Rugby

Departing Gerbrandt Grobler Felt 'Judged At Every Turn' In Ireland

Departing Gerbrandt Grobler Felt 'Judged At Every Turn' In Ireland

After a brief spell in Ireland, South African Gerbrandt Grobler will be playing for Gloucester in next season's Aviva Premiership. Signing for Munster less than a year ago, injury prevented Grobler from making his competitive debut for province until February of this year.

With Tadhg Beirne due to return to Ireland from Scarlets as a Munster player, the loss of Grobler is unlikely to be deeply felt.

Arriving with a record blighted by a failed drugs test and two-year-suspension, Grobler's place on the IRFU payroll gave cause for much debate far beyond his merits as a rugby player.

Although Munster attempted as best they could to limit the exposure given to his troubling past, Owen Slot of The Times, speaking to Grobler's new coach at Gloucester, Johan Ackermann, has revealed how this widespread concern for Grobler's past hindered his performances whilst playing for Munster:

Of course, [Ackermann] is perfectly aware of the rough ride that Grobler endured in the public eye at Munster.

At one point, Grobler called him and said that he could not concentrate on his game because he felt judged at every turn.

With Gloucester, the 26-year-old Grobler believes a fresh start is possible.

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In Ackermann, Grobler has not only a fellow South African, but a head coach who himself failed a drugs test as a player.

As Grobler alluded to in a discussion with the Limerick Leader; "Working with Johan was a huge part of my decision to come to the club, I had a long talk with him once about life and how you take learnings from things. He proved to me there is hope in life."

Keen to avoid the kind of scrutiny he came under whilst playing in Ireland, it is not a certainty that the English rugby community will be overly accommodating, but it is a risk Grobler is clearly willing to take.

See Also: Ulster Need IRFU To Overcome Differences And Agree Deal With Scottish Union

Arthur James O'Dea

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