Now-erstwhile Munster lock Gerbrandt Grobler was offered the chance to play for Ireland before the offer was withdrawn, per an interview he has conducted with Gerard Meagher of The Guardian.
Grobler, now of Gloucester, spent last season at Munster but left at the end of the season following a mass outcry over his doping past. Grobler was banned for taking the steroid drostanolone while at the Stormers in South Africa. The positive test was announced in early 2015, backdated to October 2014 and expired in October 2016. Grobler played with Racing before arriving at Munster last season.
Given that the IRFU expound a "zero-tolerance" policy on doping, there was huge criticism of the Union's decision to hire a convicted doper. In the wake of the criticism, the IRFU admitted that they would review policy, and Grobler left for the Aviva Premiership.
Speaking to The Guardian, Grobler revealed that there was a three-year contract on the table, only for it to be revoked amid the media storm. Given Grobler fell under the original three-year residency rule, he would have been eligible to represent Ireland at international level by the end of that contract. Grobler also admitted that he didn't want to leave Munster.
There was actually a three-year contract on the table. There was a bit of debate whether or not I was going to stay and then, when the news hit, it was like: ‘He is going to leave; he should leave.’
I was contracted with the IRFU and there were a few conversations about signing a three-year deal. But obviously that was shot down very quickly after the media fiasco.
I didn’t want to leave at that stage but I learned a lot and it was like a year was enough for me of being questioned, even if it was four years ago. Nobody likes their past being thrown in their face the whole time and you can only take it for so long.
Read the full piece on The Guardian website.