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'Johann doesn't really want to be here' - Munster great questions Van Graan

By Ian Cameron
Munster coach Johann van Graan. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

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Munster great Peter Stringer has questioned how committed departing head coach Johann Van Graan is to the Munster cause, suggesting his heart isn’t with the province.

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A 14-man Munster edged past Ulster yesterday in their United Rugby Championship (URC) provincial derby in Thomond Park and Van Graan gave a typically flat response to the victory in the post-match interviews.

The South African is leaving for Gallagher Premiership side Bath, having made a mid-season U-turn on an earlier decision to stay in Limerick. It’s left noses out of joint in Munster, and the flat delivery given after their gutsy derby win appeared to annoy Stringer.

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“We very seldom have got that kind of emotional response from Johann, when Munster play well or Munster play poorly,” Stringer said on RTE last night. “Be honest, show your colours and put it out there, give us something to show that you feel you are part of this place and what the supporters are craving.

“You talk about the 80 per cent (win rate) stat, he’s thrown it around a lot. For me, rugby is more than just a stat, it plays on supporters’ emotions, players’ emotions and as a fan, for me, over the years.

“That stat stands for many other clubs around the world but for here, (there are) two reasons why it doesn’t: because of the history that has gone on here, previous successes.

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“And also because of Leinster’ success up the road, because of your fiercest rivals winning silverware, Munster winning three of the last 16 games against Leinster.

“All of those emotional things, on and off the field. You need to be bitter about it. I’m just not getting any emotion from Johann, feeling that he wants to be here and I think he doesn’t really want to be here, he changed his mind about his contract.

“For me, it’s about letting someone put up their hand and say, ‘I want to take control of this place, I want to show my emotion and what it means to me as a person to run this organisation’ and I’m just not getting that from him.”

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