Johann van Graan is hoping his newly recruited assistants can provide Munster with the fresh ideas necessary to break the glass ceiling their recent campaigns repeatedly hit.
Back-to-back Heineken Champions Cup and Guinness PRO14 semi-finalists in 2018 and 2019 under the South African, van Grann has his fingers crossed that the Irish province’s recent coaching overhaul can make the telling end-of-season difference.
Former Wallabies assistant Stephen Larkham and current Georgia assistant Graham Rowntree have been respectively snapped up as senior and forwards coach and while both have yet to arrive at the club, van Graan is excited about what the pair can potentially bring to the mix.
“I’m really looking forward to Stephen and Graham coming in,” he said on the Munster club website after the departures of assistants Felix Jones and Jerry Flannery were offset by the quick-paced recruitments of Larkham and Rowntree.
“Stephen will be coming in in the second block (of pre-season in August). He was such a fantastic player and is a brilliant human being. He will fit really well with Munster and bring in one or two fresh ideas. I’m looking forward to working with him.
? VIDEO | Munster Head Coach Johann van Graan provides an overview of the pre-season training programme and speaks about the arrival of Stephen Larkham next month.
— Munster Rugby (@Munsterrugby) July 16, 2019
“I have known Graham for quite a long time,” he added. “He’s with Georgia at the World Cup now and as soon as he is finished he will join us.
“He will bring something different. He’s a fantastic guy, a typical Leicester forward that knows how to get a pack going. I’m really excited to get Graham and Stephen in.”
It won’t be until September 13, when they host Declan Kidney’s London Irish in Cork in a friendly, that Munster will dust off the pre-season cobwebs.
With Munster losing two assistant coaches today, it's worth reflecting on this RugbyPass piece published in the wake of their semi-final loss to Saracens https://t.co/dD7IdvaXCw
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) May 7, 2019
It is van Graan’s second summer with the province and he values the importance of this time of year. “The players have to recover mentally and physically, to get away from training each day, to get out of your normal routine,” he said.
“The most important thing is to find some balance, spend some time with your family and your loved ones and to get out of Ireland. A lot of guys travelled to widen their horizon. It was great to give the guys a bit off time off away from the game.”
WATCH: Joe Schmidt gives some insight on how Ireland’s World Cup preparations are going
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