Tuesday 23 May 2017

'Ultimately Leo was the best candidate' - Leinster confirm Cullen as new head coach

Newly appointed Leinster head coach Leo Cullen
Newly appointed Leinster head coach Leo Cullen
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Leinster have today confirmed Leo Cullen as head coach of the province on a two year deal.

The former captain has been in charge of pre-season having been appointed as interim coach after Matt O'Connor's shock departure at the end of last season.

Cullen only retired from his illustrious playing career in May last year and spent a season working below O'Connor as forwards coach, but despite his lack of experience he has received the backing of a host of current and former players.

Leinster Rugby CEO Mick Dawson said that Cullen has impressed with his "tactical and strategic direction" at the club and is looking forward to having the decorated player at the helm.

"Leo's status as a player is beyond question," he said.

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"He is second only to Gordon D'Arcy in terms of senior appearances and he was an outstanding captain and leader on the pitch. Over the last 12 months or so in his capacity with the forwards and indeed over the pre-season as interim Head Coach, Leo has continued to impress everyone at Leinster with his tactical and strategic direction.”

As well as confirming Leo Cullen as Head Coach, Leinster also confirmed the makeup of Cullen's coaching team.

Kurt McQuilkin's short term arrangement has been extended to a two year contract as defence coach. As had previously been announced John Fogarty is in place as provincial scrum coach and Girvan Dempsey is in on a short term contract as backs coach until after the Rugby World Cup.

Richie Murphy who is currently with the national team as they continue their RWC preparations will rejoin the Leinster Rugby set up as skills and kicking coach post Ireland's involvement in the tournament.

Dawson admitted the recruitment process for O'Connor's successor had been "robust".

"It was a thorough and robust interview process and we took our time to ensure that this was the case. The process included the input of all relevant stakeholders, and ultimately Leo was the best candidate that we interviewed.”

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