This time last week Munster fans were in giddy form after kiwi news site Stuff reported that the province were chasing 60 times capped All Black Ben Smith.
The rumour seemed to have run it’s course when Rassie Erasmus denied the province were interested in signing the fullback, and would instead focus on developing indigenous talent. In any event, most supporters felt Munster would struggle to compete against the financial might of various Top 14 clubs.
However, the New Zealand Herald have contradicted Erasmus’ statement claiming that “few place any stock in the denial”. Furthermore, the kiwi publication believe Munster have offered Smith a monster €800,000 one year deal.
This puts the Reds ahead of Pau in the race to sign Smith, who the Herald believe have offered the fullback a contract worth €700,000. Although there is nothing to indicate that Smith will in fact leave New Zealand, the newspaper believe his wife “is keen on spending some time in Europe”.
Indeed, in a nod in Munster direction, the Herald noted the connection between the province and the All Blacks.
Smith would be a massive hit with Munster who have a deep appreciation of New Zealand rugby and played and beat the touring Maori just last month, and include a famous win over the All Blacks in their rich history.
While it would seem that Smith is eager to take a one year sabbatical, his destination remains unclear.
On this week’s edition of the Oval Office Podcast, we speak to Jamie Roberts and look ahead at the festive fixture list.
Alan Drumm, Pundit Arena