The timing of the news about Jerry Flannery and Felix Jones declining new contract offers at Munster has Eddie O’Sullivan stumped.

The two-time Heineken Champions Cup winners yesterday announced that forwards coach Flannery and attack coach Jones would move on at the end of the season after rejecting new deals. 

Munster face rivals Leinster in the Guinness Pro14 semi-final on Saturday week after scraping past Benetton last weekend, 15-13, thanks to a late penalty.

Speaking on the RTÉ Rugby podcast, the former Ireland manager said he was surprised that the news broke when it did. 

"I can’t get my head around it," he said. 

"If this was going to happen, and obviously it was going to happen, why this couldn’t have been kept under wraps for another couple of weeks until the season is over, I just don’t get it.

"I think Johann van Graan precipitated that a little bit a couple of weeks ago by just mentioning he was thinking of bringing in an attack coach, which to me was a bizarre statement to make at this time of the season.

"[Felix Jones] must have felt a cold shiver down his spine when he heard that.

"Jerry Flannery was the big surprise; the Munster pack has been firing pretty well.

"I was disappointed that by throwing that out, and by throwing Felix Jones under the bus to the extent that Van Graan [might as well have said] ‘it’s all his problem, I just need to get another attack coach and everything will be fine.’

"Then one of the players broke ranks, Chris Farrell said the attack part of our game is the one missing piece of the jigsaw.

"That destabilised the whole environment and for some reason they felt that it wouldn’t hold and it cracked this week but it’s terrible timing.

"How are [the two lads] going to work the next couple of weeks with the players knowing they are halfway out the door. That’s not easy.

"It’s potentially two young Irish coaches slipping out of the system, not ideal for the IRFU either."

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