Munster Rugby could be set for further disruption behind the scenes with the departure of another highly-regarded member of Johann van Graan’s backroom staff at the end of the season, it has emerged.
Head coach van Graan earlier this week lost the services of assistant coaches Jerry Flannery and Felix Jones for the 2019-20 campaign, both of them turning down new contracts and ending lengthy careers with the province that started as players.
Now, strength and conditioning (S&C) coach PJ Wilson seems set to follow them out the door this summer, a blow to the playing squad which holds the popular Fermoy man in high esteem.
Wilson has been strongly linked with a head S&C role at Bath in the English Premiership.
The loss of forwards coach Flannery and backs coach Jones at the end of the season has left Munster scrambling to assemble a coaching ticket for pre-season with van Graan also keen to recruit an additional coach to take his coaching numbers up to the five afforded to predecessor Rassie Erasmus, the province’s first director of rugby who quit in 2017.
Erasmus had taken his friend and defence coach Jacques Nienaber back to South Africa with him and also lured Munster’s head of athletic performance Aled Walters onto the Springboks’ management team as fitness and conditioning coach, a position in which the Welshman has received rave reviews.
Now the Munster playing staff appears set to lose another valued member of the S&C staff at their High Performance Centre in Limerick with Wilson choosing to leave. There is a degree of disappointment in the dressing room that not enough has been done to hold on to their brightest off-field talents.
Meanwhile, former Munster scrum-half Mike Prendergast has been linked with Ronan O'Gara's old club Racing 92 in the Top 14. Racing's joint head coach Laurent Labit will move onto the French national side, leaving a vacancy alongside Laurent Travers.
While Gonzalo Quesada is favoured as Travers' assistant, well-informed French media say Prendergast - currently across the city at Stade Francais - is being lined up for an attack/backs coaching role at Racing next season. Prendergast has previously been linked with a move to Toulon, though not Munster, who are in the market for such a specialist.