Monday 22 January 2018

Leinster defence coach set to return to New Zealand ahead of new season

Will Slattery

Will Slattery

Leinster have been dealt a blow just two and a half weeks out from the start of the Pro12 after it was announced that defence coach Kurt McQuilkin is set to return to New Zealand due to personal reasons.

McQuilkin, who was capped five times for Ireland as a centre, started his second spell at Leinster last year as the province added his experience to Leo Cullen's homegrown coaching ticket.

In first spell at Leinster he was a part of the coaching staff that guided the team to their first ever Heineken Cup final win in 2009.

Speaking on the Leinster website, head coach Cullen wished his departing colleague well and added that they have already started the process of replacing him.

"This is very sad news for Kurt and his family and our priority is supporting Kurt in his decision as best we can," Cullen said.

"He will be with us for a few more weeks but after that he will head back home with our very best wishes in very trying circumstances and with the thanks of everyone at Leinster Rugby for his stellar contribution over the last 12 months.

"The process of replacing Kurt has already begun but right now our focus is on Kurt and ensuring that his move back home is as seamless as possible."

McQuilkin's departure will be a big loss for Leinster as the province's defence was their biggest strength last season, conceding both the lowest number of tries in the Pro12 (27) and the lowest number of points (290).

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