Munster’s new Director of Rugby will not be Dave Wessels, but his South African compatriot Johann van Graan, according to reports, writes Stephen Barry.
The Springbok forwards coach is expected to operate alongside outgoing Munster boss Rassie Erasmus, before he and Jacques Nienaber return to South Africa at the end of the year, according to the Irish Times.
Van Graan began his coaching career at the Bulls, where he got his start as a video analyst before progressing to assistant coach. He worked under Heyneke Meyer with the national team and was the only coach retained by Allister Coetzee after the 2015 World Cup.
He was contacted by Bath to become their interim head coach last year, but remained with the Boks.
“When I appointed him, nobody knew who he was,” said Meyer in 2014.
“He never had a name and there were questions about him, and it was a risk I took. But to be honest it was probably the best appointment I’ve ever made. For one, because he came with no baggage, no background and secondly the way he grew in the position.
“Everywhere that he goes now, he has immense respect from coaches all over the world. That shows me it was the right appointment to make. He has been asked by all our Super Rugby franchises to pitch in and help.”
South Africa host Australia tomorrow and New Zealand next weekend to conclude their Rugby Championship campaign. They have beaten Argentina twice, drawn with the Wallabies and were whitewashed by the All Blacks in their four games to date.
Van Graan is expected to link up with Munster after next weekend.
My info on Johan v Graan was that Munster wanted him and Dave Wessels as a duo. Pity that didnt happen.— Brenden Nel (@BrendenNel) September 29, 2017
The previous frontrunner for the Munster role Wessels chose to remain in Australia to take over at the Melbourne Rebels.
“For me, the decision was driven by a strong feeling of unfinished business in Super Rugby,” said Wessels.
“I'm very passionate about rugby and the game in this country has provided me with the opportunity to fulfil my dream to coach professionally. Part of repaying this faith is realising the success that I know we're capable of.”