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'I wouldn't say yes or no' - Van Graan on prospect of POC and ROG returns

The Munster boss said O’Gara is ‘possibly the most sought-after coach in the world.’

MUNSTER BOSS JOHANN van Graan has refused to rule out a move to bring Paul O’Connell and Ronan O’Gara onto his coaching staff at the province next season.

O’Gara and O’Connell are playing legends at Munster and have moved into coaching in recent seasons.

Ronan O'Gara and Paul O'Connell celebrate O'Gara and O'Connell are legends in Munster. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

The former out-half is currently an assistant coach for Super Rugby champions the Crusaders in New Zealand but his current contract expires at the end of the 2019 campaign.

O’Gara moved into coaching with French side Racing 92, helping them to a Top 14 title and a Champions Cup final before departing for New Zealand.

O’Connell, meanwhile, is leaving Top 14 club Stade Français at the conclusion of this season.

He had a stint as forwards coach of the Ireland U20s after carrying out a part-time coaching and mentoring role with the Munster academy.

Munster boss van Graan, who recently extended his own contract through until 2022, intimated again today that he is looking to bring in additional coaching support ahead of next season.

Forwards coach Jerry Flannery and backs/attack coach Felix Jones are understood to be out of contract this summer, but van Graan hinted that he hopes to tie down both assistants, with defence specialist JP Ferreira already committed until 2020.

“We’ve first got to sort out the guys that we currently have,” van Graan told Virgin Media when asked about the possibility of bringing in new coaches ahead of next season.

“We as a coaching group are working very well together and obviously I came in mid-season last season and we got through last season, did all of our planning, and I’m really enjoying it.

“Everyone else is really enjoying it. We’re always open to adding some additional personnel. We’ll finish the year first and then make our decisions after.”

Johann van Graan Van Graan was speaking to Virgin Media. Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

Asked directly about the possibility of attempting to bring O’Gara and O’Connell back to their native province as coaches, van Graan refused to rule it out.

“Nothing’s ever impossible,” said the South African boss. “Paulie is doing some great work with Stade Français and he’s finishing up.

“ROG has been absolutely fantastic at Crusaders and he’s possibly the most sought-after coach in the world, if I’m not mistaken. I’ve been in constant contact with them, but there’s a lot of quality coaches all over the world and we’ll do what’s the best for Munster.

“Look, they’re fantastic people and fantastic coaches. We’re all on different journeys in our coaching paths, so I wouldn’t say yes or no to that.

“We’ll see what the future holds.”

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Murray Kinsella

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