Munster’s personnel issues in midfield have prompted the signing of the young and inexperienced South African centre Pat Howard on a three-month contract from Western Province.
The new man will link up with Munster should he pass the usual medical procedures and will help plug the gap left by the knee injuries to Keith Earls and Cian Bohane and the later-than expected arrival of Tyler Bleyendaal who is sidelined with a neck injury.
“With players ruled out due to injury and a few other niggles we want to make sure we have a full spread available before we enter the next crucial period and Howard can provide that additional support,” said Munster head coach Anthony Foley.
Part of the Baby Boks team that won Junior World Championship in 2012, he played against Munster’s and Ireland’s JJ Hanrahan and Niall Scannell but missed the final with injury.
His debut with Western province followed two months later against the Free State Cheetahs. Ten more Currie Cup appearances have followed since, while he managed 60 minutes against Saracens in a challenge game.
Howard was among a handful of Baby Boks invited to attend the senior side’s training camp at Langebaan prior to their own Junior World Cup bid two years ago, but his progress has not matched that of current Bok stars Handre Pollard and Jan Serfontein.
Indeed, Howard has yet to make the break into the big time of Super Rugby with the Stormers. Tagged as a centre by Western province and Munster, he has played much of his rugby recently on the wing.
He was not part of the squad that clinched the 2014 Currie Cup late last month. Jaco Taute and Juan de Jongh, who have 18 Springbok caps between them, made up the midfield pairing.
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