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New-look fixture list will rob Munster of Springbok power

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TOP HONOUR: South Africa head coach and former
Munster boss Rassie Erasmus and South Africa’s RG
Snyman pose with the Webb Ellis Cup

TOP HONOUR: South Africa head coach and former Munster boss Rassie Erasmus and South Africa’s RG Snyman pose with the Webb Ellis Cup

TOP HONOUR: South Africa head coach and former Munster boss Rassie Erasmus and South Africa’s RG Snyman pose with the Webb Ellis Cup

Post-pandemic ramifications abound in the sporting world these days.

Most have had clear consequences; others, utterly unintended.

Many months ago now, when Munster somehow smashed their piggy banks - with a little help from their friends - to pitch up the mammoth sums required to sign two World Cup winning players, they would have hoped not to be losing them to far-flung New Zealand before this year was out.

Hindsight is 2020 vision, one presumes. RG Snyman and Damien De Allende may be setting pulse rates soaring down south but their already disrupted provincial calendar will be dismantled still further by the prospect of late year international commitments.

For if the Rugby Championship is re-scheduled for later this year, it seems almost certain that despite it clashing with the hungry province's aching ambition to re-conquer Europe, their two big-money men will be working for a former Munster coach - Rassie Erasmus - not the current one - Johann van Graan.

Indeed, one half of the bruising Bok duo confirmed this yesterday via a Zoom media conference, sky-scraping second-row Snyman reiterating his intention to bid for a hat-trick of international titles if the New Zealand-based Rugby Championship gets the go-ahead in November and December.

Stunning

"Me, personally I will," said the 23-times capped player who was one of the stars of South Africa's stunning triumph in Japan last year.

"There is still a lot going on to see if the games in the Rugby Championship will go ahead.

"But yes. I am lucky Munster are allowing me to play for the Springboks."

Call it the law of unintended consequences; Munster's former favourite, Rassie Erasmus, laid down his World Cup winning marker by redirecting his country's policy towards the selection of overseas players.

He was hardly going to limit the practise merely because his South African successor would like to assume exclusivity.  

"Rassie is very straight forward so everyone in the team knows where they stand," adds Snyman of the South African boss, who will hold the whip hand when November comes calling.

It's a bitter pill for Munster and their success-starved supporters to swallow, as there may have been much more wriggle room had the 2020 calendar proceeded as planned before the global pandemic atomised best-laid plans.

For now, the province will hope that they can hit the ground running with their derby date this month against Leinster looming large as an early opportunity to measure their ability to close the gap on their rivals.

One of the primary factors in the IRFU allowing Munster to acquire two non-Irish qualified players was a tacit admission that their squad, frankly, simply wasn't good enough and required buttressing.

Reputation

Snyman and De Allende will add heft, for sure, but there is sure to be pressure on them to ensure they can deliver upon their reputation and handsome salaries. "I think the best thing you can do is try to embrace it and not let down everyone that has high hopes for you," said Snyman.