MUNSTER have been dealt a severe blow in their plans for the coming seasons with the news that both Jerry Flannery and Felix Jones have rejected offers to extend their stay at the province.
Flannery, forwards coach, and Jones, backline and attack coach, will leave Munster in June as a result it was confirmed.
Flannery returned to Munster as a coach in 2014 after retiring a from playing a couple of years before. He was promoted to forwards coach at the beginning of the 2017/18 season.
Jones’ career finished early due to injury but also joined the Munster coaching staff in 2016. Munster were rumoured to be interviewing potential coaches with experience in attack before the news broke that Flannery and Jones would be departing.
Commenting on the news, Munster Rugby Acting CEO Philip Quinn, said, “As Johann has noted all along, the province was committed to retaining the services of both Jerry and Felix, and I believe the Professional Game Board made every effort to retain the coaching duo with competitive terms.
“While we understand their respective decisions, we are hugely disappointed with the latest development, but wish them every success in the future.
“It goes without saying that Jerry and Felix have been great servants to Munster Rugby, from their earlier playing days in red, to forging successful coaching careers in guiding the next generation of Munster players.”
Head Coach Johann van Graan added, “We will be very disappointed to see Jerry and Felix go at the end of the season.
“They are both extremely hard-working, dedicated coaches, in addition to being really good guys who have been fantastic to work with.
“As a coaching group we will continue with the same commitment and drive for success as always, working towards our upcoming Guinness PRO14 semi-final.”
Flannery and Jones also commented on their respective departures with the former adding:
“This has been a dream job for me, to coach Munster Rugby. I want to thank all the players, coaches and staff that I worked with over the years, and also thank the supporters who have always been there for us.
“Leaving the province is not a decision I took lightly, but I look forward to watching the squad go from strength to strength, and wish them continued success.”
Felix Jones commented, “It has been an absolute honour to have played for, and to have coached Munster Rugby. I would like to thank the players, coaches, management and fans who have supported me over the last 10 years.
“We will continue our drive to end the season on a high, and I look forward to being a Munster supporter in the future.”
Munster added in the statement announce the departures that the province has commenced the process of identifying suitable candidates to join Head Coach Johann van Graan and Defence Coach JP Ferreira next season.