Sunday 26 February 2017

Felix Jones lined up for senior coaching role in new Erasmus era at Munster

Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

Felix Jones in training last season (SPORTSFILE)
Felix Jones in training last season (SPORTSFILE)

Felix Jones has emerged as the favourite to become Munster's new backs coach next season.

As reported in last week's Irish Independent, Jones has been offered a development officer role with the province but it is understood that following a meeting with Rassie Erasmus, he could be in line for a coaching role with the senior team.

Munster's new director of rugby Erasmus was in Limerick last week and is understood to have been impressed with Jones following a meeting between the pair.

Jones, who was forced into early retirement due to a neck injury last October, has recently spent time with Harlequins where he impressed Conor O'Shea, while Joe Schmidt has always spoken glowingly of the former full-back.

Jones has just completed a Master's degree in Sports Psychology at UL but his coaching experience is very much limited which may not sit well with some supporters given the failings of a largely inexperienced coaching ticket this season.

Former Springbok defence coach Jacques Nienaber is also expected to be included in Erasmus' new-look coaching staff.

Meanwhile, Leinster coach Leo Cullen believes injury-stricken flanker Sean O'Brien can come back stronger than ever after it was confirmed that he will undergo imminent surgery on a hamstring problem. "Sean has had a few injuries but there are lots of players who go through that in their career," said Cullen, who admitted that he has no idea when the Carlow star will return.

"It is important for him now to try and focus on getting the surgery done first and then getting himself right. Then put a plan in place for getting back to the levels he is capable of producing."

Cian Healy will also miss the summer tour to South Africa as he battles lingering neck and knee issues but Rob Kearney will be fit for a possible Pro12 final despite missing tonight's semi against Ulster with an ankle problem.

Luke Fitzgerald replaces him while Devin Toner returns from illness to face unchanged Ulster at the RDS.

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