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Van Graan Preparing For Champions Cup Bow

7th December 2017 By The Editor

Johann van Graan: "This isn’t at all about me, this is about Munster versus Leicester"

New Head Coach Johann van Graan got his first taste of the Thomond Park Champions Cup atmosphere as a supporter at Munster’s 14-7 victory over Racing 92 in October.

New Head Coach Johann van Graan got his first taste of the Thomond Park Champions Cup atmosphere as a supporter at Munster’s 14-7 victory over Racing 92 in October.

And having led Munster to a bonus-point victory over Ospreys at a sold-out Irish Independent Park last weekend in his first home game, van Graan is looking forward to his Thomond bow as Head Coach on Saturday night.

It is set to be an electric atmosphere as old rivals Leicester Tigers visit for a vital pool four clash.  

 

“Luckily I was here for the Racing game, so I at least know what to expect,” said van Graan ahead of the clash.

“But to be part of a team playing in a European game will be a first for me, so I’m looking forward to it very much. This isn’t at all about me, this is about Munster versus Leicester. I’ve heard a lot about the fixture, I’ve watched some footage from the two matches last year. It’s one of the big clashes in Europe. We can only play the game on Saturday evening. This week we will focus on our process, taking it day by day and pulling up towards Saturday, and hopefully it will be a brilliant game of rugby.”

Van Graan and the coaching team have been doing their homework on Leicester with the Tigers lying sixth in the Aviva Premiership but just four points off second-placed Gloucester.

“They’ve got threats all around the park. I think their 15, Telusa Veainu, is pretty special at the back. Their half backs are test players – Ben Youngs is one of the best quick tappers in world rugby and George Ford will punish you in terms of his kicking game.

“They have a very good front row and their scrum is a big focus point for them. They’ve punished quite a few teams in Europe this year, in the Castres game they were brilliant at stages. It’s a top quality European team with threats all around the park. They’ve got a quality coach and quality coaching team, they have fantastic players and are a massive club in Europe. What happened in the past won’t matter on Saturday evening. We have two very good rugby teams taking each other on in Europe in a very tightly contested pool.”

Next home game

Saturday, December 9

Munster v Leicester Tigers, Thomond Park, 7.45pm;

Referee: Jerome Garces (Fra), Assistant Ref: Ludovic Cayre (Fra), Assistant Ref: Jonathan Dufort (Fra), TMO: Phillippe Bonhoure (Fra), Citing Commissioner: John Montgomery (Sco).

Tickets

Tickets from: Adults €20; Juniors €10; Students €10 – purchase online here, from the Munster Rugby Ticket Offices at Irish Independent Park and Thomond Park, or by calling 061 421103.

Check out Johann van Graan’s first interview as Munster Head Coach below.

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