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Dublin: 3 °C Saturday 23 March, 2019

Munster confirm Johann van Graan to take over as head coach

The province hope to have a work permit for Van Graan by mid-November to allow him begin a transitional takeover from Rassie Erasmus.

Image: PA Archive/PA Images

MUNSTER HAVE TODAY confirmed the appointment of Johann van Graan as their new head coach on a two and a half year contract to tie him to Thomond Park until June 2020.

The Springboks assistant coach has been allowed to cut his contract with the South African Rugby Union short and will replace his compatriot Rassie Erasmus in the southern province with the latter moving home to take up a role as the national team’s director of rugby.

The province hope to secure a work permit for Van Graan by mid-November and from that point he will work alongside director of rugby Erasmus to help ensure a smooth leadership transition.

While Van Graan has never held a head coaching position before, he has long been held in high regard by former Leicester and South Africa boss Heyneke Meyer for his tactical brain, detailed analysis and technical coaching ability.

“Some of the words I associate with Munster Rugby are passion, excellence, ambition and integrity,” Van Graan said in a statement releaded by Munster today.

“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.”

Rugby Union - Rugby World Cup 2015 - South Africa Captains Run - Twickenham Stadium Heyneke Meyer with Johann Van Graan during the 2015 World Cup. Source: Mike Egerton

Meyer appointed Van Graan to his Springbok backroom team in 2012. The man known as ‘Aap’ has been linked with roles as both forwards coach and interim head coach with Bath in recent seasons. His name was also in the mix when the Blue Bulls were on the hunt for head coach, though with his father Barend positioned as the chief executive of the Bulls, it was probably wise for both parties to avoid such an obviously conflicted path.

“Johann is an exciting addition to our coaching team,” says outgoing boss Erasmus, “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.”

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