Monday 28 May 2018

Van Graan ready to fight for 'takbok'

Munster head coach Johann van Graan. Photo: Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile
Munster head coach Johann van Graan. Photo: Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile

Declan Rooney

New Munster coach Johann van Graan says he is determined to repay the faith that Munster have shown in him by handing him his first professional head coach role.

New Munster coach Johann van Graan says he is determined to repay the faith that Munster have shown in him by handing him his first professional head coach role.

The new Munster boss ended his playing days at the age of 21 to turn his hand to full-time coaching, and now 16 years later he still understands why questions will be asked about his lack of experience.

"You know if it doesn't go well, people will say 'well that's his first head coach job'," said van Graan.

"I say you've got to start somewhere. For every new beginning in life you have got to fly on your own.

"I'm embracing it and obviously the people that appointed me saw something in me that they liked and hopefully I can repay that faith.

"In terms of arming me with what's to come, I can't see into the future. For me personally I've seen learning curves in my professional career, 2003, 2008, 2016 - there's going to be good times and there's going to be bad times."

Van Graan confessed that he was looking forward to his wife and two young boys arriving in Limerick later this week, but he said explaining to his eldest son that he'd have to shout for Munster's stag rather than the Springbok was one of the challenges he faced ahead of his move to the province.

A native Afrikaans speaker, Van Graan pointed to the Munster stag on his shirt and insisted he and his family will be taking the province to their hearts.

"Family is the biggest part of my life. When my wife and I decided to get married we said we'd love travel.

"We have got two very young boys which I love dearly.

"I had to convince my little boy that he's not going to support the Springboks at this stage, we are going to watch the 'takbok' as they call it in Afrikaans, the stag. So yeah, it was a big decision for me."

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