Saturday 24 March 2018

Munster boss Johann van Graan identifies his replacement for Jacques Nienaber

Lions defence coach JP Ferreira
Lions defence coach JP Ferreira
Brendan Fanning

Brendan Fanning

Munster are understood to be in talks with Lions defence coach JP Ferreira to join Johann van Graan’s team in Limerick.

Van Graan is still settling in as replacement for Rassie Erasmus and while initially it was thought he would handle the defence brief himself until the end of the season, and then go shopping, he is keen to fill the gap left by Jacques Nienaber as soon as possible.

“There’s one or two names as possibilities but I want to make sure that I get the right person here that will fit in with the way Munster do things,” he said last week.

“We’re thankful for Joe (Schmidt) - we’ve been in contact all along, Andy (Farrell) is here for today and tomorrow. The good thing is there was 14 players in the Irish squad. He and Jacques (Nienaber) also worked together pretty closely."

Ferreira has been at the Lions in Johannesburg since 2007 and has survived the coming and going of four head coaches in his time there. He was credited as being a critical figure in the Lions run to the Super Rugby final in 2016. He was also involved with the Springboks on their November tour last year when he would have worked with Van Graan.

Originally a video analyst with the Falcons in Gauteng, Ferreira graduated to the defence role after moving to the Lions. “He’s well respected and a very down to earth guy,” a former colleague of Ferreira said this morning. “I always expected Van Graan to fill that defence role as soon as possible because of the influence of Jacques Nienaber there. If it (negotiations) works out for both parties I’d say he’ll do a good job for Munster.”

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