Thursday 8 December 2016

Munster coach Anthony Foley's job not in danger despite Director of Rugby appointment

Tom Rooney

Published 25/04/2016 | 18:52

Munster head coach Anthony Foley.
Munster head coach Anthony Foley.

Munster Chief Executive Garrett Fitzgerald has confirmed that, despite the appointment of Johan Erasmus as Director of Rugby, Anthony Foley will remain as head coach for the remainder of his current contract at least.

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South African Erasmus was unveiled this afternoon as the province’s first ever Director of Rugby and, unsurprisingly, questions arose regarding Foley’s future.

This season has, thus far, been among the worst Munster have endured since the dawning of the professional era.

They failed to emerge from the Champions Cup pool stages and are currently in seventh place in the Pro 12, outside the perimeter of qualification for Europe’s top competition.

Patience on the ground around Thomond Park is seriously thin, even for a bona fide club legend like Foley.

The klaxon call for Foley to be removed has grown increasingly loud, but Fitzgerald said the one-year contract extension the former number eight signed remains valid.

Furthermore, he claimed that the decision to bring in Erasmus was predicated on Munster’s desire to revamp their operation, and not a confirmation of Foley's shrotcomings. 

“Anthony will definitely be here next season, he has signed his contract. The model we have looked at, and based our research on, are the ones that have a head coach working with a director of rugby.”

However, Fitzgerald revealed that Foley’s remit will be considerably abbreviated upon Erasmus’ arrival. Team selection and tactics will now be the purview of the former Cheetahs player which, apparently, is not new information to Foley.

“He was part of the process when we said we would decide to do this. He’s probably more upset about the way results have gone and the way things on the field have gone.

“We made a conscious decision that we would work separately to fill this position, to leave the coaches concentrate on what they were doing on the field. He doesn’t seem upset about it to me, he was quite happy and saw it as a positive movement going forward,” he explained.

As expected, Assistant Coach Ian Costello will depart at the end of the season to take up his new post as head coach of English Championship outfit Nottingham. Technical advisor Mick O’Driscoll will also move on to pursue his business interests.

Fitzgerald said no decision had been made on whether or not coaches Brian Walsh (attack) and Jerry Flannery (scrum) will remain beyond their current contracts.

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