Munster Rugby have today confirmed the coaching staff that will join director of rugby Johan ‘Rassie’ Erasmus and head coach Anthony Foley at the start of the 2016/17 season.
Jacques Nienaber will join Munster as defence coach on a three-year contract, while Jerry Flannery extends his role of scrum coach for a further year and former Munster and Ireland player Felix Jones assumes a technical coaching role on a one-year deal.
After indicating his intention to return to the private sector earlier this season, Brian Walsh, who held the role of assistant coach for the past two seasons, has completed his time with the province, joining previously confirmed departees Ian Costello and Mick O’Driscoll.
Although Johan Erasmus will be accountable for team performance and all on-field coaching, his primary coaching role will see him take charge of attack while head coach Anthony Foley will assume responsibility for lineouts and the breakdown.
Nienaber previously held roles in physiotherapy and strength and conditioning with Currie Cup and Super Rugby sides, the Cheetahs and Cats, respectively. Over a seven-year period, the incoming coach held defence roles with Western Province, Stormers, Junior Springboks, South African Schools and the Springboks. He is currently High Performance Manager with the SARU and will join the province on July 1, subject to being granted a valid work permit.
Jones, who was forced to retire from rugby last October following an honours-laden career, returns to the fold in a technical coaching role with the primary focus on development of Munster’s attacking fundamental skills.
The international full-back made 90 appearances for the province, scoring 10 tries, and won a Magners League title in 2011. The Sandycove native represented Ireland at all levels, counting the 2007 Under-20 Grand Slam, the 2009 Churchill Cup and the 2015 RBS 6 Nations title among international achievements. He is currently studying for a Masters in Sport, Exercise and Performance Psychology at the University of Limerick.
Acknowledging the outgoing coaches, Munster Rugby CEO Garrett Fitzgerald said: “I would like to take this opportunity to thank our departing coaches for their hard work and commitment to Munster Rugby. In addition to reaching the GUINNESS PRO12 final in 2015, each have been instrumental in developing exciting new talent for the province and we wish Brian, Ian and Mick all the best for the future.”
On confirming the full coaching ticket, he added: “We are delighted to finalise our coaching requirements for next season and look forward to welcoming Jacques and Felix to the set-up. Jacques is a highly rated and sought after coach who brings a wealth of experience with him after working across all levels of the game.
“We believe he will be a great addition to the coaching staff, while Felix, who had a hugely successful playing career with both Munster and Ireland, will provide invaluable technical know-how in aiding the development of our young squad.”