The news comes off the back of a number of recent player contract extensions and is another huge boost for the province.
Leaving his role as the Springboks Forwards Coach, van Graan and family made the move to Limerick in November 2017. His impact was immediate as he and the coaching staff of Jerry Flannery, Felix Jones and JP Ferreira guided the squad to the semi-final stages of the Champions Cup and Guinness PRO14 last season.
A year later and the 39-year-old has once again paved the way for Munster to reach knock-out rugby in both competitions, with a Champions Cup semi-final against Saracens first up on Saturday week.
Commenting on the news, Munster Rugby Acting CEO Philip Quinn said: “We are delighted Johann has committed his future to the province. There was a significant amount of interest from other clubs so it was always going to be a challenge to retain the services of a coach of Johann’s calibre. However, Johann is fully committed to Munster Rugby and I believe it is a statement of intent from the province that we have finalised this deal.
“Johann brought with him a wealth of experience and a track record with the Springboks and the Bulls in Super Rugby. He has put his own stamp on this squad over the past 18 months and has enhanced the Munster environment further. Working closely with his backroom staff he continues to drive the standards on and off the field, and we look forward to seeing the progress continue over the next three years.”
Head Coach Johann van Graan added:
“I am very happy and grateful to be in this position, knowing that I can continue to work with this incredible group of people and play my part in shaping Munster’s future. Coming to Munster I wanted to become part of the community, and every day I get to experience that sense of belonging with my family and I settling in from the very beginning.
“Moments and scenes such as last Saturday week in Edinburgh with the Munster supporters, players and management make for amazing memories, they can never be taken for granted. This is a special place, a special club to be part of and I look forward to continuing the journey together.”
Article from Munster Rugby
Ulster Youngster commits for 3 Years.
Rob Lyttle signs 3-year contract extension
Ulster Rugby wing, Rob Lyttle, has committed his future to the province for a further three years, keeping him at Kingspan Stadium until at least 2023.
The Donaghcloney native played mini rugby at Dromore RFC before attending RBAI, where he featured in the 2013 Danske Bank Schools’ Cup Final as a 5th year.
A product of the Abbey Insurance Ulster Rugby Academy, Rob made a memorable Ulster senior debut in September 2016 with two tries against Dragons, and has developed a knack for finding the try line ever since, touching down 11 times in his 27 appearances to date.
Commenting on the contract extension, Ulster Head Coach, Dan McFarland, said, “It is great news for the club and our supporters that Rob has become the latest young talent to commit his future to Ulster.
“Rob is another great example of a home grown player who has been developed through the club and schools system in Ulster, before refining his game through our performance pathway and going on to represent the club with distinction at professional level.
“The back three is an area where we have a good mix of seasoned experience and exciting young prospects, so I’m looking forward to watching Rob continue to develop his game and also drive the standards of those around him in challenging for places.”
Lyttle said of the deal,
“I have grown up supporting Ulster, and I have relished the opportunity to represent my home province, so it was an easy decision for me to commit my future here. I believe Ulster are building something special and I’m really excited about playing a part in the club’s future.”
Press Release from Ulster Rugby
Leinster Smash Connacht for Another Win
Leinster have continued their winning start to the season with another fantastic performance, this time away to Connacht
A brace of tries from front-rowers Andrew Porter and Ronan Kelleher along with a scores from Ross Byrne and James Lowe saw the reigning champions ease to victory over their western rivals.
The hosts got off to the perfect start, taking the lead four minutes in as returning Irish international Jack Carty knocked over a penalty to make it 3-0.
However, their lead was short lived as one of Leinster’s returning stars Porter barrelled over from close range to put the boys in blue ahead. Byrne made no mistake adding the extras to make it 7-3.
Just before the quarter-hour mark and the away side were further ahead as they camped in the Connacht 22 before hooker Kelleher finished off some great work from a line-out. Byrne slotted over the conversion to push Leinster 14-3 ahead.
Connacht cut into the lead straight after the restart through the boot of Darragh Leader who kicked their second penalty of the game.
Although their fight-back was shut down right away by Leinster, who again showed their forward power as Kelleher went over with the help of captain Scott Fardy for his second try of the night off another line-out. Byrne made it three from three from the tee to extend the lead once again.
It took only another ten minutes for Leinster to secure the bonus-point as Porter went over for his second try of the game after a TMO check. Byrne knocked over another two-points to give Leinster a 28-6 advantage at the half-hour mark.
On 34 minutes things got even better for the eastern province as Byrne added to his personal tally with a lovely five-pointer of his own, slicing through the defence with a fake-pass before touching down. He converted his own try to stretch the score out to 35-6, which is how it stayed come the half-time whistle.
Both teams came out of the blocks quickly in the second period but it was Connacht who struck first as Carty sent a cross-field kick over to Stephen Fitzgerald on the left-wing and the winger did the rest, racing over for his side’s first try of the game. Carty couldn’t add the extras but it showed great spirit from the hosts.
Leinster put pressure on Connacht over the next 20 minutes, remaining in the opposition 22 for most of it, but they couldn’t find a way over. However, that changed with little over 10 minutes remaining as Lowe intercepted a pass inside his own half and darted to the try-line for his side’s sixth try. Bryne continued his 100% kicking-rate from the tee adding the simple extras in front of the posts.
Connacht tried to get another consolation try but they couldn’t break through a solid Leinster defence as it finished up 42-11.
The win means Leinster remain top of Conference A with 29-points out of a possible 30 at the start of the season, while the loss will be a big disappointment for the hosts who went into the game in good form. Leinster will host Benetton next Saturday in the opening round of this season’s Champions Cup, while Connacht welcome French Top 14 side Montpellier to the Sportsground on the Sunday.
Leinster Player Ratings
Hugo Keenan (7), Adam Byrne (7), Jimmy O’Brien (8), Joe Tomane (7), James Lowe (8), Ross Byrne (9), Luke McGrath (7); Cian Healy (8), Ronan Kelleher (9), Andrew Porter (9), Devin Toner (7), Scott Fardy (7), Josh Murphy (7), Will Connors (8), Max Deegan (8)
Munster v Ulster | Team News
Peter O’Mahony captains Munster with eight of Munster’s Rugby World Cup contingent set to feature at Thomond Park.
Andrew Conway, Chris Farrell, Niall Scannell, John Ryan, Jean Kleyn, O’Mahony and CJ Stander all start with Conor Murray among the replacements.
JJ Hanrahan, Alby Mathewson and Chris Cloete keep their places in the side after helping Munster to a bonus-point win away to Cardiff Blues last week as Munster make 12 changes.
Academy winger Liam Coombes makes his second Munster start with Mike Haley and Conway completing the back three.
Mathewson and Hanrahan continue their half-back partnership with Rory Scannell and Farrell in the centres.
James Cronin, Scannell and Ryan pack down in the front row with Kleyn and Billy Holland in the engine room.
O’Mahony, Cloete and Stander are named in the back row.
Munster: Mike Haley; Andrew Conway, Chris Farrell, Rory Scannell, Liam Coombes; JJ Hanrahan, Alby Mathewson; James Cronin, Niall Scannell, John Ryan; Jean Kleyn, Billy Holland; Peter O’Mahony (C), Chris Cloete, CJ Stander.
Replacements: Jeremy Loughman, Kevin O’Byrne, Stephen Archer, Fineen Wycherley, Jack O’Donoghue, Conor Murray, Tyler Bleyendaal, Arno Botha.
Dan McFarland has switched things up with seven changes from the side that defeated Zebre last Friday, Irish internationals Jacob Stockdale and Jordi Murphy will make their first appearances this season.
In the back three, Matt Faddes switches to full-back and is joined by the returning Stockdale and Rob Lyttle on the left and right wings respectively.
Stuart McCloskey is re-called to join last week’s Man-of-the-Match, Luke Marshall in midfield. Angus Curtis will make his first start for Ulster this season at fly-half and is joined by John Cooney at scrum-half, who made his 50th appearance last time out against Zebre.
Among the four changes in the forwards, Marty Moore returns to make his first start of the season at tighthead, joining Jack McGrath at loosehead and captain Rob Herring to make up an all international front row. Sam Carter comes back in to join Alan O’Connor in the second row.
Joining Murphy will be Sean Reidy at blindside, and Nick Timoney switches to assume the number eight position, completing the back row.
In the replacements, Adam McBurney, Eric O’Sullivan, Tom O’Toole, Kieran Treadwell and Matthew Rea will provide forward cover. David Shanahan, Bill Johnston and Robert Baloucoune – who is also set to make his seasonal bow – make up the back-line reinforcements.
Ulster team to play Munster Rugby, Guinness PRO14 Round 6, Saturday 9 November at Thomond Park (kick-off 5:15pm):
(15-9) Matt Faddes, Rob Lyttle, Luke Marshall, Stuart McCloskey, Jacob Stockdale, Angus Curtis, John Cooney.
(1-8) Jack McGrath, Rob Herring (Capt.), Marty Moore, Alan O’Connor, Sam Carter, Sean Reidy, Jordi Murphy, Nick Timoney.
Replacements: Adam McBurney, Eric O’Sullivan, Tom O’Toole, Kieran Treadwell, Matthew Rea, David Shanahan, Bill Johnston, Robert Baloucoune.
Did you know?
Munster are unbeaten in their last 24 home games in all tournaments
Referee: Frank Murphy (IRFU, 28th competition game)Assistant Referees: Rob O’Sullivan (IRFU), Paul Haycock (IRFU)TMO: Simon McDowell (IRFU)
Live on eir sport 1, Premier Sport 2, DAZN, PRO14.tv.
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