Munster defend Grobler inclusion as South African named in matchday 23

The lock is in line to make his Guinness PRO14 debut off the bench against Zebre

BY Stephen Long 12:23 Friday 9 February 2018, 12:23 9 Feb 2018

Gerbrandt Grobler who's in line to make his Guinness PRO14 debut at the weekend ©INPHO/Bryan Keane

Munster Rugby have defended the signing of Gerbrandt Grobler, confirming he will be considered for selection during his time with the province.

Grobler has been named in the matchday 23 for Munster's Guinness PRO14 clash with Zebre tomorrow night, starting among the substitutes.

Munster's decision to sign the South African has been the subject of intense debate in recent weeks, after he tested positive for an anabolic steroid in 2014.

The now 25-year old served a two-year ban, returning to the sport in October 2016.

A number of pundits and former players from both Munster and further afield criticised the signature, but the IRFU defended the move in an interview with Off The Ball's Ger Gilroy.

In the past few moments Munster Rugby and the IRFU have released a statement in relation to Grobler's inclusion, saying "it would not be within the spirit and values of rugby to turn its back on every person that ever made a bad decision, having made restitution".

They also stressed the "zero tolerance approach to doping" taken by Irish Rugby, and their support of all WADA anti-doping policies.

The statement in full reads:

In relation to Gerbrandt Grobler’s selection for the province, Munster Rugby and the IRFU wish to reiterate that Gerbrandt, as a member of the Munster squad and living by our values, will continue to be considered for selection during his time with the province, once deemed fit.

While some hold the view that rugby should provide no road-back for those that have taken a banned substance in the past, it would not be within the spirit and values of rugby to turn its back on every person that ever made a bad decision, having made restitution.

Irish Rugby is recognised as operating one of the most stringent testing environments of any rugby nation with a zero tolerance approach to doping in the sport. The province and Irish Rugby are fully supportive of all WADA and World Rugby anti-doping policies.

Gerbrandt Grobler served a two-year ban from rugby and returned to play for Racing 92 in November 2016 as per the process set out by World Rugby.

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