Friday 18 August 2017

Blues legends offer support to Cullen and 'Leinster DNA' for coach's role

Leinster chief executive Mick Dawson said that the province was still looking for someone to replace Matt O'Connor
Leinster chief executive Mick Dawson said that the province was still looking for someone to replace Matt O'Connor Newsdesk Newsdesk

Leinster begin pre-season training next Wednesday but they will do so without a new head coach.

Isa Nacewa will link up for a second coming with some old friends but he will do so without the head coach who recruited him.

Gordon D'Arcy, with the best will in the world, is hoping a World Cup final fling renders him unavailable but wherever he is, he feels Leinster can survive without a new head coach.

Following Matt O'Connor's sacking, Leinster chief executive Mick Dawson has admitted the province are no nearer securing a replacement.

Nacewa told the Irish Independent yesterday he had sounded out former All Black Leon McDonald but business and coaching commitments ruled him out.

However, D'Arcy is adamant that if Leinster don't secure O'Connor's successor, an arduous enough task without the complications of a World Cup to contend with, it wouldn't necessarily be a calamity for the club.

"It's a big deal to the outside world because everyone is wondering who is steering the ship," says D'Arcy, who was dropped by O'Connor during last season's European campaign.


"Well, Leo Cullen has been putting these processes in place for months now. And it gives Girvan Dempsey the chance to step up his role during the summer. I'm really, really impressed with what I've seen from Girvan, and you have Kurt McQuilkin coming back and John Fogarty stepping up too.

"It's a Leinster group and they understand what creates the Leinster DNA. They're young and hungry. Guy Easterby (Leinster manager) and Mick are off doing what they do best, finding quality coaches to bring in.

"Only time will tell. But I could be very confident with the guys we have in control now, that's only my personal opinion."

Nacewa admits that events spiralled beyond his control as O'Connor exited the premises to which the 32-year-old will return in six days' time but he, too, brushes off any concern.

"As rugby players, you just have to get on with it," says Nacewa. "You can't control what is going on in the background so why lose sleep over it? Why make a fuss out of it?

"Leo is one of the most successful captains in Europe and he is going to be a really outstanding, elite coach.

"He already has one season under his belt and even he will tell us to get on with it.

"It's a really big job and there is a lot of expectation behind it. You need someone who is able for it. And we have to get it right."

Irish Independent

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