Mannix new reds backs coach
FORMER All Black Simon Mannix has been named as Munster's new backs coach, writes RUAIDHRI O'CONNOR.
The 40-year-old former Hurricanes fly-half has signed a two-year contract with the Thomond Park outfit where he will work under his fellow countryman Rob Penney.
Mannix has been the assistant coach at Parisian Top 14 club Racing Metro for the past four seasons, but was dismissed from that position last December after Pierre Berbezier felt the club's backline had stagnated.
The New Zealander was perceived as an ally of the players at Metro and as being far more approachable than his former France international boss.
Munster chief Garrett Fitzgerald yesterday welcomed the appointment, saying: "We're delighted that Simon has agreed terms and believe his playing experience in two hemispheres, plus his coaching experience at the top level in France, will complement the recent appointment of Rob Penney and existing position of Anthony Foley."
Mannix is expected to be in situ for the start of pre-season in late June, as long as he can secure a work permit.
Foley will continue as forwards coach under Penney, while Mannix will be expected to continue the work of Tony McGahan, who started the transformation of Munster into a more expansive team.
Mannix wore the famous black jersey just once, against France in Christchurch in 1994.
Although a regular in squads between then and 1997, he was competing with Andrew Mehrtens and Carlos Spencer and eventually headed to England where he played for Gloucester and Sale Sharks.
Mannix joined Metro when they were still a second division club and played his part in their rise to the upper echelons in French rugby and last year's Heineken Cup.