Springbok World Cup winner RG Snyman believes Johann van Graan is the coach who can take him to world-class status as a player.
The South African lock, preparing for his Munster debut against Leinster on August 22 when the Guinness PRO14 season restarts at Aviva Stadium, on Tuesday said his main reason for joining the Irish province was the chance to work once more with former Springbok assistant and now Reds head coach van Graan.
"First of all, it's a very tradition-rich club and mainly the biggest reason I came here was because of coach Johann,” Snyman, 25, said during his first media conference as a Munster player. “I've worked with him in the past and I know the quality of coach he is. That's why I thought it was the best decision to come to Munster."
The lock, who stands 6ft 9.5 inches and weighs 18st 4lbs, was signed alongside fellow World Cup-winning centre Damian de Allende to help Munster make the leap from perennial semi-finalists into trophy winners but Snyman views it as a two-way deal, seeing a coach he first met as a schoolboy player in their mutual hometown of Pretoria as the man to take him to a higher standing in the world game.
“The first time I met Johann van Graan was in high school which is quite a while back. I haven’t really worked under him that much even though I’ve known him for a long time.
“I do know he is a quality coach and speaking to anyone who has worked with him, I have only heard positive things. That’s what I am looking forward to and also expanding my game within the detail that he brings. I think I am in the best place for him to bring me to a world-class level.”
Former Bulls forward Snyman, who joined from Japanese club Honda Heat, said he shared the same ambition as his new club in terms of wanting silverware, with Munster looking for a first trophy since 2011 when they return later this month to finish the 2019-20 league campaign.
"Of course. The main thing for us is just getting back to rugby at the moment and then once we hit the field, just performing at our best. We'll just take it one game at a time and if we end up winning, it will be a bonus.
“The rugby in the northern hemisphere is a little more physical so I’m looking forward to that. Also broadening my game a little in terms of set-piece, I am looking forward to that as well.”
Snyman agreed with van Graan’s assessment that he still has much to develop in his game before he can be considered the finished article.
"I really enjoyed my time in Japan but just from my career perspective, I thought it was a better move for me to come over to Munster under coach Johann to keep moving forward and to keep bettering myself.
"I actually agree with him and that's the biggest reason why I came here. We're on the same page but I think I still need some work done on the smaller details from a technical side, so working under him is great for that because he's very technical and his off-field work is very detailed.”