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'That's special': Graham Rowntree confirmed as new Munster boss

By Kim Ekin
(Photo by Harry Murphy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

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Graham Rowntree will officially become the new Munster head coach from July 1 on a two-year deal, the ex-England and Lions front-rower securing a promotion from his current role as forwards coach when Johann van Graan leaves to take over Bath. It was 2019 when the ex-prop moved to Limerick following the completion of his World Cup duties with Georgia.

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Now in his third year in Ireland, the 2015 England World Cup assistant said: “I have made my thoughts about this club widely known throughout my time so far. For me and my family, it really has been an easy decision, a non-decision if truth be told. We have put down roots here and have no desire to move anywhere else.

“I’m hugely honoured to be taking over the role of head coach for a club of this calibre, one that means so much to me and my family. We have thoroughly enjoyed every moment here and I fortunately get to work with an incredible group of staff and players who share a common goal each day in striving for success for this club.

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I have talked about our fantastic supporters before and again at the weekend we stepped off the bus to a huge red welcome in Exeter. Who doesn’t want to be part of that, that’s special.

“I believe we have the established structures in place with the resources and facilities to match and that it will be a smooth transition for the coaching ticket we assemble in ensuring continued development and success for this club. Before then I have a role to complete this season and working closely with Johann, Steve (Larkham), and JP (Ferreira) is the immediate focus and priority for now.”

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The Munster statement confirming the promotion of Rowntree to head coach read: “With an impressive coaching CV and vast experience, Rowntree previously held coaching roles with the British and Irish Lions, England, Harlequins and Leicester Tigers. Working closely with the IRFU, the province will advance with the next steps in securing the backroom team that will work with Graham from next season as head coach Johann van Graan, senior coach Stephen Larkham and defence coach JP Ferreira depart the province at the end of June.”

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IRFU performance director, David Nucifora added: “I would like to thank the Munster professional game committee for their work and diligence during this process. It is important that Munster have someone who understands the unique history and culture of the club and has the experience to maximise the talent in the squad. Graham was very impressive throughout this process and demonstrated he has the capabilities to spearhead the next chapter of Munster.”

Ian Flanagan, the Munster CEO, said: “Graham’s extensive coaching experience and knowledge of the game makes him the perfect candidate to lead this squad forward. With Graham stepping up at the start of the new season it will be a seamless and natural progression from the work that has been carried out to date.

“For now, we will continue our focus on the remainder of this season with Graham supporting Johann and the coaching staff in achieving our goals.”

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