MUNSTER ARE SET to launch a search for a director of rugby to come on board alongside Anthony Foley next season.
The42 understands that the process to find a suitable candidate to add experience to the Munster backroom staff will formally begin in the coming weeks.
Foley verbally agreed a one-year extension to his contract as head coach in December, though the province’s group-stage exit from the Champions Cup brought some doubts as to whether or not that deal would be signed and sealed.
However, it’s understood that Foley will remain in situ as head coach at Munster next season.
Munster have struggled for consistent form under Foley during this campaign, leading to the short-term signing of future Ireland defence coach Andy Farrell as a consultant in January, with the Englishman lending his experience to a homegrown coaching staff.
The province’s Professional Game Board now appears to have decided that having an experienced figure in a similar position alongside Foley on a permanent basis would be a positive move.
Naturally Munster will only make an appointment in this director of rugby role if they can find and secure the suitable candidate, but such an appointment would make sense.
Foley had never held a top-level head coaching position until succeeding Rob Penney as Munster boss in 2014, while his assistant coaches Brian Walsh, Ian Costello, Jerry Flannery and Mick O’Driscoll were all new to their roles too.
Ulster were the first province in Ireland to move to the director of rugby model, with David Humphreys appointed in that position in 2010, before Les Kiss took up the role following the World Cup earlier this season.
Kiss is a far more hands-on coaching figure than Humphreys, whose main strengths lie in the area of transfers, contracting and other off-field matters of that nature.
It remains to be seen which avenue Munster go down with their search for a director of rugby ahead of next season, though it does appear that extensive top-level experience will be the key criteria.
Foley’s reputation as an excellent training ground technician remains strong and the appointment of a wily veteran as Munster’s director of rugby to focus on dealing with the media, succession planning, transfers and contracting may be a sensible option.
Munster currently sit seventh in the Guinness Pro12 table following last weekend’s defeat to Glasgow Warriors. Foley’s men have a game in hand, but find themselves six points off the play-off positions and will need an upturn in form in the coming weeks if they are to secure a semi-final spot.
The southern province exited the Champions Cup at the pool stage in January after winning three of their six fixtures.
Originally published 17.45
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