Van Graan to take over at Bulls?

Johann van Graan (Gallo Images)
Johann van Graan (Gallo Images)

Johannesburg - Rugby consultant Brendan Venter believes current Springbok assistant coach Johann van Graan will take charge of the Bulls next year with Victor Matfield and Fourie du Preez appointed as his assistants.

A vacancy opened up a fortnight ago when long-time mentor Frans Ludeke resigned a year before his contract was set to expire.

Van Graan is widely regarded for his technical expertise and has cut his teeth at Loftus Versfeld where he played a vital role for the Bulls during their Super Rugby supremacy between 2007 and 2010 as forwards and attack coach.

His contract with the SA Rugby Union is set to expire at the end of this year which could see him return to the Bulls as head coach.

“He (Van Graan) is a really good coach, I think he will take over and Fourie du Preez and Victor will help him, it will be as simple as that,” Venter said at the reunion of 1995 World Cup winning Springbok squad at Ellis Park on Wednesday.

“Victor and Fourie will coach with Johan, and they are talented people and if they do things well they can be successful.”

Venter said he was worried with the current situation with three of the country’s top Super Rugby franchises having to fill vacant coaching positions.

“All of them were in the jobs a long time, they needed change and the coaches knew it as well, and change is as good as a holiday,” Venter said.

“My question is who is going to coach us? I am looking and going whoa, there is not much out there. There are just not that many good quality coaches out there, the most of them are in a job.

“How do you find a coach with a good pedigree, with not too much baggage, without a job?”

While the rumour mill also suggested Matfield could take charge of the Pretoria franchise, Venter warned that a coach needed to earn his stripes before taking up a head-coaching position.

“When you look at a coach’s pedigree, you must ask him, have you been successful for 10 years?” Venter asked.

“To be successful is like making a good wine, you can make a good wine in one year with luck but when you are consistent then you are a good wine maker.”

Meanwhile, Rudy Joubert, who was the technical advisor to erstwhile Bok coach Kitch Christie at the 1995 World Cup, said South Africa’s succession in planning for coaches left a lot to be desired.

“We need to create more opportunities for young coaches to learn their trade before we throw them onto the big stage like Super Rugby,” Joubert said.

“There is not a lot preparations for them to become Super Rugby coaches and when guys like Frans Ludeke, Naka Drotske and Allister Coetzee go after a long stint guys aren’t prepared for it.”

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