Munster Rugby have today confirmed that Johann van Graan will replace Rassie Erasmus as head coach of the province next month.
Van Graan has penned a deal with the IRFU that sees him oversee operations in Limerick until 2020. He will work alongside current director of rugby Erasmus for the first month before the latter departs back to South Africa in December.
Munster have also confirmed that Jerry Flannery and Felix Jones will work alongside van Graan. The statement suggesting that no replacement has been made for Jacques Nienaber.
Van Graan, whose role as forwards coach at the Rugby World Cup 2015 secured a third-place medal for the Springboks, is a well-respected figure in South African rugby circles with names like Heyneke Meyer and current Springboks head coach Allister Coetzee lauding him for his technical expertise and analytical skills.
The son of Blue Bulls chief executive Barend van Graan, Johann first cut his teeth as a video analyst for the Super Rugby franchise, before moving up the ranks as attack and forwards coach, where he played an integral role in the Pretoria-based outfit’s back-to-back Super Rugby triumphs in 2009 and 2010.
— Munster Rugby (@Munsterrugby) October 11, 2017
Speaking on his appointment, van Graan stated that he is “immensely excited and honoured” in coming to Limerick to oversee operations for the next two and a half years.
“I am immensely excited and honoured to join Munster and to be part of a Club with a unique ethos and history dating back 138 years to 1879. Some of the words I associate with Munster Rugby are passion, excellence, ambition and integrity, and 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.”
Echoing the sentiments of the Springbok head coaches was Munster Rugby CEO Garrett Fitzgerald, who said: “After a worldwide search we are delighted to secure Johann van Graan as Munster Head Coach.
“Rugby was the focal point of this process and in Johann we are getting a recognised rugby intellectual with a proven track record and extensive experience working with a national side.
“An analyst of the game, his technical ability and interpersonal skills have made him an integral member of the South African rugby landscape for over a decade, and it is now time for an ambitious Johann to make an impact in a new rugby environment.
“We know Johann, with forwards coach Jerry Flannery and backline and attack coach, Felix Jones, will continue to establish the structures and processes required to bring this Munster team forward in terms of growth and success.”