Former Munster assistant Jerry Flannery had returned to rugby coaching after just over a year out of the game, the ex-Ireland hooker agreeing to become lineout coach for Paul Gustard’s Harlequins. Flannery opted not to take up an extension to his forwards coaching role in Ireland in May 2019. 

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His departure from the Irish province coincided with the exit of attack coach Felix Jones, who went on to help South Africa to World Cup glory last November before taking up a European-based scouting role for the Springboks. 

Flannery, a pub owner in Limerick, had been doing some rugby punditry until the sport was suspended due to the coronavirus outbreak. He has now decided to take up coaching work in London, the city he initially moved to when he joined the Arsenal FC academy as a strength and conditioning coach when he retired from playing in 2012.

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Gallagher Premiership officials have targeted the middle of August as the restart date for the suspended 2019/20 campaign

He said: “I’m very excited to be joining the Quins family. Harlequins is a club with a great history and fantastic supporter base. Paul’s passion for the art of coaching along with his drive to bring success to Harlequins was a big factor in my joining. 

“I’m also looking forward to integrating with the other coaches, Adam Jones, Nick Evans and Sean Long, and working with Quins’ very talented playing group.”

Gustard added: “I’m delighted we have been able to secure Jerry’s services. I have spoken to him many times and love his intensity, allied to his desire to personally improve in equal measure to his drive to raise the standard of those he coaches. He is very bright and articulate with a keen rugby mind and a strong passion for the game.

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“He comes from a culture of hard-working men, who play with a passion and purpose that we want from our team and I believe Jerry has a skill set and determination to help foster, alongside Adam (Jones, the scrum coach), a ruthless pack mentality with a hard edge based on strong fundamentals with no quarter given. He was the standout candidate in our process, and I’m delighted he has chosen us.”

Speaking to RugbyPass last September about his decision to step away from coaching at Munster, Flannery said: “I don’t regret my decision. I don’t know if I am going to miss coaching so much and want to go back in. I have sort of teed that up that provisionally I will look to coach next season but for the time being, five years was a long time to be coaching in Munster and I thought it was best to step aside.

“I can’t tell you that it is the right decision until you compare it to something else. I played professional rugby for about 12 years, retired and was almost straight into professional sport again over in London (with the Arsenal academy) and then back coaching, so I have been doing it for so long that if I don’t ever take a step out I will never know what the other side of it is like. 

“There are lots of ways to earn money but you don’t know whether you will be that fulfilled at the end of this year. I potentially will or potentially won’t. If the coaching bug is still there and if I can’t shake it, then I’m going to have to sit down with my missus.

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“I’m aware that if I look to go coaching it will be unlikely that I will get another job in Ireland and I would have to move the family abroad, but with what I am doing at the moment I will give it the best chance that I can.”

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