Gerbrandt Grobler Reveals IRFU Offered Him Three-Year Deal Before Media Witch-Hunt
Former Munster second-row Gerbrandt Grobler has revealed that he was originally offered a three-year deal by the IRFU before the huge media fiasco surrounding his previous doping ban forced them to scrap their offer.
The South African previously served a two-year ban for steroid use, but had since continued his playing career with Racing 92, before eventually signing a one-year deal with Munster.
“There was actually a three-year contract on the table,” Grobler told the Guardian.
“There was a bit of debate whether or not I was going to stay and then, when the news hit, it was like: ‘He is going to leave; he should leave.’ I was contracted with the IRFU and there were a few conversations about signing a three-year deal. But obviously that was shot down very quickly after the media fiasco.
“I didn’t want to leave at that stage but I learned a lot and it was like a year was enough for me of being questioned, even if it was four years ago. Nobody likes their past being thrown in their face the whole time and you can only take it for so long.”
Grobler blames a “slow news week” for the media witch hunt – which began several months after he had originally signed for the southern province.
“If I can sum it up, it was a slow news week. When the news broke I was just coming back from rehab and it fuelled my fire more. And then I reached the stage where I didn’t really care what people think and that’s the biggest freedom you can have – to play without worrying what someone thinks about you and says about you.”
Grobler also noted he was on the verge of depression, something Donncha O’Callaghan pointed out was a danger at the time, before eventually being given another chance at Gloucester under head coach Johan Ackermann – a fellow South African who also made some doping mistakes in the past.
“I would almost say I was a bit depressed but the sun does shine again. You can use all these things to say there was a silver lining. You move on and I have nothing bad to say [about Munster].”
“It’s now all in the past for me. I’m really comfortable with people bringing up my past because it doesn’t faze me, I’ve moved on from it. It’s not going to hold me down.”