Friday 21 October 2016

Brian O'Driscoll has given his verdict on Stuart Lancaster's appointment at Leinster

Published 09/09/2016 | 21:05

Brian O'Driscoll is pleased with Stuart Lancaster's appointment
Brian O'Driscoll is pleased with Stuart Lancaster's appointment

Leinster and Ireland legend Brian O'Driscoll believes Stuart Lancaster's appointment will herald an improvement in the province's fortunes this season.

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Lancaster, who left England after four years following their World Cup exit, has since undertaken short-term roles with the Atlanta Falcons NFL franchise, British Cycling’s world-class performance programme, the Football Association and, most recently, Counties Manukau in New Zealand’s NPC competition.

His appointment, which will mean he works on Leinster’s defence under the province’s rela­tively inexperienced head coach Leo Cullen, marks Lancaster’s first foray into club coaching and an attempt to rehabilitate his reputation in top-flight rugby.

Speaking on Off The Ball on Newstalk, Ireland record tryscorer described his reaction to the announcement and gave his opinion on what the 46-year-old will bring to Leinster this season.

"I as unsure initially of what my feeling was when I heard the announcement. The more I've thought about it, the more I've read up on his previous achievements, on what he'll bring to the mix... I'm quite excited by it," he said.

"Also having a look at the way Leinster played last weekend, I think there is going to be some exciting rugby played again, they just need a small bit of experience and a small bit of direction given to them as well.

"Leo has talked about the inexperience of the coaching ticket, well Stuart bring that. You're in the spotlight as England's head coach, four times second in the Six Nations, disastrous World Cup and his head was on the chopping block as a result.

"He was a popular coach among all of the players, not many people have a bad word to say about him and I think that he'll lend himself well to just modifying the culture in the Leinster setup that may have just shifted a small bit since Joe Schmidt's tenure.

"Tightening things up, pulling it all together and giving Leo more of an opportunity to oversee everything, allow him to do some of the coaching, allow Girvan Dempsey to focus solely on the backs, John Fogarty on scrum and Stuart will be able to look predominantly at defence but also give him an opportunity to bring something to the attack shape which is probably where Leinster have fallen down in the last season, season-and-a-half."

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