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Dublin: 7 °C Saturday 15 December, 2018

'When I walked through the doors I could taste winning... I'm very fortunate to be part of this'

Johann van Graan gives his first interview as Munster head coach.

New Munster head coach Johann van Graan on the training ground in Limerick this week.
New Munster head coach Johann van Graan on the training ground in Limerick this week.
Image: Bryan Keane/INPHO

“WHEN I WALKED through the doors I could taste winning,” says Johann van Graan in his first interview as Munster head coach.

Ahead of Sunday’s trip to Italy to face Zebre in the Guinness Pro14, van Graan has been on the training ground at the University of Limerick this week with backs coach Felix Jones and forwards coach Jerry Flannery.

The transition period will end on Monday when van Graan takes full control of the province, succeeding fellow South African Rassie Erasmus who — along with defence coach Jacques Nienaber — has returned home to begin working with the Springboks.

“From the first time I came here I saw that there’s quality people in the organisation,” van Graan, who had been serving as South Africa’s forwards coach, explained in an interview with Munster Rugby’s official website.

“I really enjoyed Felix and Jerry the previous times I was over. I had a very good debrief from Rassie and Jacques, so we’ve been planning for this all along. They [Felix Jones and Jerry Flannery] are taking the lead in the rugby this week.

“I’m now looking at all the meetings, looking at what happens in sessions, starting to build relationships with players; taking a bit of a back seat this week, looking forward to the game over the weekend and as from next week, Monday, I’ll take full control of the club.”

The 37-year-old added: “I’m very fortunate to be part of this. This is not at all about me, it’s about Munster Rugby, the people working here and the people that have been here before.”

Van Graan’s first game as the main man in charge will be Saturday week’s visit of the Ospreys to Cork in the Guinness Pro14. The attention then turns to the European Champions Cup for back-to-back clashes with Leicester Tigers.

“I couldn’t have asked for a better introduction,” he said. “I’m looking forward to it from a personal point of view but it’s not about me, it’s about the club — firstly doing well in the Pro14, and then hopefully giving a very good performance in the Champions Cup.”

Here’s the interview in full…

Source: Munster Rugby/YouTube

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Paul Dollery

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