Independent