Hawkeye Sidekick

New adventures for Jerry Flannery

Jerry Flannery on the move to Harlequins

I’m very excited to be joining the Quins family. Harlequins is a club with a great history and fantastic supporter base.

Jerry Flannery on Harlequins – June 9th, 2020

Since Jerry Flannery left the Munster Rugby coaching setup last season, I wondered when would Flannery dip his feet back into professional club coaching.

That question was answered today as Harlequins announced Jerry Flannery as their line out coach for the upcoming season. The move is a win win for both parties. Hawkeye Sidekick looks at the appointment in further detail.

A distinguished playing career was always going to lead the former Munster Rugby hooker into the coaching path and he was appointed scrum coach with Munster Rugby as scrum coach in 2014 and then quickly was promoted to forwards coach in 2017. There was also a S&C spell with Arsenal FC back in the 2013/14 season, a stint that Flannery enjoyed immensely.

His departure from the Munster Rugby for me left a sour taste in my mouth. It is never nice to see a loyal man to the province depart the setup and so it proved at the end of last season when Jerry Flannery and Felix Jones left the setup collectively. Some will see their departures as been fall guys for the club not reaching the next level but I think given the years of coaching service with the side, it was a natural end.

The long hours of preparation, analysis of opposition, the continued focus and assessment of your team’s area consumes a coach. The forward’s coach role is all encompassing with set piece execution, breakdown work and orchestration of an attacking game plan from this set piece dominating the match day week. The close coordination with other coaches at the club. The training session plans, the pregame warm-up drills. The constant self critique would wear anyone down.

Flannery has embraced the time away from the Munster Rugby coaching role. He has dipped his feet quite successfully in social media work and television punditry. His vast knowledge of the game evident in Guinness Pro14 fixtures as well as dissecting the Ireland performances during the RWC 2019 (let’s not rehash old wounds).

It was clear to me that the question was when and not if Jerry Flannery would get back into professional club coaching. The line out role with Harlequins looks on paper to be mutually beneficial to both parties.

Flannery returns to London, a city where he has lived before due to this S&C stint with Arsenal FC. He gets more rugby union education in a foreign land similar to Ronan O’Gara and Paul O’Connell for example. Different competition style and a chance to learn further from the likes of highly rated head coach Paul Gustard.

What of Harlequins? The London club are a team which are ‘a sleeping giant’. A team who have assembled an excellent backroom staff. Paul Gustard as head coach comes with an excellent reputation due to his work with numerous English clubs and of course England.

Nick Evans, Adam Jones (scrum coach) and Sean Long provide dynamic attacking and fundamental pack skill set experience. Flannery’s acquisition is a lovely fit and should integrate seamlessly into the coaching setup and team ethos.

Big expectations are now being placed on Harlequins. The Saracens exile to the Championship means that Harlequins and London Irish will look to catch the imagination of the London rugby union public. Harlequins’ squad looks pretty stacked. The pack contains Joe Marler, Kyle Sinckler, Jack Clifford, James Chisholm and Chris Robshaw to complement several promising players coming through the academy.

The half-back combination of Danny Care and Marcus Smith have the pace and speed to unleash massive back line weapons in Joe Marchant, Chris Ashton and Mike Brown. The squad has integrated academy talent in recent seasons to the senior squad but the moment to strike post the pandemic is now.

Jerry Flannery joins a club hungry for success, hungry to challenge for top honours. The sleeping giant may have awoken from its slumber. Best wishes to Jerry on the new coaching role, no need for luck as Flannery will command his domain brief with the authority he has shown as a player and coach to date.