Johann van Graan hails Billy Holland as a 'phenomenal man' on and off the field

Holland, 35, will call time on a 14-year Munster senior career when the 2020-21 season comes to an end
Johann van Graan hails Billy Holland as a 'phenomenal man' on and off the field

Billy Holland and Munster head coach Johann van Graan. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Johann van Graan paid tribute to Munster veteran Billy Holland following the lock’s announcement he will retire at the end of the season but insisted there was plenty of rugby left in the campaign before the time for goodbyes arrived.

Holland, 35, will call time on a 14-year Munster senior career when the 2020-21 season comes to an end having last Friday moved past Ronan O’Gara to become the province’s second most-capped player on 241 appearances behind fellow second-row Donncha O’Callaghan (263).

The Corkman said on Monday his decision allowed him to go out on his own terms and while he still enjoyed playing the game he loves, with head coach van Graan describing him as a Munster legend.

On Tuesday, as he looked ahead to Munster's crucial Guinness PRO14 home game with Connacht on Friday night at Thomond Park, the South African followed up by adding of Holland: “I'll always start with the person because this game that we play is about people and a phenomenal man, I've said that before, an incredible family man and a husband and father, friend to a lot of people and a really Munster man.

“I think respect is one of the word that pops up, integrity, work rate and then example, the example that he sets for others and that's what this club is about.

"Billy has never been the guy who plays 50 Test matches but he's the guy who turns up every single week for this club and we've got to give credit in that respect.

"He'll be sorely missed but like Billy and I discussed, it's not about goodbyes, it's just an announcement, we've still got a big season ahead of us, a PRO14, some games in the Champions Cup, and hopefully a Rainbow Cup so still a long way to go in this season for him, but (an) incredible human being.”

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