Paul O'Connell wants a return to coaching but Munster not on the horizon - yet

Paul O'Connell wants a return to coaching but Munster not on the horizon - yet
Paul O'Connell has been involved with the Ireland U20s and Stade Francais in recent years.

Paul O'Connell still has plans to make it in the world of professional coaching despite his recent parting of ways with Stade Francais after just a season as an assistant to Heyneke Meyer.

But there will be no Munster reunion for now.

News of the Munster legend's Paris departure was announced at the end of March and, in a statement at the time, O'Connell added the rider that he would not be seeking a position with another outfit for the 2019/20 campaign.

That gave rise to speculation that he may even discontinue his coaching journey for good, but he put that to bed before playing in the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Pro-Am at Lahinch when explaining his separation from Stade and his future plans.

“I'm working at the World Cup with ITV so I'm looking forward to that and I'm going to travel a little bit next year and visit a few clubs. That's the plan at the moment. We had a fantastic year (at Stade), it was really enjoyable but it was I suppose a different philosophy to what I was used to in Ireland and I couldn't bring those together.

“But I really enjoyed it. I was grateful for the opportunity. I suppose when you grow up in Limerick and play with Munster, you don't get a chance to travel as much, you don't get a chance to live abroad, so we really wanted to do that. We wanted to live in France and we'd love to do that again in the future.

It's just about finding the right thing.

The 'right thing' for many people in Munster would be a coaching role with the province he graced for so long as a player, but the 39-year old confirmed that there was no query regarding his services from Johann van Graan recently despite the comings and gongs on the province's staff.

“No, they didn't. It's not something that would interest me in the short-term. I have a great relationship with Munster and really enjoy going to the games with my parents and my kids at the moment. It's something you have to be very, very prepared for. It's a big job and a lot of expectation.

I'm disappointed that Jerry Flannery and Felix Jones are gone. I thought they were two fantastic coaches, good guys who were well worth investing in and developing for the future. So, from that point of view, I'm really disappointed.

“But having said that, the two guys that they have brought in are great, I know Graham Rowntree real well. He's actually going to come down here to Lahinch for a night with us in August. He's a fantastic coach, a good guy and comes from a club very similar to Munster as well, with similar values.

“Stephen Larkham I don't know a lot about but I suppose I would have analysed a lot of Australia playing and they played some fantastic rugby, so he's obviously a very smart guy. Coaching is the difference now in rugby. You see it with Joe Schmidt with Ireland, you see it with Eddie Jones with England, you see it with Stuart Lancaster with Leinster.

“Good coaching is what makes the difference so if Jerry and Felix had to leave, I think they've got two very good guys to replace them.”

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