Keith Wood has criticised Munster’s latest South African signing, as he believes it sends out the “wrong signals” to young players in the squad.
Munster announced they were signing once-capped Springboks lock Jason Jenkins last week, as a means of replacing the departing CJ Stander and Billy Holland at the end of the season.
While the sizeable South African forward is expected to bring plenty of quality to Munster’s pack, Wood told Off The Ball that he was disappointed that Munster didn’t turn to their youth to plug the gap.
🗞️ CONTRACT NEWS | Diarmuid Barron & Fineen Wycherley have signed contract extensions, Jason Jenkins will join the province next season & Academy quartet Thomas Ahern, Jack Crowley, Jack Daly & Josh Wycherley are being promoted to the senior squad!
Full details ⤵️#SUAF 🔴
— Munster Rugby (@Munsterrugby) March 30, 2021
“For me it wasn’t the right move. I didn’t like it; I think it sends out all the wrong signals to the youth,” Wood commented.
“I understand there is a rationale behind it, but I think you can justify every decision and for me, I am very uncomfortable with that.
“We have to start using some of our talent that we have coming through, and we have to start maximising that talent. We need to do a huge amount of restructuring to get that pipeline from Munster.
“We need to get that pipeline delivering more players earlier, and better players earlier. Even so, I don’t think your first option should be to go overseas.”
‘You need to get these guys into the system as quickly as you can’
While the former Munster and Ireland hooker was disappointed by the southern province’s latest signing, Wood does believe there is cause for optimism for the future.
News of talismanic number eight Stander’s departure at the end of the season came as a blow to Munster, but young back rower Gavin Coombes has stepped up to the plate for the province in recent times.
Has a torch been passed? 🔥
— Off The Ball (@offtheball) April 3, 2021
“I think he has had an incredible season. He’s been phenomenal. He has a great sense of power. You just need to get these guys into the system as quickly as you can,” Wood explained.
“When he got a chance – he took his chance. As did Craig Casey this year, as did Ben Healy and Josh Wycherley this year. There is a handing of the baton on. It does have to happen.”