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Monday 11 December 2017

Ryan touted for Munster

Former Gloucester coach is the best-placed man to take over from departing McGahan

IT is true. The life cycle of a rugby coach means you are either looking for a job or wondering when it will end.

Munster's Tony McGahan has been with Munster since 2005. He rose from assistant to head coach, played an integral role in two Heineken Cup wins in 2006 and 2008.

He also masterminded two Magners League titles, the first as regular season table-toppers in 2009 and the second as last season's Grand Final masters at Thomond Park.

McGahan has made and will leave an impression on a club that has given him the profile to become the next Australia defence coach. He leaves behind a void. The obvious question is: who will fill it?



1. ANTHONY FOLEY

Current Position

Munster forwards coach

No man wants to be known as the one who ruined a legacy. The success must be maintained and Foley was revered as a player-coach on the field.

He never physically looked the part of the professional, but he certainly played his part over 62 Tests for Ireland and 201 caps for the province. He took over as Munster's forwards coach last summer. He is the obvious and only internal choice. It just might be too soon.



2. MICHAEL BRADLEY

Current Position

Edinburgh head coach

The former Ireland Triple Crown winning scrum-half (right) played in two World Cups and has made a better impression at Edinburgh than he ever did at Connacht, where his record diminished over seven years in the west.

While the Scottish club are languishing in ninth place in the PRO12 League, they have qualified for the Heineken Cup quarter-finals for just the second time -- in the first year of Bradley's two-year deal.



3. DEAN RYAN

Current Position

Sky Sports rugby analyst

The former Gloucester coach and England number eight (right) was mentioned as a possibility for the England head coach role at the turn of the year. But he has already publicly declared his disinterest in that post.

There has always been a close bond between Gloucester and Munster supporters from their titanic struggles in the Heineken Cup and from the confrontational style of rugby favoured by the clubs. He is a genuine rugby intellect.



4. EDDIE O'SULLIVAN

Current Position

Media pundit

The man from Youghal certainly has the experience and the know-how. He took Ireland to three Triple Crowns and to third in the world rankings. He was in charge of the US Eagles at last year's World Cup in New Zealand.

O'Sullivan has gained a reputation as a coach who is respected rather than loved. His professionalism is second-to-none. But, he is a control freak who likes to oversee everything.



5. CONOR O'SHEA

Current Position

Harlequins director of rugby

The respected and well-liked Dubliner, son of Kerry footballer Jerome, would be a ground-shaking coup for Munster.

The problem is that he is right in the middle of a revolution at Harlequins. That is unfinished business. The way he has moved onto the RTE media panel suggests he does see a future in Ireland.

Munster would be an obvious stepping stone to coaching Ireland.

Verdict: DEAN RYAN

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