Western Province director of rugby Gert Smal has revealed South Africa captain and former Munster star Jean de Villiers set up the deal that will bring centre Pat Howard to Ireland on a three-month loan deal.
The highly-rated 22-year-old will join Munster short-term as emergency midfield cover for the injured duo Keith Earls and Cian Bohane as head coach Anthony Foley waits for the deferred arrival from New Zealand of Tyler Bleyendaal. World Cup winner de Villiers, who captained the Springboks in Dublin last weekend as his Currie Cup-winning Western Province team-mates, including Howard, took on Saracens in a London friendly recommended the South African youngster to Foley. Smal, formerly Declan Kidney’s forwards coach in the Ireland set-up, then sealed the deal with Munster chief executive Garrett Fitzgerald.
“It’s a three-month loan deal and we look forward to welcoming Pat back in February,” Smal told the WP website.
“The move initially came about via Jean de Villiers, who of course played at Munster, and then I chatted with the Munster CEO and it was made possible by both parties.
“It’s a great opportunity for Pat, who can do with the game time and will be able to broaden his horizons as a rugby player and a person at a top club like Munster in some top-level competitions.”
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