Johann van Graan has shed light on the unusual situation currently existing in Irish rugby, explaining how the new signings at Munster such as RG Snyman have yet to even meet up with the full squad despite being at training in Limerick for some weeks now.

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Irish rugby is hoping to be part of the Guinness PRO14’s restart on the weekend of August  22 after the season was shut down in March due to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. 

A series of new signings have since arrived at the club, including 2019 World Cup-winning duo Snyman and Damien de Allende, but they have largely been kept at arm’s length from their new teammates due to the pandemic return-to-training protocols.  

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“Damian, RG, Matt (Gallagher) and Roman (Salanoa, Leinster) haven’t even met the whole squad because we have been training in small groups so guys are meeting each other over Zoom and Microsoft teams,” explained van Graan on the Munster website. 

“Everybody knows the ambition and dreams that we have as a club and it’s important to note that if you look at the four individuals, they all come from championship-winning teams and that is something that we want to become. Everyone would play tomorrow if we could because we are certainly missing the thing that binds us all together, which is the game of rugby.”

Premiership Rugby officials have reported that 13 of its players have tested positive in recent weeks for coronavirus ahead of the August 14 restart of the league in England, but players in Ireland have so far reported a clean bill of health.

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“Who knows what will happen in the coming weeks so we will just take it day by and luckily that is something we have been doing all along. We just hope that we can all keep to our government guidelines and keep everybody healthy and safe and hopefully play a game of rugby again,” continued van Graan.

“We don’t see it as having to finish a season. When we started four weeks ago, we started with a new season and that was an important step for the team because we have some very good players that have moved on. We had to make a definitive stop and move on towards the future.

“There is a PRO14 to finish but we see that as the first competition that we’re playing in for the coming year. We’ve got two rounds of games to go and if we are good enough, we’ll qualify for the semi-final and there is potentially a final so that’s the way we’ve looked at it.”

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