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Coaches' exit is no need to panic, says Van Graan

Johann van Graan
Johann van Graan

By Ruaidhri O'Connor

Johann van Graan admits the decision of Jerry Flannery and Felix Jones to leave Munster at the end of the season is strange, but the coach is adamant that there is nothing amiss behind the scenes at the province.

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The former players were expected to continue beyond the end of their current contracts, but last week they decided to turn down the deals on the table and finish in June, leaving Van Graan with just one assistant coach in place for next season.

Munster's interim CEO Philip Quinn and their Professional Games Board are on the look-out for three new coaches in a World Cup year.

Last week, Tadhg Beirne and Craig Casey became the 21st and 22nd players to commit their futures, but despite the continuity in the dressing room there is a summer of upheaval ahead behind the scenes.

And Van Graan admitted the contrast between the players committing and the coaches departing is a strange one.

"It is," he said. "It's very sad and I'm disappointed. I believe the PGB did everything in their power to retain both and unfortunately that didn't happen. Now we've got to look forward."

Asked if he had a message for fans concerned by the apparent crisis, Van Graan said there is nothing amiss behind the scenes.

"I don't think anything is going on," he said. "Both (Jones and Flannery) got offered contracts and both of them are leaving for different personal reasons."

There was good news for Munster ahead of their Guinness PRO14 semi against Leinster as Van Graan hopes to have Keith Earls and Joey Carbery back.

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