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'Johann van Graan the best fit for Munster out there' - Stander

The Ireland number eight said the new Munster coach will hit the ground running.

Joe Schmidt and Johann van Graan at the Aviva Stadium last Saturday.
Joe Schmidt and Johann van Graan at the Aviva Stadium last Saturday.
Image: Inpho

HAVING WORKED WITH Johann van Graan for four seasons at the Bulls, CJ Stander believes the incoming Munster head coach is the perfect candidate to succeed Rassie Erasmus.

Van Graan will take over the reins at the southern province next week following South Africa’s November Test against France in Paris on Saturday.

Stander admits coming into the position halfway through a season is not ideal but is in no doubt van Graan will adapt quickly and hit the ground running after spending a week in Limerick in the build-up to the Champions Cup game against Racing 92.

“It’s exciting and it’s also a challenge,” Stander said yesterday. “If a new guy comes in half way through the season, it’s a big job on his shoulders.

“But I think from a players perspective, we’re a good group of leaders. I think we have taken charge for the last number of seasons.

“He’s going to come in and we’re almost going to give him the way we’re want to play and he’s going to give us a few different ways he wants to play.

“He’s been here for a week and a half to see how we operate in a European week so he knows what it takes in a high level week.

“I think he’s the type of guy who will come in and slot in straight away. I think he is one of the best options we could have got. He’s the type of guy who will come in with his way of playing but he will adapt. I think we’ll push on from there. We’re doing well so far, a few mess ups here and there but nothing to worry about.”

Van Graan joins Munster from his role as South Africa’s forwards coach and arrives at Thomond Park with a considerable reputation having played a key role in developing the Springboks’ forwards and attack during the 2015 World Cup.

Johann van Graan Van Graan's last game with the Springboks will be against France this weekend. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Appointed on a two-and-a-half year deal, Stander is firm in the belief that van Graan is a perfect fit for Munster following the departure of Erasmus and Jacques Nienaber.

“Yeah, yeah, yeah. I think he’s the best fit out there,” the number eight added. “Coach-wise, he’s between Rassie and Jacques so that’s perfect.

“I worked with him before and you can hear from the other Springboks and some of the South African Blue Bulls team that he’s one of the best coaches they have worked with.

“I think where we are at the time of the year, in the middle of the season, this is the best guy who can step in and take over the job. I’m looking forward to going back.”

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