Munster have been handed a boost with the news that skills coach Felix Jones has rejected an offer from Rassie Erasmus to join him in South Africa, report the Irish Independent.
Former Springboks flanker Erasmus, who left Munster at the start of November to become South Africa’s director of rugby, had already managed to lure the province’s head of athletic performance, Aled Walters, to South Africa but have failed to acquire the services of former Munster back Jones.
The 45-year-old, who led Munster to the Champions Cup semi-final last season as well as to the Pro14 final, was keen to make the 30-year-old his skills coach with the struggling Boks but the Dubliner has decided to remain at Thomond Park.
It is thought that Erasmus also tried to lure away other key backroom figures at the province.
Jones joined the province’s coaching team in 2016 and filled in as head coach during the time between Erasmus’ departure and the arrival of current head coach Johann van Graan.
Since being forced into early retirement in 2015 due to a neck injury, Jones, who played 15 times for Ireland, has developed a burgeoning reputation as a coach.
In a reflection of how highly he is considered by Joe Schmidt, the New Zealander took him to Japan for a part of Ireland’s summer tour there last year and it was Schmidt who recommended Jones for the position at Munster.
Erasmus, who took Jacques Nienaber – Munster’s former defence coach – back to South Africa with him, has tried to re-establish the coaching set-up which worked so well during his 18-month spell in Ireland.
But the fact that the 45-year-old, whose role sees him overseeing the country’s eight national sides as well as the development of players, coaches and referees, has tried to head-hunt important figures in the southern province’s backroom staff has not gone down well at Munster.
With Simon Zebo leaving for France at the end of the season and the departure of Walters, who had been with them since 2012, Jones’ decision to stay put is great news for the Red Army.
Alongside the news that Billy Holland, Stephen Archer and Kevin O’Byrne have signed contract extensions to remain in Limerick, it’s been a good week for the province.
Read More About: 2016-17 Champions Cup, Aled Walters, Billy Holland, felix jones, Ireland 2017 tour to Japan, Jacques Nienaber, Joe Schmidt, Kevin O'Byrne, munster rugby, Pro12 final 2017, Rassie Erasmus, Simon Zebo, South African National rugby team, springboks, stephen archer