The return of competitive rugby could also see the first glimpse of World Cup winners RG Snyman and Damian de Allende in Munster colours when they travel to take on Leinster at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday night (7.35pm, live on RTÉ Radio 1).

Covid-19 has fast-tracked their Munster careers, having originally been due to commence at the start of next season following their respective switches from Japan, though it has also come with a downside; the rearranged Rugby Championship will see the pair absent for a six-week period in November and December.

That is for another day however and the here and now is concerned with seeing the pair don the red jerseys for the first time.

What can Munster fans expect from the gigantic lock and dynamic centre?

RG Snyman 

Rugged, hard-nosed forwards are probably appreciated as much in Munster as anywhere else in professional rugby, which is why RG Snyman looks to have all the tools to make his time in Ireland a successful one. 

Arguably the less well-heralded of the incoming World Cup winners having only made his Springbok debut in 2018, the Viking-esque second row was part of the formidable 'Bomb squad' as South Africa reached the pinnacle of Test rugby for the third time in Japan. 

Behind Lood de Jager as the first-choice partner for Eben Etzebeth, he was unleashed off the bench by Rassie Erasmus throughout the tournament to exploit tiring bodies among the opposition, appearing against England in the decider on the hour mark. 

He started against Canada in the pool stages and duly picked up the man of the match award. 

Standing at 6'9" and closing in on 120kg on the scales, it goes without saying the Munster pack is going to pack a stronger punch with the presence of the former Bulls player in their ranks. 

"He is an incredible specimen altogether. I have never seen anything like it, a very impressive, physical man," Peter O’Mahony said recently, a player not noted for a tendency to exaggerate.

The ballast he offers in abundance is the obvious starting point with Snyman, who spent three years with Honda Heat in Japan before pitching his tent in Ireland. 

The mistake would be to pigeon hole the lock as simply a battering ram, making hard yards to afford space for those further outfield.

While that attacking option is a card that will be played on occasions, there is also a subtlety not associated with men his size having played out-half in his youth. 

We need your consent to load this YouTube contentWe use YouTube to manage extra content that can set cookies on your device and collect data about your activity. Please review their details and accept them to load the content.Manage Preferences

Former Munster player Jean de Villiers described Snyman's skillset recently as "unbelievable" and his pace, sidestep and offloading game makes him a threat all over the pitch.

The video put out by Munster to showcase their new signing provided a flavour of what the fans can expect. 

Damian de Allende 

There is a strong case to be made that De Allende represents Munster’s highest profile signing since 2009, when fellow South African Jean de Villiers, also a World Cup winner at the time, joined the province. 

The centre hasn’t enjoyed a straight line to the top – he was somewhat of a late bloomer as a youth in Cape Town rugby with football his number one love, and has on occasions divided opinion in his homeland regarding his merits in the Test arena since making his bow in 2014, his case not aided by some niggly injuries. 

De Allende now is one of the most respected midfielders in the game, on both sides of the ball, with Chris Farrell speaking in glowing terms of his new team-mate earlier this week.

The 28-year-old, similar to Snyman, is a handful for defences by sheer physicality, but has more than one string to his bow. 

The 2015 World Cup saw the Stormers man truly arrive on the scene as the Springboks exited at the semi-final stage, while last year in Japan, he was a key figure in their memorable journey that resulted in a third World Cup title. 

He picked off tries in the quarter-final [Japan] and semi-final [Wales] and was at his defensive best in the decider against England. Former team-mate Bryan Habana had this to say on his performances during the tournament. 

"His ability to not only dominate the collision on attack and defence, but his passing - he’s probably one of the best passers I’ve ever seen in the game off both left and right." 

In a backline that has fallen short at the business end of the season for a lack of cutting thrust, the 45-cap international will add to Johann van Graan’s options and time will tell whether he will follow in the footsteps of Munster’s midfield imports such as Trevor Halstead and Rua Tipoki. 

Former Munster great Ronan O'Gara is excited about what he can offer - "I think at Munster too, a world class 12 can add huge amounts to them" and a positive start on Saturday would be the ideal place to lay down a marker. 

The one major concern for Munster fans regarding the pair is the fact they will continue to represent the Springboks. 

The province will kick-start their European campaign minus the services of Snyman and De Allende, who will be on duty for South Africa at the rearranged Rugby Championship over a six-week period in November and December. 

The two players have been signed to help Munster close the gap on their rivals in the Guinness Pro14 and Champions Cup, but a couple of early poor results in Europe minus the high-profile imports, would be a huge setback. 

That is of course a matter for next season.

Before all that there is the small matter of interprovincial derbies and a date against the in-form team in Europe prior to lockdown.

Snyman and De Allende have spoken positively of their first impressions since landing in Limerick, but the time for talking is almost over.

Follow Leinster v Munster (7.35pm, Saturday) and Connacht v Ulster (4.30pm, Sunday) via our live blogs on RTÉ.ie/sport and the News Now app, or listen to live commentary on RTÉ Radio 1.