Confusion over Van Graan's immediate Bok future

2017-10-12 09:09
Allister Coetzee (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Johann van Graan's departure to Munster means Allister Coetzee will soon experience yet more change to his Springbok coach team. 

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The current Bok forwards coach has put pen to paper to join Munster as head coach until 2020, but at this stage it is unclear when exactly he will join the Irish PRO14 outfit. 

Munster, according to their website, are hoping to secure Van Graan's services as early as November. The hope is that he will work alongside current Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus for a period until Erasmus joins SA Rugby, but that is reliant on Van Graan being granted a work permit. 

Sport24, though, has learnt that SA Rugby is still hopeful that Van Graan will be a part of the Springbok coaching staff for their end-of-year tour for Tests against Ireland, France, Italy and Wales.

Either way, there is more change on the way and it is no wonder that, when pressed on the Van Graan/Munster link in Bloemfontein following the recent Rugby Championship 27-27 draw against the Wallabies, Coetzee went on the defensive. 

READ: Coetzee lashes out at Van Graan's Munster link 

Since he took over as Springbok coach in April last year, Coetzee has had little stability in terms of his backroom staff. 

He was initially given a coaching team that was not of his own selection, with the young Mzwandile Stick Coetzee's first backline coach. 

Back then, ahead of the Ireland series, Coetzee had Jacques Nienaber as his defensive consultant before turning to Chean Roux for the Rugby Championship. 

By the end-of-year tour, Coetzee had roped in JP Ferreira from the Lions to help on defence while Franco Smith replaced Stick. 

Then, at the start of 2017, Coetzee secured the services of Brendan Venter on a consultancy basis. 

Van Graan, meanwhile, has been ever-present in the Bok set-up during the Coetzee era. 

His departure to Munster means that, regardless of whether or not he is immediately replaced, the Boks could head to the northern hemisphere on their end-of-year tour next month with more new faces in their backroom staff. 

Things will change even further when, on January 1, 2018, Rassie Erasmus joins as South Africa's Director of Rugby. 

How exactly that will play out and what it means for Coetzee is not entirely clear at this stage, but it does at the very least mean more change. 

Then there is the case of Venter, who will seemingly look to split his time between Italy and the Springboks in preparing both for the Rugby World Cup in 2019. 

Because of the nature of his commitment to SA Rugby, his future at the Springboks will always be uncertain.


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