Saturday 22 October 2016

D'Arcy welcomes 'positive' Lancaster appointment

Published 16/09/2016 | 02:30

Leinster senior head coach Stuart Lancaster, left, and Isa Nacewa, right, during Leinster Rugby Squad Training in Belfield, Dublin. Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile
Leinster senior head coach Stuart Lancaster, left, and Isa Nacewa, right, during Leinster Rugby Squad Training in Belfield, Dublin. Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile

Gordon D'Arcy has hailed Leinster's appointment of Stuart Lancaster as a positive development for the province and he believes the former England coach will have no problems working alongside Leo Cullen.

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The former Ireland centre, who played 267 times for Leinster before retiring last year, is adamant that the arrival of Lancaster as a 'senior coach' is a "win-win" for both parties.

Lancaster's primary concern will be defensive responsibilities and improvements will certainly be required against Edinburgh this evening.

"If you take away the World Cup and how his tenure ended, you would say he is a very successful coach," D'Arcy insisted.


"I'd say he's the most successful coach since Clive Woodward. He has a huge amount of experience. If you take the Lions as the top job and then international rugby at the next level, he has a huge amount of experience in that environment.

"That can only be a positive for the organisation. He has a different set of eyes, he has been in really intensive environments and has done well in them.

"I also think it is a huge strength of character from him, that he is willing to come in and work for an organisation under a young coach. You can see he definitely has a love for the game.

"It is a huge positive. And in terms of culture, you can see it being a positive for a lot of the young guys in Leinster. Because he is a big name, he is well recognised, as all English coaches are."

Cullen made it clear that he picked up the phone to tempt Lancaster to the province. Leinster already called upon Graham Henry last month and according to D'Arcy, that shows Cullen's willingness to thrive in his role as head coach.

"That's like saying an elephant has a long nose, Leo's strength of character, that goes without saying," he said.

"The guy has soldiered the captaincy of Leinster Rugby, himself and, say, Shane Jennings have always been pinpointed as guys who help revolutionise the culture when they came back from Leicester.


"His strength of character is something that goes synonymously but it probably is worth mentioning that yes, he [Lancaster] was offered this and he said, 'Yes, I'll take this'."

As for any potential power struggle that may or may not ensue between Lancaster and Cullen, D'Arcy is confident that the pair can bring the best out in each other.

"I wouldn't think so, he's on a nine-month contract," he added.

"It's a win-win for everybody, if Leinster do well then Stuart Lancaster is back in a successful organisation, maybe he has the option to stay on, he might like Leinster. He and Leo might dovetail lovely.

"Or he gets offered another head coach job off the back of this because he's shown that he loves rugby and has come back in and done well with the Leinster team and really the World Cup, they were doomed to fail in that period and largely nothing they did then was going to change that.

"So I think it's a win-win for everybody."

Irish Independent

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