Munster may look at 'short-term' signings but back squad for next season

Johann van Graan says ‘it is this group again next season’.

MUNSTER BOSS JOHANN van Graan says he will be backing the same squad next season after the province’s latest semi-final exit in Europe.

Saracens were clearly the better team as they beat Munster 32-16 in Coventry on Saturday but van Graan believes the players he has in his squad are good enough to close the gap in the coming seasons.

Johann van Graan Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Munster made big-name signings in Joey Carbery and Tadhg Beirne last summer, while Mike Haley, Arno Botha, Alby Mathewson and Neil Cronin also joined.

The only confirmed incoming player ahead of next season so far is scrum-half Nick McCarthy from Leinster, although Munster have been rumoured to be in the market for a marquee backline signing.

Asked if there is any scope for him to recruit from outside the province ahead of next season’s attempt to drive beyond the European semi-finals, van Graan indicated that he would be largely depending on the same players.

“At this stage, it is this group again next season,” said van Graan after Munster’s defeat to Saracens.

“Obviously, with the World Cup coming [from September until early November], you might get some short-term solutions if there are injuries and a lot of guys at the World Cup.

“But, we as a group have said we’re going to stick together.

“That’s why all of our big players re-signed: we believe in the plan.

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“It’s so important to get the message across – we want to win Europe, we want to win the Pro14. We’ve just got to do it step by step.

“I can’t emphasise enough, last season there were one or two things we could have done better [in their semi-final defeat to Racing 92] but today we were beaten by the better team.”

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Murray Kinsella

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