Wednesday 22 August 2018

'Destiny' took me back to the Leinster set-up - Contepomi

Leinster coach Felipe Contepomi. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Leinster coach Felipe Contepomi. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Independent.ie Sportsdesk

New Leinster backs coach Felipe Contepomi plans to add an extra dimension to the province's coaching philosophy.

Contepomi made 116 appearances for Leinster between 2003 and 2009 and returns in time for the start of the new season, replacing Girvan Dempsey, who joined Bath Rugby.

The former Leinster star had been head coach of Argentina XV since 2015 but left in search of new experiences as a coach and, speaking to Leinster Rugby TV, he revealed just how his return came about.

"It's a great feeling, I think it's fortunate to be able to come back to Leinster, especially after they've proved they're the best team in Europe," he said. "But also the set-up and the people here. The rugby culture, it's special. I'm very fortunate to be back here.

"I kept in touch with a lot of Irish friends but not specifically with Leo (Cullen) or Leinster itself in terms of coming back or something. It was destiny or whatever you want to call it, provided by God, I don't know.

"I thought it was good to go away from Argentina for a bit in terms of my coaching career and I was just speaking with a friend in New Zealand. I don't know how, I think he was speaking with an agent or something, and he said, 'Leinster, would you be interested?'.

Experience

"Probably there is no better place to go if I want to leave Argentina. Having played the game at a high level, it gives you a knowledge that it's good if you're able to transmit that and transmit experience and so on."

Contepomi hopes to bring what he's learned in Argentina as a coach back to his former stomping ground. He's confident that his history with the province will help him settle in.

"Hopefully, in the last few years, I've got a bit more knowledge on technique, on things the way I have seen rugby," he said. "For me as a coach, when you're going into a working team or going into a club, you need to understand the culture of the club so as to know what you can bring on or what you can leave."

With Leinster starting the new season as European Cup and Pro14 champions, Contepomi believes that their biggest challenge will be to fight off those teams looking to knock them off their pedestal.

He added: "That's the big challenge I think, for Leinster to hopefully go and do it again, from one year to the next like that. You have to keep up there all the time.

"Leinster deserves it because there's a massive structure and a real good squad and we just have to work. There's nothing else you can do, just work hard and keep doing it every day."

Irish Independent

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport