TO say that the capture of Damian de Allende is a coup for Munster is an understatement.
Yes it will bring discussion further down the line about how we develop Irish players to be of the same calibre as de Allende, but for now it is putting down a marker for Munster, their new CEO Ian Flanagan — because it will have to financed under his watch — and coach Johann van Graan.
It tells fans and opponents that Munster are intent on heading back to the top of the pile in the PRO14 and Europe.
De Allende was without doubt the star of the show for South Africa and was hugely instrumental in getting them to a World Cup final.
His ability to carry and to break first and sometimes second tackles on the way to the final gave the Springboks plenty of front foot ball.
No doubt van Graan had a huge part to play in the centre’s decision to come to Munster. There were plenty of clubs who would have wanted the World Cup winner in their stable, but he chose Munster obviously because of the vision van Graan and Stephen Larkham sold him on where they see their team going by next year.
Munster fans will, for their part, hope that they see him in action more than they saw his compatriot Jean de Villiers. The latter was brilliant when he did play, but was blighted by injury soon after his arrival.
Of course, de Allende isn’t the only World Cup winning Springbok coming to Munster. He will be joined by lock RG Synman.
Some of the chatter on social media was asking why we need a second row and the reason perhaps is that van Graan sees Snyman as the long-term replacement for Billy Holland.
Synman is a lineout caller and a great reader of setpiece and will, no doubt, make a huge impression when he comes, but again the question has to be asked about the young second-rows that Munster have and how their futures’ at the club will be affected.
Regardless, the fact that Munster can attract two players of such high calibre has to be seen as a positive.
No doubt it will form part of the conversation among the players this week ahead of their clash with Ulster at Thomond Park on Saturday.
Van Graan will be re-integrating most of his 12 Ireland players into training and will make the choice of who will be in his match day squad after Thursday's training session.
It gives him little time to get the Ireland contingent used to the new calls and some of the new plays that have been devised during the pre-season and the early games of the PRO14.
With the game against Ospreys in Europe to follow the weekend after, it is a must to get as many back on the pitch as possible this weekend, even if it means it effects their fluidity for the game.
Munster lead their conference after their win in Cardiff last weekend and van Graan won’t want to see them slip off their top perch ahead of the two European games.