Munster made the surprising announcement on Tuesday evening that forwards coach Jerry Flannery and backs coach Felix Jones will leave the province at the end of the season.
Both have been associated with Munster for a long time, having played for the club for the bulk of their careers, but have rejected new contracts offered to them to stay alongside head coach Johann van Graan.
Having made the PRO14 semi-final last weekend with a victory over Benetton, the timing of this announcement is bizarre as they are preparing for a May 18 clash away to fierce rivals Leinster.
Moreover, this decision has bewildered many fans on Twitter, particularly the departure of Flannery.
It seems clear that Flannery is highly regarded amongst Munster fans, who believe the pack has grown year on year since he took on his role in 2014.
The men in red have always been renowned for having a belligerent pack, and Flannery has upheld that status during his time as a coach.
Munster Rugby and the IRFU can confirm that Forwards Coach Jerry Flannery and Backline & Attack Coach Felix Jones will depart the province at the end of the season.
— Munster Rugby (@Munsterrugby) May 7, 2019
Conversely, the departure of Jones seems like a relief to many fans, who have witnessed their side grow toothless and blunt in attack over the past few years.
The precision and creativity of Leinster’s backs only highlights how little progress Munster have made in this department, and many feel that this departure is necessary to close the gap on their rivals.
Despite making the Champions Cup and PRO14 semi-finals this season, the loss to Saracens in Europe exposed their deficiencies and the consensus is that changes must be made for Munster to join the European elite again.
With that being said, Flannery’s departure has still surprised many. This is what the Munster fans have said:
Best of luck to them both, great servants to Munster as players and coaches but we do now need something new to drive attack and creativity.
— Mcelsay (@mcelsay) May 7, 2019
Good luck to them n the future, wud of liked Jerry to stay but Jones needed 2go imo toothless n attack new voice needed
— ??ny (@TonyKB777) May 7, 2019
Best of luck to both. Have being calling for a change in our attack coach alright but think Fla has done a very good job and would have been happy for him to stay.
— John Fitz (@germanfitz88) May 7, 2019
Flannery is a bit of a shock, Jones I saw coming to be fair, he got a lot of slack, a lot of it fair, for how blunt the attack was of late. Could be an interesting summer.
— David O'Sullivan (@david13os) May 7, 2019
Tbh, I'm not too shocked to hear that Felix is going, but surprised to hear that it's both of them! A big upheaval yet again…
— Susan G (@SuGriff) May 7, 2019
— Donnacha O'Riordan (@donnacha_o) May 7, 2019
Saw Felix potentially, Jerry is a big surprise though @RuaidhriOC
— Eoin Byrne (@EoinB93) May 7, 2019
Surprised by Flannery leaving, less so Jones. https://t.co/g7nsXvPb1m
— Colin McBride (@colin_a_mcbride) May 7, 2019
Felix not a huge surprise, Flannery is https://t.co/DdITJXmSaW
— John O'Donovan (@j_goddy) May 7, 2019
Meanwhile, this announcement has left Munster fans speculating what is next for the club, with Wales attack coach Rob Howley expected to join the province after the World Cup. Many believe that Flannery and Jones will team up with former Munster coach Declan Kidney at London Irish.
This has also opened the door for the slim possibility of the return of Munster legends Paul O’Connell and Ronan O’Gara, although that seems more of a pipe dream.
READ: The RugbyPass take on what has been going on at Munster
With Munster losing two assistant coaches today, it's worth reflecting on this RugbyPass piece published in the wake of their semi-final loss to Saracens https://t.co/dD7IdvaXCw
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) May 7, 2019
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