FELIX JONES THINKS carefully about what he does.
In his first season post-retirement the now ex-Munster and Ireland fullback is certainly not trying to give the impression that coaching skills and attacking fundamentals is an easy move to make for a recently retired player.
He has too much respect for the position, too much respect for the chance he has been given as the youngest coaching representative of the ‘old Munster’ within the new Rassie Erasmus setup.
“It’s been great,” the 29-year-old says of his new gig before a thoughtful pause that will become familiar long before the end of his conversation with The42 in Munster’s UL base.
“It’s been everything: challenging, enjoyable, I’m learning a lot obviously. It’s been good.”
“Transition is probably a good word to describe it,” he agrees. It’s not better, not worse. Just very different from being a player.
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“As a player: after training, of course you review the training session, but you pretty much go off straight away and switch off totally. Go and have a coffee, have a laugh with the lads. They need that.
“In this role now, immediately you’re going: ‘how can I get better? What can we do here?’
It’s a switch that hasn’t necessarily come easy, but being a professional athlete is undoubtedly the preferred way of preparing for it.
“If you go into that environment, any team I’ve been involved in, a lot of the more senior players and sometimes younger guys, they actually coach each other. The way they interact with each other is in itself coaching.
“I’m not saying I was doing that as a player, but when you first come into a squad as a young guy, you don’t think like that. All you think about is: I’ll look after what I’m doing, I’ll look after my own job’. It just kind of organically develops in that direction.
“When I was a player, I think the way I worked, for myself and the guys around me, I wouldn’t say it geared me up to go into coaching. But maybe without me knowing it’s led me to this point now without me knowing at the time.”