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"You've got to really love coaching - I didn’t" | Shane Jennings on life after rugby

Shane Jennings dropped into Monday Night Rugby on Off The Ball, where the former Leinster flanke...



Rugby

"You've got to really love coaching - I didn’t" | Shane Jennings on life after rugby


Shane Jennings dropped into Monday Night Rugby on Off The Ball, where the former Leinster flanker looked back on his stellar career.

Five years into his rugby retirement, the former St Mary's man is pursuing a career in an office rather than a dugout. Jennings knows he is made of different stuff to former teammate, and Leinster head coach, Leo Cullen.

"I remember towards the middle of my career I was enjoying rugby but my body was playing up," recalled Jennings. "My neck was bad and my knees were bad. This was when I was about 27, if I get another year or two out of it I'm doing well.

"You're thinking what's the next step and at that stage, I really thought I would enjoy it but then as I grew up a bit in terms of maturity. I remember Eoin Reddan said something to me it was pretty basic, but it was an epiphany.

"He said 'you've got to enjoy coaching as much as you do playing,' because the demand, the toll and the pressure - you have to be willing to take that as a coach when you have very little impact.

"Whereas, you can go out on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday and play, you've got to really love it [coaching] and at that stage, I didn’t."

Right decision

Jennings remembered how the decision not to join the coaching brigade came about.

"The opportunity came up," says Jennings. "I remember Leo gave me a call and I think it was the right decision when we thought about it and it didn't go any further. It was very flattering but it was a case of desperate times."

"Even when we lived together in Leicester and he would watch ProD2 french rugby game son a Saturday morning and then Super Rugby and then play.

"He was just like a sponge, absorbing it - whereas, I was eating McVities Gold bars and having Cherry Coke trying to get ready for a game.

"So he was made to be a coach, I was probably made to be something else."

When asked if he was asking for too much money, Jennings laughed that he "never even got that far."

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Flanker Heineken Cup Ireland Rugby Leinster PRO 12 Pro 14 Shane Jennings