Munster Target ‘Marquee’ Signing But There’s One Problem


Munster Rugby are currently experiencing one of the worst periods in the province’s history so it will come of no surprise that they are in the market for some new talent.

Munster CEO Garrett Fitzgerald recently spoke out saying that the southern province can compete financially but that is not the issue it seems. Speaking on a podcast for the Munster Rugby website, former Munster winger John Kelly who is currently chairman of the province’s Professional Game Board has indicated they are in the market but are being frustrated by the IRFU’s policy for the signing of international players.

You have to look at our restrictions, there’s a perception out there that we can just sign a player no matter what his nationality or wherever he’s from which isn’t the case.

If you have Ruan Pienaar in Ulster it means that the other provinces can’t sign a NIQ No 9 so there’s a restriction on you straight away that you have to go after Irish players or players who can become Irish for the No 9 slot.

The IRFU has a big input on who you can sign and in what positions you can sign. If you’re looking for what we call the marquee player, and Frankie Saili would be in that marker, he’s an All Black, we would have to go and get permission to sign a centre and in particular a 13 and because of that no other province have the permission to sign a 13.

Munster are having real problems at outhalf at the moment and this could be the position the province are trying to strengthen. It should be noted that no other province has a marquee player in the ten slot. Munster do however have Tyler Blyedndaall who quite frankly needs to be given his marching orders based on his injuries problems. Kelly reiterated that Munster are only looking for a player who would make a major ‘impact’ on the team.

We’re always looking at our own succession plan and asking where do we need something special or a marquee player because when you go after a marquee player you’re not just filling a gap with somebody who’s slightly better than an Irish player, we want to go out into the market and get a player who is significantly going to impact our team.

South African Johan Goosen who currently plays in the Top 14 with Racing 92 has been linked recently but Ronan O’Gara was quick so squash those rumours this week, stating the former Sprinkbok will not be moving.

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