Bernard Jackman said he will leave Grenoble with great memories and experiences after his five-year coaching stint with the French club came to an end yesterday.
Jackman opted to leave the Top 14 club yesterday after being informed that he would not be in charge next season — despite recently signing a contract extension.
Grenoble have languished in the relegation zone all season in what has been a traumatic campaign on and off the pitch.
Their hopes of establishing themselves in the Top 14 in their fifth season back in the top flight were derailed shortly after the season began when the club disclosed it was in financial difficulty for the season, with pay cuts kicking in for players and other staff before Christmas.
Jackman, who had been linked to the vacant Connacht job, committed to staying involved and bringing them back up if they were relegated.
“There are still six games left, four of them at home, so hopefully there is still a great chance of staying up, but even if relegation happened the plan was to do like Northampton and Harlequins did.
“They used the season after being relegated to rebuild and they came back and won trophies.
“Hopefully that will happen with Grenoble if there is relegation, but for it to happen the board and all other strands in the club must be aligned and that wasn’t always the case,” said the former Irish hooker.
Former Munster scrum-half Mike Prendergast and former Leinster hooker Aaron Dundon, both of whom were brought to Grenoble by Jackman as part of his coaching team, are expected to take charge for the remainder of the campaign.
Jackman said he will now consider his options — possibly going to the southern hemisphere to continue upskilling — but will look back on his time with Grenoble with fondness, having come on board initially as a consultant and helping them win promotion.
“It’s a great city and club and being here for five years has been a positive experience for me and my family.
“It has been an unbelievably turbulent season but my time here has been a great experience.”
Grenoble’s top flight status might yet be saved by the shock proposed merger between Parisian giants Racing 92 and Stade Francais, a controversial plan which was announced by the clubs’ owners on Monday.
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