Munster head coach Johann van Graan has denied that bringing in two South Africa teenagers is detrimental to the development of local-born Irish players.
18-year-old’s Matt Moore and Keynan Knox have joined up with the Munster academy. Knox is a tighthead prop, while Moore can play at centre or full back.
“Munster have done their succession planning very, very well. These two young players have been brought in before I came to Munster, but it has been a thorough process” Van Graan told the Limerick Leader newspaper.
“No, I don’t believe that it sends out the wrong message. I think the important thing for Munster is to look at the home grown players first. If you look at the current squad, I believe over 70% are home grown players and it is important that we back players from Munster first.”
“If players are identified, look at the senior squad, you possibly need to bring guys in I think every team in the world does it. We have a very good culture and history here at Munster and we need to look after that.”
Meanwhile there is good news on the injury front for Munster, with Tyler Bleyendaal closer to a return from his neck problem.
Van Graan is hopeful that the 27-year-old New Zealander would be back in contention to play within four weeks.
“I won’t say we’re out of the woods yet. We’re still taking it day by day like I said before. Obviously he’s our number one concern and he’s looking after himself very, very well and so are the medical team. It’s great to have him back at training, he’s a vibrant player.”
Bleyendaal, who has been out since October, was Munster’s player-of-the-season last year and Van Graan is itching to have him available.
Munster finished top of Pool 4 in the Champions Cup and host Toulon in the quarter-finals at Thomand Park on March 31st.
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