Incoming Director of Rugby Johann van Graan watched on from the stands at Thomond Park for Munster’s gutsy 14-7 Champions Cup victory over Racing 92.
Although it is not yet confirmed when the South African coach will officially take the reins in Munster departing Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus has mentioned the provinces Pro 14 trip to Zebre at the end of November as the most likely date, provided that van Graan’s work permit is approved.
“I don’t know all the details yet but if we take common sense and we think we’ve got the next two games and then it’s a three-week break. I think he’ll pretty much be in the mix for the next game against Zebre which is the end of November. He was with us all last week and then when he’s here we’ll sort out the finer details, he’s got a good idea now of the whole structure and we’ve exchanged some stuff in the last week.”
Erasmus is unsure if there will be much of a changing over period when van Graan does officially take up his position with the province.
“We’ll play it as it unfolds but my previous experience is after four or five days one guy is in the way because the other guy wants to start stamping his authority on the team, building relationships and changing a few things so look we’ll handle it on the run, whatever is best for the club but I foresee him being in charge for the Zebre game.”
Van Graan will come into the province having previously experienced a similar playing culture to that of Munster Rugby during his first coaching job with the Bulls, Rassie says that he will be a good fit for the province.
“That’s exactly him, high pressure situations, demanding wins, demanding performance, effort, he’s used to that and he’s been handling the highest level from the lower levels, he’s a very good fit for what Munster stand for and what the fans are like and what the club is like.”
Erasmus believes that the South African forwards coach is getting the chance to become part of a great club when he eventually joins up with Munster. “The club’s got a great character, the players and all of Munster, I’m not talking about me I’m talking about the way the club signs players and retains players and brings players through from the academy. To play the last eight European pool games and to only lose one, and you’re playing Racing, Leicester, you’re playing big sides. You don’t always have the big game players but they go and play in weather like that against big names and they pull through a win, even by seven points, it’s well done from the club.”