Munster Rugby’s bid to end their wait for a third European Cup has gained a significant boost with the addition of two-time winner Graham Rowntree to Johann van Graan’s coaching staff.

The 48-year-old Englishman will join the 2006 and 2008 champions as forwards coach in the autumn, after completing a similar job with Georgia at the Rugby World Cup in Japan.

Rowntree – who was capped 54 times by England, as well as being a 1997 and 2005 British and Irish Lion – won the European Cup as a prop for Leicester Tigers in 2001 and 2002, making 59 appearances in the competition before joining the Tigers’ coaching staff on his retirement in 2007.

The following year he was appointed England’s forwards coach and held that role or one of assistant coach until 2015. Then in 2016 he returned to club rugby with English side Harlequins as forwards coach for two years, before joining Georgia.

However, the highlights of Rowntree’s coaching career so far have arguably been his appointments as assistant coach to the 2009, 2013 and 2017 British and Irish Lions.

Acting Munster CEO Philip Quinn told the province’s website: “We are really pleased to have secured Graham in such a timely manner. The Professional Game Board and Johann have been tirelessly working on our coaching appointments for the past month, and to secure a coach of Graham’s calibre is a credit to the work going on behind the scenes.

“We believe Graham is a fantastic appointment for the province, as he brings a wealth of experience from an extensive list of top-level coaching positions and will add further value to our coaching ticket.”