Keith Wood joined Wednesday Night Rugby to discuss Munster Rugby's next head coach.
Johann Van Graan will depart Munster at the end of the season.
Van Graan recently signed a long-term deal but executed a six-month clause to escape to Bath. His premature announcement means that Munster have six months to find their next head coach. The Munster rugby job should be a lucrative one for prospective head coaches. But the former players and those with Munster links are not all in positions to take charge right now.
Ronan O'Gara is the fan favourite. The La Rochelle head coach is hot property across Europe right now, not just in Ireland. He also just signed a long-term deal with his current club.
Paul O'Connell is another obvious choice. O'Connell prefers the lighter workload of international rugby and does not have the requisite experience to take over Munster by himself.
Stuart Lancaster will be hard to pry away from Leinster. Graham Rowntree might be leaving with Van Graan. Mike Prendergast has too many toys to play with in France right now and Jerry Flannery relatively recently departed the province. For those reasons, Keith Wood isn't certain who Munster will hire as their next head coach.
"I don't know if it will be any of them," Wood said.
"Because of the different trajectories they're all on. I can't see O'Gara coming over now if I'm honest. He's just signed a new contract and we can't complain about a guy stepping away after six months and then ask ROG to do the same. I think Paul O'Connell is on a journey as well. He's doing really well with Ireland. He's learning an awful lot. Let him do his job and let him learn his job more."
Wood isn't ruling out either option in the future, but for different reasons it just doesn't make sense right now. Instead, Munster should focus on their structure.
"I think there is an opportunity to change some of the structure of Munster rugby. Whether it's a Director of Rugby or Head of Rugby, you need to have somebody that is there who is in control of the people that are recruited. There should be a heightened sense of using the talent that we have at our disposal in the province.
"Upskilling them as much as we possibly can. I'd like to see someone have the strategic plan to incorporate the clubs, the schools properly into Munster rugby. It's still a little fractious there.
"That makes a lot of the decisions for Munster for the next three, five or seven years. Rather than a guy who is in as a coach for a set period."
So it looks like there won't be a saviour or quick turnaround in Munster next year.
Bath confirm Van Graan appointment.
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