Van Graan | 'Jerry Flannery a...


Van Graan | 'Jerry Flannery a real Munster man and a quality coach'

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The Jerry Flannery return to Munster seemed inevitable ever since he departed his home province in the summer of 2019.

The former Munster hooker and then forwards coach left Johann van Graan's setup 18-months ago, and despite taking time out from the game after his departure, he returned to top-level coaching in the summer when he joined Harlequins as their new lineout coach.

When the rankings for the new-look Heineken Champions Cup were announced, and Quins were listed as one of Munster's potential opponents, it seemed like an inevitability the sides would be drawn to face each other. And so they were.

Flannery returns to Thomond Park for the first time as opposition this Sunday when Harlequins visit Munster in the opening round of the competition, but with the game behind closed doors he'll be deprived of the warm welcome the likes of Ronan O'Gara, Donnacha Ryan and Simon Zebo have experienced in recent years.

Munster head coach Johann van Graan - whom Jerry Flannery worked under prior to his departure in 2019 - says he has no doubt his former colleague will have Quins well primed to cause an upset.

"I haven't spoken to him,  but really looking forward to welcoming him back. A real Munster man, a quality coach and he's made a real difference at Quins.

"He'll be coming back to Thomond Park and we'll be going to the Stoop later on in January. Obviously Fla' has got a lot of in-depth knowledge on Munster Rugby, it's his previous team but come Sunday it'll be Munster versus Quins, and it'll be a a big challenge for us."

Flannery's official brief is to work on the lineouts, but he forms part of an impressive looking coaching ticket, with Wales and Lions legend Adam Jones also involved under head coach Paul Gustard.

Van Graan says Flannery will contribute much more to the Quins gameplan outside of his role with the lineout.

"Firstly, he's a quality person, he really cares about players, he's valuable to any system that he'll be part of and his detail in coaching.

"Obviously he played a lot of international rugby and he transferred that into top level coaching so his attention to detail is brilliant. What he adds in different departments, it's not only about forwards or the lineout. I'm sure he'll have an influence on that team all-round."

Listen to LIVE commentary of Munster v Harlequins this Sunday on Off the Ball, with Neil Treacy joined by Keith Wood at Thomond Park for the 5.30pm kickoff.

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Harlequins Heineken Champions Cup Jerry Flanner Johann Van Graan Munster Rugby

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