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Alan Gaffney – Welcome to Munster!

15th July 2002 By Munster Rugby

Alan Gaffney – Welcome to Munster!

Born in Sydney in 1947. Alan was first introduced to rugby in primary school where like the majority of young boys in Sydney he began playing rugby league.

Born in Sydney in 1947. Alan was first introduced to rugby in primary school where like the majority of young boys in Sydney he began playing rugby league. It wasn’t until he started attending high school, that he was introduced to the rugby union scene by his school coach who also in 1965 introduced Alan to the famous Randwick Rugby club in Sydney, which boasts of other rugby greats like brilliant winger David Campese & master fly half Mark Ella. Alan played all of his rugby at Randwick, and quickly made a name for himself on the Sydney scene.

Gaffney is one of only 25 life members of Randwick, honoured for his distinguished service to the club, Alan described the receiving of the Randwick life membership as “a great honour and a great buzz”.

Gaffney then went on to coach the New South Wales Under-21 backs and then the NSW Waratahs’ backs as assistant to Matt Williams in the Super 12 league for three seasons. Both Matt & Alan renewed their partnership two years ago at Leinster.

A real estate valuer by profession, Alan worked for 30 years in commercial & industrial real estate, 23 years of which were spent working in his own company, prior to moving to Ireland. Alan is a lover of all sports from Golf to surfing and has been a member of a Sydney surf club for over 36 years.

Alan is married to wife Lorraine, and has two kids, daughter Nathalie (24) who has completed college and now works in event management in Sydney. And son Kieran (20), lovingly described by Alan as “the other lunatic” is currently at University in Sydney studying business.

I had the pleasure of meeting up with Alan the other day out in UL, and got a chance to have a quick chat on what the future holds for the Munster team under the energetic Gaffney!.

What goals & objectives do you hope to achieve at Munster?

“We will all sit down next Thursday to do up our goals and achievements, and this is something we will do as a team and own as a team. We could always come up with the dream goals of doing this & that and winning European cups, but I really think that with our goals & objectives, we really need to get the process right, if we get the process right then our dream goals will happen!.”

What message are you bringing to the Munster camp?

“We are certainly not here to re-invent the wheel, that is for sure & certain, nor Brian Hickey or myself, while it wont be steady as she goes, to some extent, we as a team will do up a team structure and a team plan, the way that we all really want to play the game, this will be something that everybody will own, it wont be a dictatorial attitude of me saying this is what we are going to do, it will also be up to the players from Gallaimh down to the young academy boys saying this is how we intend to play the game, and everybody will sign off on it.”

Big demands on the Irish players this year, how do you feel this will affect Munster?

“In one way it is fantastic for the national guys, but there is no doubt that it will be a little difficult, the difficult part is that next Saturday 19 guys will be going to the national training camp in Poland for 16 days, then they are back for 4 or 5 days and 35 national guys come into camp in UL, we then get the guys back just 5 days before the first Celtic league game, so it is going to have huge demands on the players, that is not making excuses, we are just saying that it is going to be difficult, but it is also going to a fantastic challenge and some of the young boys will stand up to it.”

Any superstitions prior to games?

“No, none at all. I don’t know why, but I haven’t got any. There is no doubt I am a worrier, but I suppose that is the same with most people, the adrenalin is pumping and I settle down during the game. I am not a yeller or a shouter and that is one thing that is for sure, I am definitely not a screamer and I try to keep calm.”

Any pre-match rituals?

“No, we will just get out there and play the game, we will have very similar preparation to what has been here in the past. Get on the bus, travel, warm-up and play the game!”

So friends, as you can see from reading Alan’s responses above, he is extremely team orientated, a strength which I personally feel is a great asset to have not only as a coach but also as a person. It is an attribute that will benefit everyone in the Munster camp, especially the younger players.

I hope the whole of Munster will join me in welcoming Alan to the team!. I am sure that not only will he take the challenge of improving our already great team head-on but will also enjoy himself along the way!



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