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Graham Rowntree reveals RG Snyman setback

By RugbyPass
(Photo by Juan Jose Gasparini/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

Springbok lock RG Snyman’s injury woes were compounded this week when his Munster coach Graham Rowntree confirmed he would not be back in action “for some time.”

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It was widely expected that Snyman, who has been through several injury setbacks since joining the Irish club, would be available for the Springboks for their November tour, or at the very least for Munster when they play a South African XV in a tour match in Cork in November.

But the news will come as a body blow not only for the club but for Springbok fans as well, as the World Cup-winning giant has been sorely missed since he started picking up one injury after another.

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Snyman has played just 54 minutes in two seasons for his club after picking up two cruciate knee ligament injuries and it seems he will be out for longer than expected.

“He’s not quite there yet. He’s had a very difficult year and we’re not pushing him. All I can say at this point, for the foreseeable, he’s not quite ready yet,” was all that Rowntree would say to media enquiries on his fitness.

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It seems a certainty now that Snyman will not be in action until after the November break, and perhaps even longer if the prognosis is as bad as feared.

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Rowntree is already under pressure as new coach of the team since Johann van Graan departed, losing to Cardiff and Dragons in opening round games that Munster would normally have ticked off as victories.

And now with a number of players in South Africa with an Emerging Ireland squad, Rowntree also has to contend with not having regulars Alex Kendellen, Gavin Coombes, Jack Daly and Andrew Conway while South African-born lock Jean Kleyn is also in doubt.

The two defeats in two starts represents Munster’s worst start to the campaign since the Celtic League started in 2001-2 and Rowntree is highly annoyed. And now heading into a fixture against much improved Zebre, who have surprised pundits with their performances this season, Rowntree knows the pressure is on.

“I require honesty from my players, so they are going to get honesty from me, and they are comfortable with that. Again, we can’t hide away from our inabilities on Sunday,” Rowntree said.

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“Well, I could have done without it, to be honest with you. I would have preferred better results, but no, you deal with what’s in front of you. I have been around long enough to understand how to speak to people, control my emotions at the right time. But it’s a different experience (being head coach), a different experience.

“They are certainly not undercooked. I have never seen us as fit. It’s skills under pressure, things just didn’t work out for us and again, it’s a lot of stuff that we can control.

“Trying to force things that’s just not us. Ill-discipline, we’ve not had such a high penalty count for a long time. That’s on us. That’s our controllable.

“We have had a good, stern, honest review. We move forward. What else can you do? You work on what you can do and you look forward to the next game.

“As I said earlier, I have nothing but belief in the body of work we’ve done for the last few months. It’s just got to come out now. I can’t say to a guy ‘stop dropping the ball’, but I can say to a guy ‘we don’t practice that kind of pass, you’re trying to force things, stick to the plan’. They’re the ones that frustrated me, where we didn’t stick to the plan, and were trying to be too fancy. Trying to make overhead, long bridge passes, where little handling passages would do.

“The word I’ve used is I’m not trying to ‘sugarcoat’ anything. If there’s a bad game and mistakes and discipline, it has to be better. I put my hand up as head coach, but we’re working on it.”

– URCSA

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