Munster senior coach Stephen Larkham believes that the arrival of South African Jason Jenkins this summer will be good for player development at the province.
There has been something of a backlash since the announcement that the once-capped Jenkins had put pen to paper on a one-year deal.
The 25-year-old, who can play at either lock or in the back row, arrives from Japanese side Toyota Verblitz this summer with many fans taking to social media to voice their concern that the move could see up and coming homegrown players getting less game time.
However, Larkham has defended the signing, saying it will prove good for player development in the long run.
“We signed Jason as a back row that can cover second row,” he said.
“We’re losing CJ and as soon as CJ announced that to us, we tried to get into the market to find someone who could actually replace CJ. That’s our thinking behind Jason.
“He is covering back row first and he’ll offer experience to anyone and everyone in this team in whatever position he plays in or any other position in the back five in that forward pack.
“I can only say that if you’re genuine about winning silverware, which I’ve said we are and you guys obviously think that we are as well, you’ve got to have depth in your squad.
“There is going to be injuries, there is going to be guys called up to the national team and we need to make sure that we have got the depth in all of those positions and I think Jason gives us coverage in all of those positions.
“I think he is going to be immense for these young guys, particularly Thomas Ahern and Fineen (Wycherley), he’s going to be immense for their growth.
“Fineen has had a number of starts this year, he is just out with injury but hopefully coming back this week.
“We have been trying to give Thomas a chance up there as well. They have both been progressing exceptionally well. We are very happy with exactly where they are at in terms of their development.
“And then you have got other back rowers that are coming along, like Jack Daly and John Hodnett. I didn’t want to start naming names because there are so many to rattle through but there are plans to get all of these young guys game time.
“We are very cognisant that we are going to lose guys to the national team, to injuries, and that we need the depth in our squad. We are making sure that we are progressing those guys with game time as often as we can.”
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