RG Snyman signs new two-year Munster deal; Simon Zebo red card rescinded; Ulster coach Jared Payne to depart
Munster confirm Springbok RG Snyman signs new two-year contract, as 26-year-old rehabs a second consecutive ACL knee injury; Munster's Simon Zebo has red card vs Ulster for high tackle rescinded and will face no ban; Ulster defence coach Jared Payne will leave at the end of the season
By Michael Cantillon
Last Updated: 12/01/22 5:58pm
RG Snyman has signed a new two-year contract with Munster, as the Springbok World Cup winning second row recovers from back-to-back ACL knee injuries.
The 26-year-old signed on a two-year deal to join Munster following South Africa's Rugby World Cup triumph in Japan, alongside compatriot Damian de Allende, linking up with the province in the summer of 2020.
Just seven minutes into his debut against Leinster in August 2020, however, Snyman ruptured the ACL in his left knee, ruling him out of the entirety of the 2020/21 season.
The 6ft 9in lock returned to fitness at the beginning of the current campaign, emerging from the bench against the Sharks and Stormers in Munster's opening two fixtures, only to re-rupture the ACL in his left knee in a game against Scarlets in October.
With the South Africa international ruled out for the majority of, if not the rest of the 2021/22 season and out of contract in the summer, news that head coach Johann van Graan was departing to Bath left question marks over Snyman's future with Munster.
But he has signed a fresh two-year contract through to 2024, and Munster announced four further contract renewals on Wednesday: props Stephen Archer (one year), Roman Salanoa (three years), Liam O'Connor (one year) and hooker Scott Buckley (two years) have also extended.
Zebo's red card decision rescinded
Meanwhile, Munster back Simon Zebo is free to face Castres in the Heineken Champions Cup on Friday after his red card vs Ulster last weekend was surprisingly rescinded.
Zebo was sent off in Saturday's interprovincial derby in the 15th minute for making contact with the head of Ulster full-back Michael Lowry in the tackle, with universal acceptance a red card had been the correct decision.
Munster managed to turn the game around with 14 players and win 18-13 in Limerick, but Wednesday brought news from the United Rugby Championship that Zebo would face no suspension.
"The Disciplinary Panel of Declan Goodwin (Chair, Wales), Frank Hadden and Sarah Smith (both Scotland) considered all of the evidence and camera angles available and concluded that the Player's actions did not result in foul play," a URC statement read.
"In particular, on detailed examination of the video evidence, the Panel determined that it was No 10 of Munster Rugby who completes the tackle on Michael Lowry (No 15) of Ulster Rugby, with Simon Zebo only making minimal contact whilst wrapping his left arm.
"As a result, the player is free to continue playing this weekend."
Defence coach Jared Payne to depart Ulster
A further rugby line which dropped on Wednesday saw confirmation that Ulster defence coach Jared Payne would be departing the club at the end of the season.
Payne, who played for Ulster 78 times between 2011 and 2018 and picked up 20 caps for Ireland between 2014 and 2017, has been part of the coaching staff since May 2018 but is leaving for a coaching opportunity overseas.
"A big thank-you to the Ulster community, the fans, players and staff that have made my time here special," Payne said.
"I will forever be grateful for the opportunities and experiences that we have shared, and I look forward to hopefully adding to those over these final few months."
Head coach Dan McFarland added: "We all know how much Jared has given to Ulster, as a player, and as an important part of our coaching set-up since 2018.
"Jared has helped to shape who we are as a club over the past decade, and what we want to achieve, and his influence will continue to be felt in the years ahead. Jared's desire to learn and improve himself as a coach has been impressive and it has been this spirit, in particular, that has made him a core part of our culture.
"On behalf of myself, the support staff, and the wider club, I would like to thank Jared for his significant contribution to Ulster, and he leaves with our best wishes for this next chapter."