CARL Kirwan said he would not be surprised if Omar Mouneimne was being “lined up to step in” as Worcester Warriors head coach.

But the former Warriors flanker admitted he was “uncertain” over the defence coach’s credentials to potentially take on the role with Rory Duncan’s Sixways future up in the air.

Duncan joined Worcester from Cheetahs last summer after signing a contract that is believed to expire at the end of next season.

Kirwan said he thought the 42-year-old would go on to replace Alan Solomons as Warriors’ director of rugby.


However the relationship between the club’s bosses and Duncan appears to have turned sour after it emerged that he had been interviewed for the vacancy at Southern Kings.

Warriors released a statement on July 15 that all but ruled out Duncan being part of their long-term plans and have refused to make any further comment.

“I was a little bit surprised as I expected Rory to be there with the other coaches this year but obviously there were people with different thoughts,” Kirwan said.

“We are going to have to wait and see how it plays out.

“Rory is a decent bloke and has a good knowledge of rugby.

“It was good to see him around the club and I thought he adapted quite well to Premiership rugby.

“When he first came in the lineout obviously struggled with his Super Rugby style but then he adapted pretty quickly.

“We turned it round towards the end of the season so I think he picked up some knowledge and did well to adapt.”

Warriors claimed a club-record equalling nine top-flight wins to avoid relegation and reached the knock out stages of the European Challenge Cup and Premiership Cup in Duncan’s first season at the club.

Asked whether he got the impression Duncan was looking to leave, Kirwan said: “Maybe towards the end of last year he was thinking about going home.

“I know Solly is really good friends with Omar so maybe he is being lined up to step in.”

Mouneimne, an ex-mixed martial arts fighter, has a wealth of coaching experience having worked with Stormers, Western Province, Southern Kings and Sharks in South Africa as well as with French sides Lyon and Stade Francais.

He has also coached Italy and been helping USA prepare for the upcoming Rugby World Cup.

But when asked whether Mouneimne, who moved to Warriors in 2017, would be the right man to take over from Duncan, Kirwan said: “Honesty, I don’t think he is.

“He has come in as a defence coach and has a lot of experience around contact areas and things like that.

“But as a head coach you need a lot more of a rugby knowledge.

“You need a full, wide variety of different game plans and styles of rugby and knowhow to get what you want from your players.

“I think he has got a bit of growing to do in that area.

“He is really good mates with Solly.

“They get on well so it wouldn’t surprise me if that was Solly’s thought process.

“But I would be uncertain whether it was a good decision.”

Following his arrival from South Africa, Duncan was viewed as a future director of rugby by the-then chairman Bill Bolsover.

“When he first came in, he was touted as maybe succeeding Solly to keep the club going on the right path which has struggled over the past few seasons,” Kirwan said.

“There seemed to be a bit of direction at one point but then it seems to have gone the other way again.”