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Munster confirm signing of highly-rated Nienaber as Jones joins coaching staff

Director of rugby Rassie Erasmus’ coaching team for next season has been confirmed.

MUNSTER HAVE CONFIRMED that Jacques Nienaber will join the province as defence coach ahead of next season.

The province have also announced that Jerry Flannery will remain on as scrum coach, while ex-fullback Felix Jones joins the coaching staff in “a technical coaching role.”

Felix Jones Jones was at several Munster sessions this season. Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

Nienaber’s signature is a coup for the province and new director of rugby Rassie Erasmus, who has worked with the South African defence specialist for a number of years.

Currently in charge of South Africa’s defence for the Test series against Ireland, SARU employee Nienaber will join Munster on 1 July and brings with him a superb reputation in the coaching world.

He has held roles with Western Province, the Stormers, the Junior Springboks, South Africa’s Schools side and, most recently, the Springboks.

Nienaber initially worked as a physiotherapist for Erasmus’ Cheetahs side in the late 1990s but Erasmus pushed him into a strength and conditioning role before then convincing Nienaber that he had the coaching ability to lead defences. His rise thereafter was swift and impressive.

As with Erasmus, Nienaber has signed a three-year contract with Munster.

Jones’ inclusion in the Munster coaching ticket had been touted in recent times, with the former Ireland international having been forced to retire from rugby last October due to a neck injury.

He is studying for a Master’s degree in Sport, Exercise and Performance Psychology at the University of Limerick at present and has had short-term coaching stints with Munster and Harlequins.

His appointment on a one-year deal adds another layer to Munster’s coaching team for next season and Jones’s primary role will be the “development of the team’s attacking fundamental skills.”

The province have confirmed that director of rugby Erasmus will be “accountable for team performance and all on-field coaching” and that his primary coaching role will be to lead the attack.

Jerry Flannery Flannery remains as scrum coach. Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

Anthony Foley, who remains with the province as head coach, will oversee the lineouts and breakdown. With the scrum having been one positive part of Munster’s game over the course of a disappointing season, Flannery remains in situ.

As expected, the departure of assistant coach Brian Walsh has been confirmed by the province, meaning he joins Ian Costello and Mick O’Driscoll in exiting.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank our departing coaches for their hard work and commitment to Munster Rugby,” said Munster CEO Garrett Fitzgerald.

In addition to reaching the Guinness PRO12 Final in 2015, each have been instrumental in developing exciting new talent for the province and we wish Brian, Ian and Mick all the best for the future.”

“We are delighted to finalise our coaching requirements for next season and look forward to welcoming Jacques and Felix to the set-up.

“Jacques is a highly rated and sought after coach who brings a wealth of experience with him after working across all levels of the game. We believe he will be a great addition to the coaching staff.

“While Felix, who had a hugely successful playing career with both Munster and Ireland, will provide invaluable technical know-how in aiding the development of our young squad.”

Munster coaching staff:

Rassie Erasmus – director of rugby [attack]
Anthony Foley – head coach [lineouts and breakdown]
Jacques Nienaber – defence coach
Jerry Flannery – scrum coach
Felix Jones - technical coach

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About the author:

Murray Kinsella

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