The signing of Jason Jenkins by Munster is the wrong decision, according to former Munster and Ireland hooker Keith Wood.
This decision has met with a lot of criticism, as Irish players like Thomas Aherne and other young second rowers appear to have been overlooked in favour of overseas players.
Speaking ahead of Munster’s losing effort against Toulouse in their Champions Cup knockout match, Wood suggested that Munster should have gone a different direction.
“For me it wasn’t the right move,” Wood said. “I didn’t like it; I think it sends out all the wrong signals to the youth.
“I understand there is a rationale behind it, but I think you can justify every decision and for me, I am very uncomfortable with that.
“We have to start using some of our talent that we have coming through, and we have to start maximising that talent.
“We need to do a huge amount of restructuring to get that pipeline from Munster. We need to get that pipeline delivering more players earlier, and better players earlier.
“Even so, I don’t think your first option should be to go overseas.
While he could see and understand the reasons for making the decision to sign the South African lock, Wood was not convinced by them.
“I know that there is a rationality to it,” Wood said. “There are two guys leaving, there are players injured, there will be players going to Ireland camp and maybe Lions as well.
“There are a whole variety of reasons why you can do it, but you could make that justification to change every player, one to 15 to try and find a better player in the world.
“For me, I would rather see a Munster home-grown talent brought into that situation.”
Watch Keith Wood's reaction to Munster's Champions Cup exit here:
Aherne not the worst effected by the Jenkins signing
Despite the likes of Aherne being the name everyone has gone to as the person being the most impacted by the signing of Jenkins, Wood suggested that it is the fringe players that deserve better.
“Thomas Aherne is a young guy,” Wood said. “I think there may be other players in the area just outside that could get a huge amount of [benefit].
“We know the PRO14 standard isn’t really good, so some of these players could get great experience at that point.
“I think Thomas Aherne offers huge potential, and he may need another year to do it. I understand that rationale, but I think he is a very high ceiling if you can get him through that period of time.
“I think there are other players, like Paddy Kelly maybe on the outside that should be closer to getting that chance and the opportunity to wear that jersey and try and deliver for it.
“You never know until you get the chance. I don’t know why you would go for what would have to be a big money offer for a guy from South Africa to come in.
“I think we have far too many players from overseas as it stands, so I think we are looking at the wrong direction.”
Jenkins will join up with the western province before the start of next season, as Holland and Stander bid for a final shot at silverware in the upcoming Rainbow Cup, due to start at the end of April with a series of local derbies.
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