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Johann van Graan signs ultra-long-term deal at Bath

By Josh Raisey
(Photo by Patrick Khachfe/Getty Images)

Bath head of rugby Johann van Graan has signed a new deal with the club which will keep him at the Rec until 2030.

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The South African is in his second season in the West Country after arriving from Munster in 2022 and his plans appear to be taking shape.

After an indifferent first season at the club, finishing eighth in the Gallagher Premiership, Bath have vastly improved this season, and sit in third place in the league with two rounds remaining.

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Van Graan speaks of the “journey” that Bath are on, and plenty of his players have committed to that journey by also signing new deals.

With Ross Molony, Francois van Wyk and Guy Pepper set to join the club at the end of the current campaign, next season has plenty of promise for Bath.

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“I’m proud to be committing my future to this historic club in Blue, Black and White and I am loving the journey we are on,” van Graan said after signing the deal.

“Rugby is about people, purpose, creating memories and making a difference and my family and I are looking forward to our future in Bath.

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“I’d like to acknowledge and thank the board, staff, players, and supporters who, together, make Farleigh House and The Rec such special places. We are creating a unique culture with purpose, and we are in, all in, all the time.

“The journey we have been on together as players and staff since I joined has been about getting better every day, becoming a team that’s tough to beat, and creating an identity that can deliver success over the long-term – the best is yet to come.”

Bath chief executive Tarquin McDonald added: “Since joining us in 2022, Johann and his team have delivered a revival on the pitch, created a genuine team ethos, and built belief in what Bath can achieve. There is a clear vision, alignment, and pride in the shirt.

“These are exciting times for the club. We have big ambitions for rugby success, to grow the game, and to regenerate the riverside with an amazing new home for the club.

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“We have the right leadership in place to grasp the opportunities ahead of us both on and off the pitch.”

Bath slipped down a place in the Premiership on Friday after a loss to reigning champions Saracens at the Rec, who moved into second. Bath face the winless Newcastle Falcons in the next round, where van Graan will be hoping his side can exert more pressure on the top of the table and come close to booking their place in the semi-finals.

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Jon 1 hours ago
British & Irish Lions free agent open to Super Rugby switch

There are a couple of teams who could use a stop gap experienced head. Blues - I’m not sure the Blues have signed a replacement for Caleb Tangitau (if he hasn’t been let go to make room for Barrett) yet, or whether Reiko is going on sabbatical and/or will remain in the squad. With exciting young French player Xavi Taele looking destined for higher honors in black, talented breakthrough rookie Cory Evan’s, and a couple of utilities, in AJ Lam and Bryce Heem(even Clarke?), all trying to learn the midfield trade, Williams could be a great aid. The Blues signed key English center Joe Marchant before he was raised to that level, and were possibly in the hunt to bring back the dependable Tele’a from the Highlanders. Possible the main squeeze which would put to bed any signing here would be the battle at 10 with Beauden’s return, and the forcing of Plummer back into the midfield. Hurricanes - Jordie Barrett is off to Leinster for a sabbatical next year but the more likely signing would be Billy’s brother back in the team. The Hurricanes are light on the outside with the loss of Salesi Rayasi to the Top 14 and if no quality is found to back up Kini Naholo, the midfield of Sullivan or Proctors could find themselves on the wing and space for a leader to show the Hurricanes three All Black midfield hopefuls (Higgins, Proctor, Umaga-Jensen) how its done. Highlanders - Rotation is high as usual at the Highlanders and versatility remains a strength with a lot of the squad. With compatriot Rhys Patchell signing a move to the JRLO, the passing of outside back Connor Garden-Bachop, and confirmed departure of Argentine wing Martin Bogado, the versatility of many of the young backups in the squad could see a veteran 12 like Williams being a strong partner for the robust Tele’a. With hope that the other Umaga-Jensen brother can force him out of the starting lineup, and shifting the sides general Sam Gilbert back into 10, the off-contract midfielder might seen as the perfect option for a squad still looking to fill one back spot.

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