Joe Schmidt says he was "as surprised as anyone" when Leinster decided to part company with Matt O’Connor last week.
The Ireland coach has distanced himself from the suggestion that he or the IRFU had any involvement in the decision for the Australian to leave the province after a disappointing season.
Schmidt had clashed publicly with O’Connor in recent weeks over the controversial player management scheme, but speaking before tomorrow’s meeting with the Barbarians the coach said he had been expecting to work with his successor next season.
“I was as surprised as anyone, it’s not the IRFU’s decision. It’s purely a Leinster game board decision. That’s the autonomy they had,” he said.
“Those relationships are really important, I think everybody who has to share resources at stages are going to be contesting where and when those resources are best utilised. That’s part of the feedback that exists between the IRFU and player management.
“We were predicting that we would be continuing going forward and trying to be.”
Schmidt admitted he’ll be keeping a close eye on the process of replacing O’Connor.
“I’ll be an interested observer, because I’ll be working with that person and that person will have a number of Ireland international players. That’s something that’s their process and they’ll work through that and we’ll find out when that process has gone through that cycle.”