Thursday 29 September 2016

O'Driscoll: Leinster were rash to sack O'Connor

Published 06/07/2016 | 02:30

Brian O’Driscoll has admitted that Leinster’s decision to sack Matt O’Connor with a year left on his contract was ‘rash’. Photo by Chalres McQuillan/Getty Images
Brian O’Driscoll has admitted that Leinster’s decision to sack Matt O’Connor with a year left on his contract was ‘rash’. Photo by Chalres McQuillan/Getty Images

Brian O'Driscoll has admitted that Leinster's decision to sack Matt O'Connor with a year left on his contract was 'rash'.

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The Australian left the province last year after a disappointing season and was replaced by Leo Cullen.

O'Driscoll revealed that he was part of the committee involved in hiring Cullen and insisted that Graham Henry joining Leinster as a consultant on a short-term basis is a positive step.

For the second successive season, Leinster failed to win a trophy and O'Driscoll believes that, in hindsight, his former club might have handled the situation with O'Connor differently.

Read more: Brian O'Driscoll has had his say on Graham Henry's arrival at Leinster

"What happened beforehand, with the firing of Matt, if they had their time back would they hold onto him for another year? Quite possibly. Perhaps, it was a little bit rash," he said.

"You have to understand the whole situation to realise that, yes, he (Cullen) probably got the role before his experience would have, maybe, warranted or would have liked.

Offered

"At the same time, when a job is offered to you, irrespective of the circumstances, it is difficult to turn it down.

"What was he to say? 'Oh no, I will stay in my senior role.' Knowing both sides, it is not as cut and dried as it might appear."

The ex-Ireland captain played under Henry with the Lions in 2001 and believes that the former New Zealand supremo will drive standards within the province when he officially begins his role on July 30.

"I know the All Blacks were big on standards, not having balls down," O'Driscoll maintained.

"That is driven by the coach to make sure that mediocrity isn't acceptable. It is a positive step. Leo is the one that instigated it which makes it even more positive.

"He doesn't feel it's a threat. He's encouraging it and enhancing his knowledge, which has to be a good thing."

Irish Independent

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