Van Graan leaves Springboks for Munster


Springboks forwards coach Johann van Graan has been released from his contract to join Munster as head coach, South Africa Rugby and the Irish province announced on Wednesday.


Van Graan has been part of the South Africa coaching set-up since 2012, working under head coaches Heyneke Meyer and Allister Coetzee.

“I was fortunate to be part of the Springboks set-up for six years and 69 tests and it was an incredible journey,” Van Graan said in a statement.

“Some of the words I associate with Munster Rugby are passion, excellence, ambition and integrity, and I feel very fortunate to be handed this opportunity.

Van Graan still needs to be given a work permit but this appointment had been widely expected.

“Rugby was the focal point of this process, and in Johann we are getting a recognised rugby intellectual with a proven track record and extensive experience working with a national side,” said Munster chief executive Garrett Fitzgerald.

The 37-year-old son of a Pretoria-based senior rugby official experienced highs and lows while part of the Springboks coaching staff.

South Africa lost by just two points to greatest rivals New Zealand in a 2015 Rugby World Cup semifinal thriller in London.

But the debut season of Coetzee last year was disastrous with eight losses in 12 tests — a calendar-year record for the Springboks.

“Johann is highly competent, extremely hard working and attention to detail is one of his great strengths,” said Coetzee.

SA Rugby chief executive Jurie Roux added: “The Munster appointment is an excellent opportunity for Johann to prove himself in a very competitive European environment.”

Van Graan moving to Munster continues a South African link with the Limerick-based team as Johan “Rassie” Erasmus is director of rugby there until December, when he returns home.

Munster have been European champions twice and runners-up twice and won the Pro12 (now Pro14) competition for Irish, Italian, Scottish and Welsh sides three times.

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Better known as Bunny, Took over after Pissant went over to the "Dark Side"


  1. Worst kept secret in SA Rugby confirmed. He was looking to jump ship for a while and one can hardly blame him.

    Good luck Johann. Time to go make your mark

  2. Toetie you clown. Just before the Ausie game Toetie was denying Johan might leave left, right and center. NOw he once again looks like a clown.

  3. Good luck Johann, will be interesting to see how you do on your own. I have a suspicion he might do better than expected when out of Heyneke and Toetie’s shadows.

  4. @Craven:

    I really am trying to stop my AC bashing lol… but what does that tell you? That either he is so misinformed by his own staff? Or that his ego yet again hates it when someone has the jump on him? Or that he really has no clue what is potting in his own camp?

  5. @bryce_in_oz: There are some pretty angry Bulls fans on social media saying because of his CEO dad at the Bulls that he got the easy road to fame.

    Don’t know his dad nor about his coaching credentials but Bennie rates him as a good coach.

    Muster job will show us in anycase

  6. @Jacques:

    Hah I get you now. HM would not have brought him into the Bok mould if Barend had forced him into the system. Besides I did not see any of the Bulls fans moaning when they one those two titles.

    Still a leap from assistant coach to DOR of a pretty powerful union.

  7. @Jacques: I think you misread a lot on social media. There were those stupid fans that said van Graan got the easy route due to his dad, but most people I know actually think he is very good. Sadly he couldn’t get the Bulls job, because it would’ve seemed like nepotism at a time when Barend was really under pressure with the Bulls having baantjies for boeties. Not convinced on Mitchell yet, would’ve loved for van Graan to get the job. Hope he has massive success at Munster, as I rate him really high.

  8. @Aldo: There is no way you can convince me that Van Graan is in the same mold as Mitch.

    I can tell you that although the Bulls still have issues it seems more in the board room on who to fire and who to keep.

    Xander I think your talent seeker is the man that seems to be the kak stooker.

    Van Graan have to proof himself and he has a massive opportunity with Munster now.

    Coaches has the worst side of the game so I always hope for them to come good and I really hope Van Graan take this and come back a world class coach.

    I must say and did say it in the week on something I wrote….I am very impress with the Bulls fitness and their attitude on the field. They have left the windgat stuff at home and play more as a team now than in the past 6 years.

    They will be getting some key experience guys back co,mes SR and I am quit excited for next year.

    Like you said before front row is a huge problem for them but I think they moving in the right direction.

    Take Du Preez this is his second year and the Sharks looks like a proper outfit playing good rugby.

    Now you just need that Xavier or what his name is to get you Ox and Coenie

  9. I just wish we could get some experienced coaching blood in at the Stormers. I actually think Fleck will be a good coach, but he needed to spend more time with other coaches apart from Toetie.

    How I wish we could have convinced Jake to come to Cape Town, but he will never want to dip his toes in the cesspool that is WP rugby politics.