Cape Town - Irish club Munster have poured cold water on speculation that their coach Johann van Graan could return to South Africa as Bulls mentor.
A report in the The Irish Independent indicates that Van Graan is on the shortlist for the new Bulls head coaching position, but the speculation has been met with denial by the Irish club.
The Bulls are looking for a replacement for John Mitchell, who has left to undertake the role of England’s defence coach.
A Munster club official stressed that Van Graan is currently contracted to the club and barely a year into a three-year deal.
Van Graan, a former Springbok assistant coach, replaced Rassie Erasmus at Munster after the latter returned to South Africa as SA Rugby’s director of rugby.
Erasmus, ironically, is on the committee to decide on the Bulls coaching position, with the others being Van Graan’s father and outgoing Bulls CEO Barend van Graan, chairperson of the Blue Bulls coaching association Blikkies Groenewald and former Western Province coach Alan Zondagh.
However, if the Bulls were to speak with Van Graan jnr, they would need permission from Munster, which for now does not seem to be on the cards.
Other candidates rumoured to also be on the Bulls’ radar include former Springbok lock Victor Matfield, Southern Kings coach Deon Davids and Gloucester coach Johan Ackermann.
Pumas coach Jimmy Stonehouse was earlier also linked to the Bulls job but he has since publicly made himself unavailable, while Blue Bulls Currie Cup coach Pote Human has also put up his hand for the Super Rugby job.