Wednesday 17 July 2019

Paul O'Connell 'concerned' over lack of local men in Munster coaching set-up

Former Ireland rugby captain Paul O’Connell lines up a putt with his son, and caddie for the day, Paddy during the Pro-Am ahead of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open, which starts today at Lahinch Golf Club. Photo: Sportsfile
Former Ireland rugby captain Paul O’Connell lines up a putt with his son, and caddie for the day, Paddy during the Pro-Am ahead of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open, which starts today at Lahinch Golf Club. Photo: Sportsfile
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

Paul O'Connell has admitted that he is both concerned and disappointed that Munster - as things currently stand - will not have a home-grown coach for the first time in the coming season.

Stephen Larkham and Graham Rowntree have replaced Felix Jones and Jerry Flannery, who were the remaining Munster links on the coaching staff.

O'Connell revealed that he had not spoken to his home province about a potential role as he felt it was still too soon to return.

However, the former Ireland and Munster skipper did confirm that he intends to remain in coaching, which put an end to the uncertainty surrounding his plans after he departed Stade Francais at the end of last season.

"It would be a concern," O'Connell told reporters at the Irish Open Pro-Am in Lahinch, when asked if he was bothered by the fact that Munster will no longer have a home-grown voice on the coaching ticket.

Strategy

"It would be a disappointment for me, but it is the way it is sometimes. Sometimes the right people aren't there and you have to go with something else. But hopefully there is a long-term strategy to have local guys.

"You see it in New Zealand. From speaking with Ronan O'Gara in the Crusaders, the line he uses is that they care deeply about the Crusaders because they are all Crusaders themselves.

"You see some of the decisions that Leo Cullen makes in Leinster, he really invests for the long-term because he is a Leinster man. I think it's important to have local guys to do that. Having said that, Johann van Graan seems intent of planning for the long-term as well."

O'Connell added that he plans to return to coaching, saying: "I hold a lot of ambition to try it out again."

Irish Independent

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