URC: Johann van Graan’s ‘heart is in Munster’

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  • Peter Stringer
    Irish rugby union footballer

Munster head coach Johann van Graan has hit back at Peter Stringer’s suggestion that he is not committed to the province.

Van Graan has agreed a deal to join Bath next season, while recent performances on the field have been met by stinging criticism.

Questions have therefore been asked of the South African, with Ireland legend Stringer saying: “All of those emotional things, on and off the field. You need to be bitter about it. I’m just not getting any emotion from Johann, feeling that he wants to be here and I think he doesn’t really want to be here.”

The Munster boss disagrees, however, and is focused on helping the Limerick outfit challenge for silverware in the United Rugby Championship and Champions Cup.

Heart is in the club

“I absolutely want to be here,” he told reporters.

“I’ve committed until the 30th of June with this club. I’ve communicated that to all the right channels as I’ve stated in the middle of December.

“From my point of view, again I want to re-iterate – I know you guys don’t know me well from a personal point of view – but my heart is certainly in this club. It’s always been in this club.

“I’ve been open with this group. I will continue to do so and I’ll continue to put every bit I have into this club until I leave here on the 30th of June.

“I understand that people are incredibly proud of this club and they want this club to perform and this club to win. The only thing that I will say is, I am the exact same. All the staff, all the players in this HPC are the exact same. We all want the best for Munster.

“The important thing from my side is I’ve got a job to do and that’s being the coach of this group of players and this team. I’m very privileged and proud to be that and will continue to do so.

“It’s very important to note that the fans of Munster have been incredibly good to my family and I.

“I understand that some people are not happy with some of our performances and we as a group have taken responsibility, not because they think that way but because of our own standards.”

Van Graan did admit that their performances have not been acceptable over the last few weeks, but expects them to improve as their players get more game time.

“It’s well-documented that some of our performances over the last few weeks haven’t been good enough. I would say that yes, we can improve on performances week in and week out,” he added.

“Last week was probably the first week that we had most of our players back as a group training together and hopefully we can get some momentum.

“Look at someone like Jack O’Donoghue’s off the ball work for that try, he carried on the left, there was one more phase and he made that line break. To finish it off was very pleasing.

“We need more of that. Like I said, Friday night (against Castres) again is a very different battle to what the opposition is going to give you.

“They have got a very big pack of forwards. They will challenge us at scrum and maul time. They will kick long back into our own 22 and invite us to play out of there.

“Yes, we have got some phenomenal counter-attackers and we will use them at the right time. Hopefully we can deliver a performance that makes sure we get a good result on Friday evening.”

The article URC: Johann van Graan’s ‘heart is in Munster’ appeared first on Planetrugby.com.

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