Bernard Jackman has long been linked with a return to Ireland in a coaching capacity with Leinster or Ireland, long before Matt O'Connor's sudden departure as Leinster head coach.
Jackman was quickly installed as one of the firm favourites to take over from Matt O'Connor, but one of his Grenoble players really wants him to stay in France.
South African Gio Aplon was one of the high profile signings for Jackman at the start of last season in Grenoble, and it's clear that Jackman has had quite an impact on the 17 times capped Springbok:
I always say that Bernard has got the potential to coach Ireland one day. I think what Bernard did over the last 12 months, although maybe sometimes the result didn’t go our way, he did extremely well in terms of where the team was.
For me, he’s a fantastic coach, not just on the coaching level but also on a personal level in how he deals with the players. I can see a bright future for him wherever’s he going or if he stays with Grenoble.
We've seen through Jackman's media work with RTE that he has a keen rugby brain, and that's something that has impressed Aplon. The diminutive back has praised Jackman's methods, how he thinks about the game, and communicates what he wants to his players.
It's quite a boon when someone of his talent thinks so highly of Jackman
Hopefully he doesn’t go for another year, because I’m still here for another year. He understands the Irish game and he comes from Leinster, he’s been there. I won’t be surprised if he gets the job. I would be sad, but happy for him.
It's interesting to hear that Aplon thinks that Jackman would be a good coach for the national team. It would interesting to see where he is in his contract when Joe Schmidt's time with Ireland comes to an end when New Zealand come calling.
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