Confirmed: Johann van Graan is the new Munster head coach

Johann Van Graan has been confirmed as Munster's new boss, following an announcement from South Africa Rugby, writes Simon Lewis.

The 37-year-old will leave his post as Springboks forwards coach after being released from his contract following the conclusion of this summer's Rugby Championship, which ended last weekend.

Van Graan will replace fellow South African Rassie Erasmus, who is set to quit as Munster's director of rugby, midway through a three-year contract, to return to SARU in a newly created DoR role.

Speaking about his new role Johann van Graan said: “I am immensely excited and honoured to join Munster and to be part of a Club with a unique ethos and history dating back 138 years to 1879.

“Some of the words I associate with Munster Rugby are passion, excellence, ambition and integrity, and I feel very fortunate to be handed this opportunity.

“I am looking forward to working with the Munster players, support staff and supporters on this new journey, and to become part of their community.”

While not carrying the title of director of rugby, Munster said van Graan would be taking on the same responsibilities as Erasmus and will work alongside the outgoing boss subject to obtaining a work permit, “which the province hopes will be attained by mid-November, to ensure a seamless transition”.

The incoming Munster boss has spent the last six seasons with the Springboks having been recruited from the Bulls by former Boks coach Heyneke Meyer. Van Graan was part of Meyer's backroom staff that won three Super Rugby titles with Bulls.

The news broke on Wednesday afternoon from South Africa with a statement from SA Rugby CEO Jurie Roux, who thanked Van Graan for his services to the Springboks and backed him to be a success with Munster.

“Johann has proven himself as an outstanding coach and he has a very bright future ahead of him,” Roux said.

“The Munster appointment is an excellent opportunity for him to test and prove himself as a head coach in a very competitive European club rugby environment.

“I have no doubt that Johann will be successful in his new role and the next chapter of his coaching career. From SA Rugby’s side, we would like to wish him and his young family all of the best.”

IRFU Performance Director, David Nucifora said: “Johann is an exciting addition to our coaching team and we are delighted to welcome him to Irish rugby.

“His track record with the Springboks and the Bulls, in Super Rugby, is impressive and we are confident he will use this experience, and more, to continue the progress in Munster Rugby.”

Munster Rugby CEO Garrett Fitzgerald said: “After a worldwide search we are delighted to secure Johann van Graan as Munster Head Coach.

“Rugby was the focal point of this process and in Johann we are getting a recognised rugby intellectual with a proven track record and extensive experience working with a national side.

“An analyst of the game, his technical ability and interpersonal skills have made him an integral member of the South African rugby landscape for over a decade, and it is now time for an ambitious Johann to make an impact in a new rugby environment.

“We know Johann, with forwards coach Jerry Flannery and backline and attack coach, Felix Jones, will continue to establish the structures and processes required to bring this Munster team forward in terms of growth and success.”

KEYWORDS: rugby, munster


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