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‘I wouldn't be qualified to do it’ – Paul O’Connell rules himself out of the Munster job

Ireland forwards coach Paul O'Connell has ruled himself of the running at Munster.

Ireland forwards coach Paul O'Connell has ruled himself of the running at Munster.

Cian Tracey

Paul O’Connell has ruled himself out of the running to become the next Munster head coach.

O’Connell joins his former team-mate Ronan O’Gara in opting against a potential return to Munster next season in favour of continuing on his own path.

The Limerick man had a hugely positive impact in his first year as Ireland’s forwards coach and as such, he is seen is a vital part of Andy Farrell’s backroom team leading into the 2023 World Cup.

Despite his obvious close links to his home province, like O’Gara, the timing was always likely to be tricky in terms of Munster luring O’Connell into their setup to replace the outgoing Johann van Graan.

The former Munster, Ireland and Lions captain has made no secret of the fact that he didn’t overly enjoy his first foray in club coaching with Stade Francais. Although full-on, O’Connell’s role with Ireland allows him more time to spend with his young family.

Munster are actively recruiting new coaches in light of Van Graan and Stephen Larkham’s decision to leave next season, with defence JP Ferreira also expected to depart.

Earlier this week, it was announced that forwards coach Graham Rowntree has signed a two-year contract extension, while he could be looked at as the next potential new boss.

It remains to be seen what kind of coaching structure Munster will opt for, but the province’s former scrum-half and current Racing 92 coach Mike Prendergast is understood to be in the running to return to take over the attack.

Regardless of the make-up of the new-look coaching setup, it will not include O’Connell, who is fully focused on his job with Ireland.

“Well, look, I won't be doing it,” O’Connell told The 2 Johnnies podcast.

“I wouldn't be qualified to do it. I was saying the other day, it's like a guy if you were good at pulling pints being asked to run the bar! They're two different things.

“I don't know who will end up doing it.”

Asked if the Munster job is something he would like to take on in the future, O’Connell added:

“I don't know. Munster is a very special thing to me. I'd have to feel very right and very qualified to go and do it.

“I just have the most amazing memories with Munster and I'd hate to ever hurt them by getting involved and not doing a good job of it.”

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