Jackman best bet remains in France after parting ways with Grenoble

Bernard Jackman. Photo: Sportsfile

David Kelly

Bernard Jackman wouldn't have wanted to hang around longer than he needed when the final business of his six years at Grenoble was shabbily, and summarily, concluded yesterday.

Jackman became another victim of a ruthless culture where the margins between failure and success are so often blurred beyond any distinction.

When club president Eric Pilaud summoned Jackman for his final professional meeting yesterday morning, he reported rather smugly in its aftermath that he wanted to deliver an électrochoc to his head coach.

One doesn't need a B+ in Leaving Cert French to translate the crude term; Jackman didn't need Leaving Cert economics to realise that the end was just as inevitable from his side of the table too.

Handicapped, in mitigation, by a financial strait-jacket, 21 players were allowed drift out of contract while hefty December pay-cuts alerted the Top 14's wealthier clubs as to rich, albeit cheaply acquired, pickings. Chris Farrell opted for Munster; Denis Coulson for Connacht.

A blame culture was unavoidable and Grenoble's relegation had seemed set in stone from a long distance. This week's stunning merger of the two Paris clubs offered a lifeline. Until Pilaud unplugged it.


And so five years amongst Alpine splendour and embracing Olympian hard work ended in merely five minutes.

Well-regarded Mike Prendergast and ex-Leinster hooker Aaron Dundon temporarily assume control.

In reality, Jackman will know that he did well to last the five years given the extraordinary turnover of coaching staff within a cut-throat enterprise. When the TV rights are worth €100m, the knives are always being sharpened.

He will rest now, with his family, before returning to the southern hemisphere in the quest for more knowledge.

Ireland seems no longer a home for Irish voices, sadly; David Humphreys needs a forwards' coach but Jackman's ambition and achievements may demand a more exalted stage.

Ironically, Bordeaux, scene of his lowest moments last weekend, may yet provide him with one after they indulged in their own bit of blood-letting.

Jackman may not have the luxury of being choosy; there are enough among his peers who spend months wondering if their phone will ever ring.