Munster's signing of Gerbrandt Grobler has been thrust into the public sphere this week as the South African nears his debut. Grobler was signed on a one-year deal to replace Donnacha Ryan. He also tested positive for steroid abuse in 2014 and had served a two-year ban.
Paul Kimmage wrote a column yesterday where he proposed a series of billboards for outside of Thomond Park, in the spirit of Oscars-favourite 'Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.' His proposal was:
IRISH BY BIRTH, MUNSTER BY THE GRACE OF STEROIDS
IS WINNING ALL THAT COUNTS?
WHAT ABOUT THE KIDS?
YOUR HEROES ARE CHEATING
AND STILL, YOU EMBRACE THEM
HOW COME, FOLKS?
Kimmage followed up on that column today. Speaking on Today FM, he questioned the impact this would have on Irish rugby and the knock-on effect on Munster's brand, while contrasting the IRFU's keep the game clean campaign and their stance on this:
All I'm asking Phillip Browne and the rugby community to do is spare me that hypocrisy when they go along, Phillip Browne and the IRFU rubber-stamp a decision to bring a steroid cheat in from South Africa to play for Munster.
The message this sends to the kids in their academy is 'kids cheat to win you'll get a contract with Munster and the Munster coach will put his arm around you and tell you everything is okay.
Kimmage was joined by Neil Francis and they both called on Grobler to reveal who advised him on his steroid use and helped him administer it. Kimmage also called on the Munster fraternity to speak out on the decision to sign the South African, asking 'where's Jamie Heaslip, Joe Schmidt all the boys mentioned in that previous stuff we did, Ronan O'Gara?'
In fairness to Ronan O'Gara, he did address the matter in an interview with the Independent yesterday:
I took creatine and all that stuff, but I don't think there are really issues with that. There is a difference between juicing [taking anabolic steroids] and taking supplements. I never saw people juicing, but I do think rugby has a problem. When you see South African schoolboys getting caught for it, you know it's there.
Gerbrandt Grobler made his competitive debut for Munster ‘A’, with his full debut fast approaching.
You can listen to the full interview here.