Sunday 19 November 2017

Schmidt ponders Ireland role for Feek

Leinster scrum coach Greg Feek instructs the Leinster players during pre-season squad training
Leinster scrum coach Greg Feek instructs the Leinster players during pre-season squad training
Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

GREG FEEK could be in line for a return to the Ireland coaching set-up as Joe Schmidt looks to put the finishing touches to his ticket ahead of the November internationals.

Leinster's Richie Murphy has been confirmed as kicking coach for the three-Test Guinness Series that sees the New Zealander take charge of his first games against Samoa, Australia and the All Blacks.

Forwards coach John Plumtree is currently assessing his options after the two-day squad session earlier this week and, while no firm decision has been taken on whether a scrum coach will be drafted in, it looks likely that the former Sharks coach will seek assistance in that regard.

Feek would be seen as a leading contender for the position given he ticks many of the boxes needed. The former New Zealand international hooker has worked within the Irish set-up before and also works daily with Cian Healy, Richardt Strauss, Mike Ross, Sean Cronin and Jack McGrath.

The IRFU would need Leinster's permission for Feek to lend his skills to the national team, but they did not stand in Murphy's way.

Meanwhile, Jake White could be in line to replace Vern Cotter at Clermont after quitting the Brumbies.

The former South Africa coach, who won the 2007 World Cup, had two years left on his contract with the Canberra-based Super Rugby side.

However, after missing out on the Australia job to Ewen MacKenzie last summer, he opted to walk away two months after guiding the Brumbies to the southern hemisphere's grand final and being the only club side to beat the Lions.

Leinster's Zane Kirchner has retained his place at full-back in the South Africa side to face Australia in Saturday's Rugby Championship clash in Cape Town, but Ulster's Ruan Pienaar has lost the No 9 shirt to Fourie du Preez and drops to the bench.

Australia have recalled captain James Horwill to the second-row, but Will Genia continues on the bench as Nic White retains the scrum-half berth. Joe Tomane replaces the suspended James O'Connor, while Tevita Kuridrani starts at outside centre.

SOUTH AFRICA – Z Kirchner; W le Roux, JJ Engelbrecht, J de Villiers (capt), B Habana; M Steyn, F du Preez; J du Plessis, A Strauss, T Mtawarira, E Etzebeth, F van der Merwe, F Louw, W Alberts, D Vermeulen.

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