Saturday 29 April 2017

O'Sullivan weighs up options closer to home after leaving USA

RUGBY

Hugh Farrelly

FORMER Ireland coach Eddie O'Sullivan is "keeping his options open" after announcing that he is moving on from his role with the USA Eagles, with suggestions that his next job could be in English or French rugby.

O'Sullivan guided the US to victory over Russia at the World Cup in New Zealand in what was regarded as a successful campaign for the Eagles, who prevented Ireland from gaining a four-try bonus point following a committed display in their opening pool clash in New Plymouth.

"Eddie has come to the decision that is time to return to the European rugby scene and he is keeping his options open," said O'Sullivan's manager John Baker.

"Eddie has achieved his goals with the USA Eagles.

"He was brought in to oversee a successful World Cup and, after putting in a very good performance against Ireland, Eddie brought the US to the victory they wanted against Russia.

"It is early days and there will be openings in England and France which will be assessed as they present themselves."

O'Sullivan coached the US in the 1999 World Cup and then came in as assistant to Warren Gatland with Ireland before taking over as head coach in 2001.

O'Sullivan led Ireland to Triple Crowns in '04, '06 and '07 but, having failed to achieve pool qualification at the '07 World Cup, he moved on as Ireland coach after the '08 Six Nations, with Declan Kidney taking over.

O'Sullivan was linked with the Edinburgh coaching job earlier this year but had World Cup commitments with the US, with Michael Bradley eventually taking over at the Scottish outfit.

"I've thoroughly enjoyed my two and a half years as head coach to the USA Eagles," said O'Sullivan.

"I was delighted with our progress and overall performances in the World Cup but feel it is now time for me to consider other options closer to home.

"The win over Russia and performance against Ireland on 9/11 was particularly special."

O'Sullivan is a 50/1 outsider with bookmakers to take over as England coach following the resignation of Martin Johnson yesterday.

Leinster's Heineken Cup-winning coach Joe Schmidt is 6/1 with his predecessor Michael Cheika, now coach of Stade Francais, at 25/1 and ex-Ireland full back and Harlequins coach Conor O'Shea at 16/1.

Irish Independent

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