2023 Leinster vs Munster

Munster Head Coach Rowntree Will Not Rush In Choosing O'Mahony's Successor

Munster Head Coach Rowntree Will Not Rush In Choosing O'Mahony's Successor

Munster Rugby coach Graham Rowntree methodically selects O'Mahony's successor. Explore the contenders and the challenge of filling O'Mahony's iconic role

Nov 27, 2023 by Philip Bendon
Munster Head Coach Rowntree Will Not Rush In Choosing O'Mahony's Successor

Munster Rugby head coach Graham Rowntree has said that he will not rush into choosing a successor for former Munster captain Peter O’Mahony. 

O'Mahony, a stalwart for 10 years, capped his tenure with a BKT United Rugby Championship title last season, prompting speculation of his potential ascent to Ireland captaincy following Johnny Sexton's retirement. 

With the role at the province now vacant, several names have appeared as front-runners for the job, notably Tadhg Beirne, Jean Kleyn, Conor Murray, Craig Casey and Diarmuid Barron. 

Given the responsibility that comes with the role, Rowntree acknowledges that it is a significant task to replace a player of O’Mahony’s credentials, further emphasizing the veteran backrow’s iconic status within the club. 

"I respect his decision," Rowntree stated after Munster's narrow 21-16 defeat to Leinster, expressing admiration for O'Mahony's decision to step down and support the next captain. "You know, he's been great for this club, an icon of this club." 

A former England prop, Rowntree underlined the importance of not rushing the selection process and assured us that a strong leadership group, including O'Mahony, would drive the team forward. 

"We've got a strong leadership group at the club, which he will still be part of and will drive on," Rowntree said. "I'm sure he'll be brilliant for the next man, won't he? Just his presence. His presence is just incredible, and whoever that next man, various options there, Pete will look after him, I know he will."

While considering various options, Rowntree pledges to announce the captaincy week by week, ensuring the chosen individual is the best fit for the role. 

Highlighting the enormity of the task, he acknowledges being the first head coach in a decade to name a captain and emphasizes the need for a thoughtful decision. 

"We will announce a captain week by week who I think is the best person for that job," he explained. "I won't be rushed into a decision. They are such big boots to fill. I'll be the first head coach in 10 years at the club who has had to name a captain, so I'm not rushing that." 

In a positive development, Rowntree confirms the arrival of prop Oli Jager from the Crusaders, with the possibility of featuring against Connacht. Jager's addition is seen as a boost to Munster's squad, providing additional depth and competition in the front row. 

"He has landed; he was in the building," Rowntree said. "He got in Thursday morning. He has done a bit of training, and he will be looking to hit training properly on Monday." 

Addressing Munster's away form, which has seen two losses and a draw this season, Rowntree remains composed, stating, "Doesn't constitute a crisis. As yet." 

He emphasizes the context of the defeats, attributing them to controllable factors, such as errors and goal-line situations. 

Despite the challenges, Rowntree commends the team's performance, particularly against Leinster, and expresses confidence in their ability to bounce back.