CAPE TOWN, May 23 (Reuters) – Irish club Munster arrived in South Africa on Tuesday with a familiar face whose return to rugby could be a boost for his country at the World Cup later this year.
Giant lock RG Snyman, whose career has been plagued by misfortune in recent years, has been cleared to play in Saturday’s United Rugby Championship final in Cape Town, when Munster take on hosts and defending champions the Stormers.
Snyman was given the all clear along with Malakai Fekitoa, Conor Murray and Calvin Nash after the quartet missed the team’s semi-final win over Leinster with head injuries and having completed ‘return to play protocols’.
It’s an ideal opportunity for the 2.06m lock to remind the bouncers of his prowess as they begin to finalize their squad selection for the World Cup in France, which starts in September.
The 28-year-old was a member of the World Cup-winning team in 2019 but has not added to his 23 caps since the tournament in Japan.
Snyman was signed by Munster the next year, but suffered a torn ACL injury seven minutes into his debut that kept him out for a year.
During that time, he was badly burned when gasoline was thrown on a fire around which he and several teammates were sitting. Four Munster players required treatment for burns with Snyman the most serious.
He returned to the Munster ranks in September 2021, but in his third game he re-ruptured his cruciate ligament and spent a further 17 months on the sidelines.
Snyman has started three games and came on as a substitute in two others since his latest comeback in March, showing some of the old athleticism and lineout smarts that saw him selected for Test rugby.
He was huge as Munster beat the Stormers 26-24 in Cape Town in the pool stage.
“It felt like I was living the ultimate fan experience for about two years – training with the team, training with them, being around them but not playing,” he told the Irish Independent.
“It’s strange, it’s like restarting your career, but you have all the knowledge you’ve built up before after being out for so long.
“I’m trying to do what I can every week to get better and I hope the performances I’m putting in now and every moment I get I want to show that I’m capable of being back with the Springboks and put your hand up (for World Cup selection),” Snyman added.
Editing by Christian Radnedge
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