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Dublin: 6 °C Saturday 29 February, 2020

'I'd question how this was allowed happen. It has played out incredibly badly'

Bernard Jackman discussed the departure of Munster coaches Felix Jones and Jerry Flannery on The42 Rugby Weekly.

Jones and Flannery are leaving Munster this summer.
Jones and Flannery are leaving Munster this summer.
Image: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

FORMER IRELAND HOOKER Bernard Jackman has questioned how Munster got themselves into a situation where they now must recruit two new coaches to Johann van Graan’s backroom team, rather than supplement what they already had in place.

It was announced this week that both Felix Jones and Jerry Flannery will leave their roles as attack/backline coach and forwards coach respectively at the end of the season after the pair turned down contract offers from Munster.

Van Graan had reportedly looked to add a new voice to his staff during the summer but the expectation was that both Jones and, in particular, Flannery would remain in their roles into the 2019/20 campaign.

Now, however, the southern province have had to begin the process of identifying suitable candidates to fill those voids and join van Graan and defence coach JP Ferreria for next year, in further upheaval to the Thomond Park coaching ticket.

Speaking on The42 Rugby Weekly, Jackman said not securing the future of both Jones and Flannery at an earlier date and leaving themselves vulnerable to this situation is ‘very poor business from their point of view’.

Joining Gavan Casey and Murray Kinsella in studio, Jackman said: “For me, I’d question how this was allowed happen. Let’s be honest, they’re lucky to still have a season. Realistically, they could have lost on Saturday to Benetton which means this decision would have happened in the off-season and it would have been absolutely chaotic. It’s still quiet chaotic.

“When they review this, they’ll look at how they let this happen. Two coaches be off contract in a months’ time and not be tied down. Or know where they were going. This should have happened in January at the latest. Make a decision on them, make an offer, negotiate and give them a deadline. I think it’s very poor business from their point of view that they’re still on the open market now and that’s left them with a massive hole to fill.

“Regardless of if they wanted to add people post-World Cup or add someone else to the party, if they had offered Jerry and Felix contracts, which we believe they had and I’m sure they had. Why let it drag on and on and on and leave yourself vulnerable to something like this? 


“It’s very disruptive to them and instead of actually adding one coach, which they seem to have wanted to have done, now they’re going to have to find maybe three.”

Although it has been reported that Munster have interviewed Wales assistant coach Rob Howley, Jackman explained the province may now find it difficult to recruit the right personnel at the end of a World Cup cycle.

He continued: “The coaching market at the moment, although they are a few changes, a lot of guys are tied up post-World Cup. 

“A lot of guys going to the World Cup are actually signed already to stay on in their own countries or go somewhere else. Listen, he’ll find three South Africans if he wants, there are a lot of South Africans who are keen to get out of South Africa and come to Europe.

“It won’t be an issue, it’s just, I suppose for him, finding the perfect mix. And also I think he [JVG] probably needs a little bit of support, I would say, in terms of the management of recruitment and retention. If you look at what Guy Easterby does at Leinster or Bryn Cunningham does at Ulster. In general, now most organisations have someone looking after the contracts and that lets the head coach concentrate on actually coaching and managing his team. Potentially that’s something they’ll look at. 

It has played out incredibly badly and in fairness, other teams can take the risk on this and it doesn’t turn out like this. The coaches sign up. It wouldn’t be unheard of for coaches to be pondering offers late into the season but when it backfires and the coaches decide not to accept the offer, it leaves you hanging a little bit.

“You wouldn’t really be looking to replace the guys you’ve offered to, you kind of believe those negotiations would come to an end in a situation where both parties agree to stay. So it’s definitely a strange one. Listen, I’ve seen stranger things happen in pro rugby, but it’s not ideal.”

You can listen to the full episode below:

Source: The42 Rugby Weekly/SoundCloud

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