Felix Jones looks set to extend his stay as Munster backline and attack coach beyond this season and fulfil Johann van Graan’s wish for continuity on his coaching ticket.
Head coach van Graan gave the province a huge boost last week when he signed a two-year contract extension to the original two-and-a-half year deal he started in November 2017.
The first-time head coach, who will today lead Munster into a second European semi-final in as many seasons, made tying down his backroom staff to longer deals his first priority. Both forwards coach Jerry Flannery and attack coach Jones will be out of contract at the end of this season.
Talking to the Irish Examiner, former full-back Jones, 31, suggested his future remained with the province he joined as a player from Leinster in 2009.
“With things going on at the moment and games and stuff it’s just we haven’t got around to it fully but it will be dealt with in the near future,” Jones said.
Forced to retire from the game due to a neck injury at the age of 28 in October 2015, the former full-back, capped in 13 Tests by Ireland and 90 times for Munster, has been coaching at the province since July 2016. He believes Munster is a place he can continue to grow as a coach.
“I think so. The growing comes to you as a person as much as the place… but if you’re hungry enough you’ll try to keep learning. You’ll be found out if you’re not constantly driving or trying to be hungry.
Jones also welcomed van Graan’s decision to extend his stay at Munster to June 2022.
“It’s about the continuity and stability, which is a big deal. If you look at a lot of the teams that have had consistent success or are hitting the door constantly, they have stability, Saracens being a great example.
“I’m not saying that that’s where we’re at. It’s well documented that we haven’t won a trophy since 2011 but we do feel that we’re getting a bit of stability.
“We’ve had a number of semi-finals and a PRO14 final. We have this weekend and a PRO14 quarter-final to look forward to and potentially a (home) semi-final still to go.
“So you’re looking at six, seven or eight semi-finals in the last few years and it shows you’re knocking on the door.