Jono commits to Blues cause

Des Berry

LEINSTER forwards coach Jono Gibbes will stay at Leinster for another two years.

This important decision comes as Leinster's coaching 'Holy Trinity' of Joe Schmidt, Gibbes and scrum guru Greg Feek have already been bandied around as possible successors to Pat Lam at the Super-15 Auckland Blues in the New Zealand media circles.

"I think it is an awesome opportunity to continue the progression of this group. Obviously as a young coach, there is also a lot of progression left in me," said Gibbes.

"The players are hard-nosed and driven. I bounce off their energy. It is very attractive to work with players that are really motivated.

"On top of that, Leinster is really well supported. The sheer volume that comes to our games, even our away games, can't help but inspire me.

"My wife, Marina, and my little girl, Uliana -- she holds an Irish passport -- are really happy here. They enjoy our life in Dublin and it makes it an easy decision."


It is the second contract extension Gibbes has earned in his first professional post as a forwards coach.

He was brought to Leinster by former coach Michael Cheika on a two-year contract in July 2008.

When Cheika decided to leave Leinster for Stade Francais after five successful seasons in 2009, Gibbes stayed to see out his two-year contract.

The arrival of coach Joe Schmidt signaled the beginning of a harmonious relationship that has been crucial to Leinster's rise to the unofficial tag as the 'the best club in Europe' in the last two seasons.

It is one thing to reach the top of the mountain, quite another to stay there. That is where Leinster find themselves, standing on the precipice of something magical with the possibility of a sharp fall ahead.

The future starts tomorrow night in the PRO12 League semi-final against Glasgow -- Warriors by name and by nature.

For all their quality, Glasgow are seen as a minor irritant to Leinster's pursuit of a third Heineken Cup in four years. This is a dangerous presumption.

"Glasgow stand alone. They deserve respect. I think they would love to be reading about people talking about next week," said Gibbes.


"They will come with a lot of confidence. They are well-coached and they've got some good pedigree on the park. It is a one-off game for them. Their quality has helped with not looking to next week."

Gibbes was keen to mention Glasgow's award as "The PRO12 Collision Kings" this season.

Certainly, their transformation from meek-and-mild at the breakdown in Round Two of the Heineken Cup to angry-and-aggressive made it a game of inches at Firhill in Round Five.

"The game of rugby is about physicality. It was a big difference for them in the away game in the Heineken Cup. It is a play-off game, so I would imagine that level will go up again."

Leinster will have to be ready for a big athletic Glasgow pack of forwards that are no mugs at the breakdown, a traditional area of strength for Scottish teams.

"What has worked for us as a group -- Joe is the figurehead -- is that we've maintained. It's a week-at-a-time for the team; what's in front of us this week, what do we need, what's important and who's the best equipped to help that.

"Now that we've arrived here, I don't see us going away from what we've used the whole year," he issued.

Gibbes will not be 'going away' anytime soon.