Munster look set for more off-field disruption during the season with reports emerging that fitness chief Aled Walters is poised to take up a role with Rassie Erasmus in South Africa, writes John Fallon.
Indeed, it is believed that Walters, now in his sixth season with Munster, will be moving to South Africa in the coming months to work with the Springboks.
The Welsh native, who joined Munster for the 2012-13 season as strength and rehab coach and whose title is now head of athletic performance, is a key member of the backroom team.
Walters, who previously worked in Superb Rugby with the Brumbies and with Taranaki in New Zealand, is one of the most popular members of the management team and his departure will be a big loss for players.
Munster have already had to deal with the premature departure of Erasmus and defence coach Jacques Nienaber, with Johann van Graan taking charge at the start of December.
Munster, after suffering festive losses at home to Leinster and away to Ulster, got their campaign back on track with a 39-13 win over Connacht and now face into key Champions Cup clashes against Racing 92 and Castres.
Walters, whose departure may be confirmed this week, has worked under four head coaches with Munster — Rob Penney, the late Anthony Foley, Erasmus, and more recently van Graan.
He initially joined as a strength and rehab coach and was promoted to head of fitness at the start of the 2014-15 season, with a title change to head of athletic performance two seasons later.
It is expected that Walters will be appointed to a senior role in the SARU under the guidance of Erasmus and that he will depart in March or April.
This story first appeared in Examiner Sport