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Van Graan indicates Munster are looking for a new attack coach

The Munster boss indicated that he wants to keep Felix Jones and Jerry Flannery on board.

MUNSTER BOSS JOHANN van Graan has indicated that he is looking to add an attack coach to his staff ahead of next season.

The South African head coach has previously suggested he will bring in a new face to his coaching team but speaking at Munster’s training centre in the University of Limerick yesterday, van Graan revealed that it is likely to be a coach with expertise in attack.

Johann van Graan Van Graan at Munster training in UL yesterday. Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

Van Graan recently extended his contract as Munster head coach through until 2022, while defence coach JP Ferreira is contracted until 2020.

Current forwards coach Jerry Flannery and backline/attack coach Felix Jones are understood to be out of contract at the end of the current season as things stand, but van Graan suggested yesterday that he is keen to keep both.

“We will let you guys know as soon as I know,” said van Graan when asked if any progress has been made on the make-up of his coaching team. “We are in the process of sorting out our own staff first.

“I said over the last three weeks, it is crucial for me that we keep all of our staff within Munster and then possibly add somebody from the outside. As soon as we’ve got any news we will make an announcement.”

Asked about which area he is looking to add expertise in, van Graan pointed to attack.

“I think we can improve in all areas of the game,” said van Graan. “It is not the time to speak about it now, we can speak about it post-season, but I think the game has moved forward again so much over the last year, you’ve just got to look at World Cup cycles.

Felix Jones Jones is the current backline and attack coach at Munster. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

“After the World Cups, mostly the attack gets favoured and the closer it gets to a World Cup defence seems to be on top.

“You’ve just got to look at the game of rugby at this stage, look at what happened in the Six Nations, look what happened in the two [European] semi-finals – it’s pressure games, it’s aerial game, it’s field position – and after World Cups it seems to be more of an attacking game.

“Maybe that is an indication as to where, I believe, the game is going.”

With Jones seemingly set to be retained into next season, it will be interesting to note how the potential addition of a new attack coach would change the former Ireland and Munster fullback’s role.

31-year-old Jones is still a relative newcomer to coaching, although he has already worked with Joe Schmidt’s Ireland as well as in his permanent role with Munster since the start of the 2016/17 season.

It seems likely that van Graan will a senior attack coach to the mix, with Jones working alongside a figure with more experience in that area of the game.

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Murray Kinsella

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