Johnny Sexton, left, and new Munster forwards coach Graham Rowntree share a laugh after the British and Irish Lions Third Test against New Zealand at Eden Park, Auckland, in 2017
IRELAND out-half Johnny Sexton believes Munster have acquired the services of a 'great coach' with confirmation that Graham Rowntree has been appointed as the province's forward coach from next season.
Former England international Rowntree was forwards coach with the Lions on their last two tours of Australia and New Zealand when Sexton was a member of the tourists' squad.
Ireland rugby star Sexton visited Caherline National School on Tuesday to deliver a coaching masterclass to students as part of the MACE, 'Going the Extra Smile' campaign.
Caherline NS won the prize thanks to their random act of kindness in their local community. The school prides itself on performing acts of kindness for their local community by regularly visiting the nursing home, doing local road clean-ups and a particular project to raise funds to replace medals won by local priest Fr Currivan.
Speaking to Leader Sport shortly after Munster confirmed the news that Rowntree had signed up as forwards coach with the province until June 2022, Sexton said: "I know him (Graham Rowntree) well, great man. As far as I could see, he's a great coach. I didn't work with him too closely. I wasn't in any scrums, or line-outs, I wasn't in too many rucks even, but he was full of energy, full of enthusiasm.
"I know from talking to the Irish lads who were on Lions tours, the likes of the Tadhg Furlongs, Jack McGraths, the guys who were heavily involved with him, they really liked him, so I am sure he will have a great impact and a fresh voice will be good.
"He was a hardy player himself, he looks hardy. If you ever meet him you could tell he's played a few rugby matches, but he is a great character. He is brilliant to be around and I was delighted for him that he got the job (at Munster), having worked with him on two tours.
"I look forward to catching up with him after whatever game it is next season, whether it's down at Thomond Park again - I might not be allowed go down to Thomond again! - or back in Dublin. I am looking forward to catching up with him."