Munster head coach Johann van Graan has sidestepped questions over whether the Irish province are about to appoint Rob Howley as their new backs coach.
Howley – who is standing down as Wales attack coach after the World Cup – is reported to be a target for Munster who want to add an extra coach to their line-up.
The former Wales captain is understood to have already been interviewed for the role and van Graan has refused to deny the link.
I am not going to comment on it anymore,” said van Graan ahead of the Guinness Pro 14 awards in Dublin. “On Monday I said we are going to bring in another coach. As soon as I know we will make an announcement. I said we need to improve in all areas of the game.”
When asked if the latest addition to the province might be Howley, van Graan responded: “There are so many coaches all over the world. I have been asked previously about other coaches so I am not going to comment.”
Howley could be the second of Warren Gatland’s assistants to end up in Irish rugby with forwards coach Robin McBryde already having secured a job with Leinster once the World Cup campaign is over.
But a switch for Howley could prove more divisive since the former scrum-half was heavily criticised by Ireland and Leinster flanker Sean O’Brien after the 2017 Lions tour of New Zealand.
“If I was being critical of any coach it would be the fact that I think Rob struggled with the group in terms of his attributes of trying to get stuff across,” said O’Brien after the tour.
“Whereas Johnny Sexton and Owen Farrell drove everything the second [Test] week, for instance, in our attack and had a better plan in place.
“If we had a little more structure during the weeks and more of an attack game plan driven [from] way earlier in the tour we could have won 3-0,” O’Brien added. “The coaches have a lot to answer for in terms of our attack.”