Munster are unlikely to hire a director of rugby to work alongside Graham Rowntree, according to the incoming head coach.

Rowntree will next season step up from his forwards coach role to the head coach position, after being confirmed as Johann van Graan's successor.

The former Leicester Tigers prop had been viewed as the likely candidate for some time, having expressed his interest in the job earlier this year.

There had also been speculation the province were looking to bring in a director of rugby to work alongside a head coach, with suggestions that former Munster boss Declan Kidney could be prised away from his current position at London Irish.

However, that move now looks less likely, with Rowntree suggesting the structure of the coaching team will be "similar looking" to their current ticket under Van Graan.

"A similar looking coaching setup, that's for me to finalise in the near future," he told media yesterday, ahead of Saturday's Heineken Champions Cup last 16 second leg against Exeter in Limerick.

"I've got some plans, I've spoken to certain people. But in answer to your question, it will be a similar looking coaching ticket."

The 50-year-old's new role at Munster will be his first as a head coach, after 15 years experience assisting England, Georgia, Harlequins, Munster and the British and Irish Lions.

"It's my dream job, this, and I'm looking forward to getting into it next season,"

And although he says he hadn't planned to become Munster's head coach when he first arrived in Limerick in 2019, he's excited about the prospect and the extra pressure it may bring.

"You've got to know when in your career that you’re ready for it and I feel at the moment I am. The experience, it’s the right fit for me, this club.

"So I know the pressure’s going to be greater but that’s for me to deal with and me to get the right people around me to help me deal with that.

"I was excited about joining as a forwards coach and working under Johann [in 2019]. As I've said before, having played against Munster and understanding their rich history, I was just delighted and proud to be employed as a forwards coach.

"This was never the plan, but this is where we are now and I'm delighted.

"I'd say it was when Johann made his announcement in December I had a think about it, spoke to my wife and thought, 'yeah, why not?'. I threw my hat in the ring and here I am.

"I'm proud, for such a famous club, such a fanbase, such a following, such a great group of players. I'm proud.

"It's my dream job, this, and I'm looking forward to getting into it next season," he added.

The Englishman also issued a rallying cry of sorts for any Munster fans who have felt disillusioned with the direction the province has been going in recent seasons.

It's 11 years since the last trophy at Thomond Park, with three URC final defeats and multiple domestic and European semi-finals in the years since.

Rowntree has urged supporters to keep the faith.

"Stick with us. Stick with us. You know, we've not been far off.

"It's finishing off, isn't it? We have been in finals and semi-finals. Stick with us.

"We are going in the right direction. What more can I say than that? Why do I believe? It's the group of players we've got here and the guys coming through."

"Winning every week, that's all that matters until the end of the season with things as they are currently, that's all that matters.

"Obviously, I'm not going to lie, I've got a great deal of planning to do for next season but that's not going to divert me away from the day job and winning each game as it comes every week because hopefully we'll have a massive challenge every week for the rest of the season."

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