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Johann van Graan confirms he will leave Munster at the end of the season

Van Graan was offered a two-year contract extension but has turned Munster down.
Coach Johann Van Graan is leavinf Munster. Photo: Sportsfile

Coach Johann Van Graan is leavinf Munster. Photo: Sportsfile

Cian Tracey

Munster have confirmed Johann van Graan will leave his position as head coach at the end of the season.

Van Graan was offered a two-year contract extension but has turned Munster down. understands Bath are very keen on hiring the South African, who has been in charge of Munster since November 2017, with talks believed to be well underway.

The current Munster coach believes now is the right time for him and his family to seek a fresh challenge, as he brings to an end his four-year stay with the province.

The impending departure leaves Munster searching for a new head coach, along with an attack specialist following Stephen Larkham's decision to return home to Australia to rejoin the Brumbies.

Although Munster's press release did not mention defence coach JP Ferreira, he is Van Graan's right-hand man, and as such, his future is up in the air.

It remains to be seen what lies ahead for Graham Rowntree, also out of contract at the end of the season, but the Englishman is understood to have settled well in Limerick with his family.

Van Graan brought a degree of stability to Munster but has not ended the long trophy drought. The 41-year-old will hope to sign off with silverware next year.

“While I was at advanced stages in the contract process earlier this year, I took a step back and reconsidered my options, prioritising what’s best for my family, myself, and Munster Rugby,” Van Graan said.

“My family and I settled well into life here, this is our home, and in an ideal world, we would love to continue living in Limerick, but I’ve been looking at the bigger picture.

“After arriving during the 2017/18 season, I am now into my fifth season with this group, and in putting Munster first, I believe it’s the right decision for me to call time on my contribution and step away at the end of this season.

“While we have achieved so much together, and still have over six months of the season remaining, I wanted any uncertainty about my future addressed as early as possible.

“Working with this coaching team, staff, and players we are always striving to do our best for Munster Rugby, and nothing will change on that front.

“It has been an incredible journey and I’m hugely proud of this group for everything we have done to date, knowing there is so much more to come as we move towards the business end of the season.”

Munster Rugby CEO Ian Flanagan added: “We will be disappointed to see Johann go at the end of the season. He will be widely missed after forming such close relationships across the organisation.

“Johann has been a valued addition to the province and integral to all the successes we have achieved over the past four years.

“His hands-on approach and tireless work ethic have ensured the structures are well in place for continued success and we know he will continue to deliver on all fronts for the remainder of the season.

“For now, we are working closely with the IRFU in looking to identify suitable replacements with the confirmed departures of both Johann and Steve (Stephen Larkham) next summer.”

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