Friday 23 February 2018

'I don't understand this venom from Tony' - Keith Wood responds to Tony Ward over proposed Erasmus replacement

Head Coach Dave Wessels of the Force looks on prior to the round five Super Rugby match between the Crusaders and the Force at AMI Stadium on March 24, 2017 in Christchurch, New Zealand. (Photo by Kai Schwoerer/Getty Images)
Head Coach Dave Wessels of the Force looks on prior to the round five Super Rugby match between the Crusaders and the Force at AMI Stadium on March 24, 2017 in Christchurch, New Zealand. (Photo by Kai Schwoerer/Getty Images)
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Former Munster and Ireland captain Keith Wood has responded to Irish Independent rugby columnist Tony Ward after the former Ireland fly-half suggested there was something 'truly rotten' brewing in the Munster camp.

In his column in Wednesday's Irish Independent , Ward wrote that touted Rassie Erasmus successor Dave Wessels (36) joining scrum coach Jerry Flannery (38) and technical coach Felix Jones (30) was a move that was 'beyond comprehension' by Munster.

Ward wrote: "Munster Rugby doesn't operate by any old standard and when we have the current coach endorsing another South African (currently out of a job) as a potential successor ahead of a top-of-the-table clash with one of the pre-tournament favourites then something truly is rotten in the state of Denmark.

"I don't know David Wessels or anything about him but when the two left holding the fort - Jerry Flannery and Felix Jones - are aged 38 and 30, to have a 36-year-old being touted to join them, presumably as the chief, is beyond comprehension. Munster deserve better than that."

Wood, the World Rugby International Player of the Year in 2001, said that he didn't understand the venom behind Ward's writing and added that it's premature to judge Wessels' credentials as Erasmus' successor.

"Munster could do worse than having him and who's to say that he isn't the right guy or not the right guy," said Wood on Newstalk's Off The Ball. Tony doesn't like him because he's 36.

"I don't know whether he's in, out or other. I know that Munster have spoken to him, I think that has been fairly widely discussed, but I think it's a tough situation.

"We know that Rassie Erasmus and Jacques [Nienbar] are heading out the door at Christmas, or thereabouts, that it is a big drive for Munster to try and get the next coach.

"They will go, and have gone through, fast tracking people to try and make sure they get to the right men or man, and I don't know where they are in that situation at the present moment in time.

"I don't understand the venom from Tony saying that this is a disgrace that somebody has mentioned somebody's name and that means there's something rotten somewhere.

"What's to say that the young guy is the wrong man. That's the view I'd always take on it."

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