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Damian de Allende rumoured to be Bath-bound van Graan's next target

By Paul Smith
Damian de Allende of Munster (Photo By Brendan Moran/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

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Having already seen their head coach and defence coach sign for Bath, a report has now emerged which suggests Munster may also lose influential centre Damian de Allende to the English Premiership’s basement club.


The South African World Cup winner is believed to be out of contract at Thomond Park at the end of the current season and according to the Rugby Paper he may join Johann van Graan and JP Ferreira in switching to the Rec.

De Allende, 30, is widely considered one of the world’s leading players following his consistent displays in South Africa’s series win over the British & Irish Lions last summer.

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Prendergast Munster
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Prendergast Munster

As a result his signature is widely sought after and a return to Japan – where he spent a brief spell prior to moving to Europe – is also believed to be a possibility.

Van Graan’s appointment to lead under-fire Bath director of rugby Stuart Hooper’s coaching team was confirmed prior to Christmas following a review conducted by Ed Griffiths – another man with strong South African links.

This has led to questioning of the 41-year-old former Springboks forwards coach’s commitment to the Limerick-based province’s cause, with a number of big names including Munster legends Peter Stringer and Keith Wood expressing concerns.

In the wake of Munster’s New Year’s Day URC defeat at the hands of Connacht former Ireland hooker Wood’s called for Munster to “change the game-plan or change the coach.”


This led to van Graan issuing an early-January statement in which he reaffirmed his allegiance to his current role.

“I’m leaving. I’ve given my reasons, I’ve got incredible respect for Munster Rugby and the Irish system and I’ll continue to do my very best until the last day I leave here,” he said.

“As I’ve said before, I see myself as a Munster man, my daughter was born here, I’ll always refer back to Munster as my club and I’ve done my best every single day that I’ve been here.”

However, a week later defence specialist JP Ferreira was confirmed as joining his boss at the Premiership’s 13-placed club at the end of the season.


The recruitment of a few trusted off-field lieutenants is a well-trodden route for leading coaches appointed to a new role – and this often involves head-hunting from a former club. For example, several of Cardiff’s support team followed Dai Young to Wasps before rejoining him in Wales.

However, if the loss of de Allende to Bath is also confirmed the questions asked by the likes of Wood and Stringer seem certain to resurface.


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