Blues hand bigger role to Murphy

Des Berry

It's all go on the coaching merry-go-round. Tony McGahan and Brian McLaughlin are on their way out the doors at Munster and Ulster. Rob Penney and Mark Anscombe are on their way in.

However, it is a case of 'steady as she goes' at Leinster where assistant coach Richie Murphy has extended his tenure with a new two-year contract that will keep him there to the end of the season 2013/2014.

"Obviously, Richie is working very well with Joe (Schmidt). He has been excellent in the kicking department and has picked up a lot in his role," commented Leinster chief executive Mick Dawson.

"Apparently, he is due for greater responsibility next season. Joe is very happy with him and we are very happy with him. He is developing very well."

The ex-elite player development officer is moving up the ranks from within and is the only home-grown coach on the roster together with the New Zealand cast of Schmidt, Jono Gibbes and Greg Feek.

The current senior skills and kicking coach is an integral part of the machine. A former prolific goal-kicking Leinster out-half, he was educated at Presentation College, Bray where he captained his school to the 1990 Leinster Schools Junior Cup.

His previous AIL clubs include Greystones, Clontarf, County Carlow and Old Belvedere where he was known for his metronomic boot.

In addition, in the interests of continuity, forwards coach Jon Gibbes is on the point of concluding contract negotiations as Leinster seek to extend his stay at the club. The former All-Black forward, capped eight times, was attracted to Leinster by then coach Michael Cheika in 2008 on a two-year contract.

That was extended for another two years and Gibbes' profile has risen in tandem with Leinster's reputation from nearly men in 2008 to the brink of a third Heineken Cup in four years. He is a wanted man.

Most importantly, Joe Schmidt, one of the most sought-after coaches in world rugby, is contracted to the end of the season 2012/2013.

It is imperative that the club puts everything they have available financially to extend the New Zealanders' tenure at the club.