‘Walking through these doors I could taste winning’: Van Graan loving his first week at Munster

New head coach Johann van Graan says he could “taste winning” in the air when he first walked into the Munster camp, writes Stephen Barry.

The former Springbok forwards coach described his introduction to the province since arriving for good on Sunday in his first interview ahead of Sunday’s PRO14 trip to play Zebre.

“I am loving my time thus far,” said Van Graan.

“It has been very busy the last few weekends. I was here for the Racing game, flew to South Africa and went straight into Springbok camp. I finished off with two test matches, the last one on Saturday evening against the French.

“This is my third day at the office. I’m loving it at this stage and very happy to be here.”

The 37-year-old described the feeling walking through the doors of Munster’s new High Performance Centre at UL and ranks it among the best anywhere.

Munster head coach Johann van Graan during Munster Rugby squad training at the University of Limerick. Photo by Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile

“When I walked through these doors, you could taste winning.

“I've been to spots like the New England Patriots, the Westpoint Academy, just north of New York, and Racing Metro. This rates up there among the best in the world.

“I'm very fortunate to be part of this and this is not all about me. It's about Munster Rugby, the people working here and the people who have been here before.”

Van Graan has taken a back-seat to Felix Jones and Jerry Flannery this week, but will take “full control” from Monday.

“I really enjoyed Felix [Jones] and Jerry [Flannery] the previous times I was over. I had a very good debrief with Rassie [Erasmus] and Jacques [Nienaber].

“We have been planning for this all along. They’re [Jones and Flannery] taking the lead in the rugby this week.

“I’m looking at all the meetings, the sessions, starting to build relationships with players, taking a bit of a back-seat this week.

“I’m looking forward to the game over the weekend and from Monday I will take full control of the club.”

PaperTalk: Can Nemo dethrone Crokes and what can be done with internet trolls?

Peter McNamara, Rob McNamara and Eoghan Cormican discuss the racist online abuse of Republic of Ireland international Cyrus Christie and assess Sunday's Munster club final clash of Munster giants Dr Crokes and Nemo Rangers.

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