Munster coach Johann van Graan insists that Gerbrandt Grobler’s doping ban is a ‘thing of the past’.
Grobler tested positive for an anabolic-androgenic steroid in 2014 while he was still with the Stormers and Western Province, and received a two-year suspension after admitting his guilt.
He was then handed an opportunity with French club Racing 92, before signing a three-year deal with Munster and eventually making a return to play last October.
Grobler also recently had to overcome a serious ankle injury, but could finally make a return to action for Munster against Racing 92 this Sunday.
Van Graan, who coached Grobler at school level, told the Irish Independent that he believed the burly second-rower deserved his second chance.
‘He served his ban. He’s worked really hard to get back to fitness and then in the warm-up game, he had a big injury and he had to fight his way back. Obviously, he wants to achieve a lot of things in his life. He’s such a talented rugby player, so for him personally [there is] a lot to prove.
‘The ban in my view is a long time in the past. Like I said, every person on this planet makes mistakes, it’s how we come back from them. He’s fought through them really well, I thought, and he’s a quality individual so we wish him well in his journey back.’
Meanwhile, Van Graan said there were no hard feelings towards South African director of rugby Rassie Erasmus, who recently recruited Munster’s fitness guru Aled Walters.
‘Look, Rassie is a top, top quality coach. Whatever role he is going for in South Africa he’ll want the best people involved, so he wouldn’t have wanted Aled there if he’s not the very best.’
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