Tuesday 20 August 2019

'I'll do everything in my power to keep him here' - van Graan determined to see O'Mahony stay at Munster

Munster head coach Johann van Graan during a Munster Rugby Press Conference at the University of Limerick in Limerick. Photo by Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile
Munster head coach Johann van Graan during a Munster Rugby Press Conference at the University of Limerick in Limerick. Photo by Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile
Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

New Munster head coach Johann van Graan has said that he will do everything within his power to keep Peter O'Mahony at Thomond Park after the Munster captain rejected a new contract with the IRFU.

Ireland assistant coach Andy Farrell has been drafted into the Munster coaching set-up for two days this week to assist van Graan, who is currently without a defence coach, ahead of this Saturday's clash against the Ospreys at Irish Independent Park.

The new supremo is also dealing with an injury crisis after Chris Farrell was ruled out for six-to-eight weeks, while he faced questions about the possible departure of O’Mahony at his first press conference at the province’s University of Limerick base this lunchtime.

As well as preparing an injury hit team for Saturday's clash with Ospreys at Irish Independent Park, van Graan is also dealing with contracts and top of his list is retaining captain O’Mahony who has turned down an IRFU deal and is in negotiations with French and English clubs.

“I haven't spoken to Pete one on one yet, he's currently contracted to the IRFU until the end of the season,” he said.

“He's been offered a contract extension with some added benefits and I believe it's in the interest of Munster Rugby and of the IRFU to keep him at Munster and in Ireland.

“Luckily, that's hopefully not a done deal (that he's leaving).

“He stands for so much more, he's a Munster man through and through and I'm looking forward to having that discussion with him.

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“All the clubs in the world are concerned about losing players to England and France.

“Special players win big games, win trophies. He's our club captain and if I could in anyway help to keep him with Munster and within Ireland until the World Cup and then after that I'll do everything in my power.

“I'm in my first week, there are communication lines in place. I'm in contact with (Munster chief executive) Garrett Fitzgerald and (IRFU performance director) David Nucifora, I'm speaking to Joe Schmidt a lot.”

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