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Flannery says business as usual for Munster in wake of Erasmus announcement

“It was weird with the announcement at the start of pre-season but it in no way has it affected our rugby.”

Jerry Flannery.
Jerry Flannery.
Image: Bryan Keane/INPHO

MUNSTER SCRUM COACH Jerry Flannery says it’s business as usual as they prepare for the start of the new season and that Rassie Erasmus’ decision to leave has not knocked them back.

He said Munster players and management have knuckled down to the task and not allowed the news that Erasmus will leave by Decemver to undermine them.

The former Irish hooker said the primary concern was to build on the progress of last season and he believes that the mid-season departure of Erasmus and defence coach Jacques Nienaber will not impact on that.

“Obviously, it was weird with the announcement at the start of pre-season but it in no way has it affected our rugby.

“We felt we put down a really good season last year and the main thing for us is to get consistency and continuity year on year on year. We were worried that was the main thing.

“Felix (Jones) put an awful lot of work into our attack game in the off-season and you were worried then when Rassie and Jacques Nienaber were leaving, is there someone else going to come in straight away, is that work down the drain? But from a rugby point of view it has been incredibly positive. We have consolidated the good things that we did last year.

“We have looked where we can make a step-up and we have been layering that in and developing the players’ skill-sets so that we can play a little bit more of an expansive when necessary, when it is on.

Johan 'Rassie' Erasmus with Felix Jones and Jerry Flannery Erasmus with Felix Jones and Flannery last August. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

“From my own point of view, it’s really rewarding. Because when you are watching the team train against the team everyone is getting the same stimulus of training. When you watch, when you go against opposition and you see the difference between your team and the opposition, we are not getting 100 percent right.

“We are far from that but I can see that we are creating opportunities and we are able to execute things that we weren’t doing last year,” said Flannery.

New lock Gerbrandt Grobler is doubtful for the opening PRO14 game against Benetton Rugby in Cork on Friday evening with an ankle injury picked up in the 35-26 win over Worcester Warriors on Thursday, while flanker Tommy O’Donnell is following return to play protocols after picking up a head injury in the same match.

Flannery confirmed that it would be a number of weeks before JJ Hanrahan recovers from a shoulder injury to make his return to Munster after two seasons with Northampton Saints.

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