Munster head coach Johann van Graan, left, pictured with Ireland defence coach Andy Farrell during a squad training session at UL on Tuesday
NEW Munster head coach Johann van Graan has vowed to do all in his power to keep captain Peter O’Mahony at the province after the end of this season.
O’Mahony, out of contract this summer, is reported to have turned down a new contract from the IRFU and is understood to be attracting interest from several clubs in England and France.
Speaking at his first media briefing in his role of Munster head coach, Van Graan said: “I haven't spoken to Pete one on one yet, he's currently contracted to the IRFU until the end of the season.
“He's been offered a contract extension with some added benefits and I believe it's in the interest of Munster Rugby and of the IRFU to keep him at Munster and in Ireland.
“Luckily, that's hopefully not a done deal (that he's leaving).
“He stands for so much more, he's a Munster man through and through and I'm looking forward to having that discussion with him.
“All the clubs in the world are concerned about losing players to England and France.
“Special players win big games, win trophies. He's our club captain and if I could in anyway help to keep him with Munster and within Ireland until the World Cup and then after that I'll do everything in my power.
“I'm in my first week, there are communication lines in place. I'm in contact with Garrett Fitzgerald and David Nucifora, I'm speaking to Joe Schmidt a lot.”
Van Graan said anytime a player leaves a club it provides another player with an opportunity.
“Some players might leave, but in terms of our vision going forward, we see it as a train ride.
“The train will stop at stations, some guys will get off, some guys will get on. But I see it as an opportunity. If we lose one or two guys, there’s a massive opportunity to bring in some younger Irish players and, in accordance with the IRFU, if we need to get in some additions we’ll definitely look at that.”