Munster made right choice with Johann van Graan, says Bernard Jackman

Munster made right choice with Johann van Graan, says Bernard Jackman

Bernard Jackman believes Johann van Graan is the perfect man to succeed Rassie Erasmus as Munster boss, writes Simon Lewis .

Van Graan will move from his post as Springboks forwards coach to Thomond Park next month, having signed a contract until June 2020.

Van Graan has been involved in the Springboks back-room set-up since 2012, when Heyneke Meyer brought him into the fold.

The 37-year-old has never held a head coach role before, but Jackman sees his arrival as a canny and sensible move by Munster.

“He’s come through the hard way,” the former Ireland international said.

“He didn’t play at a very high level. Heyneke Meyer appointed him as a technical analyst seven or eight years ago and I think he worked him to the bone and then moulded him into a forwards coach that led a dominant Bulls coach to a couple of Super Rugby titles.

“Then he was brought into the Springboks as forwards coach there so I think he’s a very detailed, technical coach, like Rassie is.

“He’s probably not as charming as Rassie, who is very comfortable in front of the media and is a very outgoing personality, but he’s very highly regarded in South African rugby.”

Jackman added on 2FM’s ‘Game On’ show: “Heyneke put him through a tough process of upskilling. Rassie is quite similar — he developed his own software for analysis that’s used by a lot of schools and clubs in South Africa.

“They’re both really technical coaches who understand the finer details of the game and also have a very clear philosophy of how the game should be played.

“It’s a really good carry-on for Munster to bring on someone who has a similar mindset to Rassie. It means you’re not starting from scratch.

“If you brought in a New Zealand coach or Australian coach who had a very different philosophy, you’d potentially lose the last year and half of progressive work under Erasmus.”

Jackman said that the involvement of Erasmus in Van Graan’s capture epitomised his strong feeling for the province.

This story first appeared in the Irish Examiner.

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