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'The biggest reason I came here was because of coach Johann' - RG Snyman relishing Munster challenge

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RG Snyman. Photo: INPHO

RG Snyman. Photo: INPHO

RG Snyman. Photo: INPHO

RG Snyman has already raised a pint with his new Munster team-mates on a trip to Dublin to eye up the Aviva Stadium where they tackle Leinster in the eagerly-awaited resumption of competitive Irish rugby later this month.

But he is also keen to raise a trophy above his head with his new side as they bid to end an nine-year trophy drought.

And while he may have won a World Cup under a former Munster head coach, the formidable second-row insists that the current Thomond Park boss can truly bring him to a world-class level as he bids to hit the ground running with his new side.

The double capture of Springbok world champions - centre Damien De Allende is the other - has raised eyebrows north and south of the equator and while the natural assumption is that Munster have most to benefit from the big money signings, lock Snyman stresses he has much to gain too.

“First of all, it's a very tradition-rich club and mainly the biggest reason I came here was because of coach Johann,” he says, referencing van Graan, successor to 2019 South African World Cup winning coach Rassie Erasmus.

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Munster coach Johann van Graan. Photo: Sportsfile

Munster coach Johann van Graan. Photo: Sportsfile

SPORTSFILE

Munster coach Johann van Graan. Photo: Sportsfile

“I've worked with him in the past and I know the quality of coach he is. That's why I thought it was the best decision to come to Munster.

“The first time I met Johann was in High School which is quite a while back. I haven’t really worked under him that much even though I’ve known him for a long time.

“I do know he is a quality coach and speaking to anyone who has worked with him, I have only heard positive things. That’s what I am looking forward to and also expanding my game within the detail that he brings. I think I am in the best place for him to being me to a world-class level.”

Van Graan has himself reflected that the 25-year-old, 6’ 9” behemoth has room for improvement and Snyman agrees.

“That's the biggest reason why I came here. We're on the same page but I think I still need some work done on the smaller details from a technical side, so working under him is great for that because he's very technical and his off-field work is very detailed.

"I really enjoyed my time in Japan but just from my career perspective, I thought it was a better move for me to come over to Munster under coach Johann to keep moving forward and to keep bettering myself.

“The rugby in the northern hemisphere is a little more physical so I’m looking forward to that. Also broadening my game a little in terms of set-piece, I am looking forward to that as well.

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Munster's Springboks Damian De Allende and RG Snyman. Photo: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

Munster's Springboks Damian De Allende and RG Snyman. Photo: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

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Munster's Springboks Damian De Allende and RG Snyman. Photo: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

“The weather will play a big part in games. In the last couple of weeks, the weather has turned a little bit and it is not as easy to hold on to the ball as it might be in South Africa or Japan. So I will have to adapt a little bit but it should be okay, I can adapt.”

Intriguingly, Snyman revealed that he and De Allende did not come as a package but actually signed separately and totally unaware of each other’s plans until the deals were finally completed.

“It’s very nice to have him over here. At the time I signed, I didn’t know he was coming over as well. We only found out late that we were coming together.

“I’m really happy that it is him specifically because he is a great guy and a hard-working player as well. I’m looking forward to seeing him in some good collisions as well.”

He is aware of Munster’s predominantly pedigree tradition of South African imports, headed by European Cup winner Trevor Halstead and including another World Cup medal winner in Jean De Villiers.

"To be honest, I didn't know a lot of the South African guys before I came here so I didn't really talk to them about my decision in coming over here.

“I did speak to Rassie Erasmus. It only came out that I was going to Munster towards the end of the World Cup I think, so I did speak to him a little bit. He only had good things to say so it reassured me that I made the right decision."

Snyman had to undergo quarantine on arrival in this country but life on and off the field continues to accelerate towards the mouth-watering meeting with Leinster – and he even had a chance to sneak a couple of Guinness on the squad’s mini-trip to Dublin.

Quenching Munster’s yearning thirst for trophy success would be much more meaningful.

“The main thing for us is just getting back to rugby at the moment and then once we hit the field, just performing at our best. We'll just take it one game at a time and if we end up winning, it will be a bonus.”

Online Editors