Le Pays De France - England's Rowntree to succeed Van Graan as Munster head coach

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England's Rowntree to succeed Van Graan as Munster head coach
England's Rowntree to succeed Van Graan as Munster head coach / Photo: © AFP

England's Rowntree to succeed Van Graan as Munster head coach

Former England prop Graham Rowntree will succeed Johann van Graan as head coach of Munster, it was announced Tuesday.

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Rowntree, currently the forwards coach at the Irish province, will be promoted after signing a two-year deal that runs from July 1.

South African van Graan will leave the Munster at the end of the season to join English Premiership club Bath.

Rowntree, 50, joined Munster in October 2019.

He spent eight years as an assistant England coach, and filled that role with the British and Irish Lions on their 2013 and 2017 tours. He also had coaching jobs at Leicester and Harlequins.

As a player, Rowntree made almost 400 appearances for Leicester and won 54 England caps. He also toured with the Lions in 1997 and 2005.

"I am hugely honoured to be taking over the role of head coach for a club of this calibre, one that means so much to me and my family," Rowntree told Munster's website.

"We have thoroughly enjoyed every moment here, and I fortunately get to work with an incredible group of staff and players who share a common goal each day in striving for success."

Munster won the last of their two European Champions Cup titles in 2008 and have not won the United Rugby Championship club competition or any of its predecessors since 2011.

Earlier this month, in a sign of the changing power balance within Irish rugby union, they were well beaten 34-19 by Dublin-based Leinster, the URC leaders.

Munster are, however, still in the last 16 of this season's Champions Cup are just five points adrift of English side Exeter heading into Saturday's second leg in Limerick.

"I believe we have the established structures in place, with the resources and facilities to match, and that it will be a smooth transition for the coaching ticket we assemble in ensuring continued development and success for this club," said Rowntree.

Munster chief executive Ian Flanagan added: "Graham's extensive coaching experience and knowledge for the game makes him the perfect candidate to lead this squad forward."

Rowntree's new role means several members of England's staff at the 2015 World Cup, when the tournament hosts suffered an embarrassing first-round exit, now occupy key roles within Irish rugby.

Andy Farrell, like Rowntree a former England assistant coach, is now the head coach of Ireland and former England boss Stuart Lancaster is the senior coach at Leinster.