Mike Prendergast insists family reasons were behind his decision to return home to Limerick and sign a three-year deal as Munster’s attack coach.
It’s a major boost for Munster ahead of Saturday’s Heineken Champions Cup quarter-final against Toulouse at the Aviva Stadium, as well as for incoming head coach Graham Rowntree, Prendergast has been prised away from Paris, despite still being under contract at Racing 92.
As such, between them, Munster and the IRFU are likely to have had to pay some form of compensation for Prendergast’s early release.
Rowntree is understood to have identified Prendergast as the man to take over from Stephen Larkham as Munster’s attack coach, with the new boss having put the Limerick man forward as his key target in his early discussions around the job.
Prendergast has spent the last nine years working in France, where he coached Grenoble, Oyonnax, Stade Francais and Racing.
Despite still enjoying his time in Paris, Prendergast has a young family and always had one eye on returning home, if the right opportunity presented itself.
Rowntree has spoken with the 44-year-old several times in recent months, as he laid out his vision for the future.
Prendergast is highly regarded in France, where he is currently coaching one of the best attacks in Europe at Racing. However, the lure of home proved too much, and he is now relishing the challenge that lies ahead.
Prendergast grew up in Limerick and having played for Munster around the time they were scaling new heights, the Young Munster man has a deep understanding of how the province works.
Perhaps that has been lost within the coaching staff in recent years, which is why supporters are already looking forward to having such a key home-grown voice within the new set-up.
The former Munster scrum-half is expected to be joined by his former team-mate Denis Leamy, who is in line to be appointed defence coach.
Leamy is currently working as Leinster’s contact skills coach, and the Tipperary native has just returned from South Africa, where he was running the defence, as Stuart Lancaster was in Dublin preparing the first-choice team for Saturday’s last-eight clash in Leicester.
Former Ulster hooker Andy Kyriacou is set for promotion from the Munster Academy, as he looks likely to be offered a similar forwards coach role as part of Rowntree’s new-look backroom team.