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Former England coach Rowntree in talks with van Graan's Munster

The 48-year-old is currently part of the Georgia coaching staff ahead of the World Cup.

FORMER ENGLAND FORWARDS coach Graham Rowntree has emerged as a possible addition to the Munster coaching staff under Johann van Graan next season.

Munster are keen to add three new coaches to their backroom team and The42 understands that Rowntree, who is currently part of the Georgia national team staff, has visited Limerick this week to meet with the province.

Graham Rowntree Rowntree has coached on three Lions tours. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

48-year-old former England and Lions prop Rowntree would be an experienced and well-regarded addition for Munster if a deal is agreed.

He moved into coaching in 2007 as an assistant with Leicester Tigers, having played for the Premiership club close to 400 times.

Rowntree joined England’s coaching staff in 2008, initially as a scrum specialist, and went on to be forwards coach all the way through until after the 2015 World Cup.

Rowntree worked under Stuart Lancaster and alongside Andy Farrell with England from 2011 onwards, potentially meaning that the three key England coaches from the era that ended in disappointment at the home 2015 World Cup could end up working in Ireland.

Lancaster is now senior coach with Leinster, while Farrell is an assistant coach for Ireland and will take over as head coach when Joe Schmidt departs after this year’s World Cup.

Having been sacked by England in the wake of the 2015 World Cup as Eddie Jones took over, Rowntree joined Harlequins in 2016 and spent two seasons as the club’s forwards coach before departing in 2018 for personal reasons.

Rowntree has also coached on three consecutive Lions tours, taking charge of the scrum in 2007, the forwards in 2013 and then the scrum again in 2017.

Andy Farrell and Graham Rowntree with Stuart Lancaster after the game Rowntree with fellow England coaches Andy Farrell and Stuart Lancaster in 2014. Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

He linked up with Georgia as forwards coach last year as their preparations for the World Cup in Japan stepped up a gear and will be part of their efforts to beat Wales, Argentina, Fiji and Uruguay in Pool D of the global tournament later this year.

That would mean that Rowntree could only join Munster after the World Cup, although it is likely that Georgia’s involvement would conclude with the end of their pool campaign on 11 October. His contract is due to expire after the World Cup.

Former loosehead prop Rowntree’s scrum coaching expertise is attractive, particularly given that it ties in so well with his ability to coach the lineout and other areas relating to the forwards.

With experience at Test and club level too, his CV is an attractive one for Munster as they look to put in place a strong coaching team to move forward with head coach Johann van Graan, who is contracted until 2022.

The only other confirmed coach ahead of next season is defence specialist JP Ferreira, although Munster have interviewed current Wales attack coach Rob Howley.

Backline/attack coach Felix Jones and forwards coach Jerry Flannery announced that they would leave the province at the end of this season despite being offered new contracts by Munster.

With the southern province having been beaten by Leinster in the semi-finals of the Pro14 last weekend, their campaign is now over.

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About the author:

Murray Kinsella

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