Kidney signs up for two more years with Ireland
DECLAN Kidney has put pen to paper on a two-year extension to his contract, which was due to expire after the World Cup.
The Ireland coach's future had been a closely guarded secret, but yesterday he committed himself to the job until 2013, along with assistant coaches Gert Smal, Les Kiss and Mark Tainton, who have all signed up for the same period.
Backs coach Alan Gaffney has taken the decision to return home to Australia and IRFU chief executive Philip Browne yesterday confirmed that if Kidney wants to replace him after the tournament in New Zealand, he will be given the funds to do so.
Speaking at the union's annual council meeting, Browne would not be drawn on whether the terms of the coaches' contracts would be increased, reduced or the same.
Browne and the IRFU came under fire four years ago for handing Eddie O'Sullivan a new deal before the World Cup in France. The team subsequently had a disastrous tournament and the coach lasted less than a year of his extension.
The duration of Kidney's contract may have been decided with that recent history in mind, while the timing of its conclusion -- ahead of the 2013 Lions tour -- will fuel debate as to Kidney's candidacy for the role.
"That's for the Lions," Browne said, when asked about the issue. "From our point of view, the Rugby World Cup is our priority and also to ensure stability afterwards. What happens with the Lions in 2013 is a matter for them."
Browne called the contract process "organic."
"We had discussions and Declan outlined what he wanted to achieve and so did we, it was a meeting of minds.
"We're very happy with the team and the progress of the team. I think this provides a degree of stability with the World Cup on the way and we're happy with the guys who have extended their contracts."