Leo Cullen ‘won’t stand in the way’ of Argentina move for backs coach Contepomi

Leinster backs coach Felipe Contepomi. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Leinster’s Leo Cullen has remained coy on links between Felipe Contepomi and the vacant Argentina head coach role.

The former Leinster out-half and international for ‘Los Pumas’, now operating as backs coach for the province, has been strongly linked with the job since Mario Ledesma stepped down a week ago.

But Cullen wouldn’t be drawn too deep into discussion on Contepomi’s future, insisting that these links will always appear when jobs become available.

“We talk to all the coaches, not just Felipe. We have a strong group here and we’ll always have speculation and links with Stuart (Lancaster), Robin (McBryde) and Denis Leamy who is making his way through the coaching ranks now,” Cullen said.

“There’s some great people here. When jobs come up they’re going to be linked. I think there’s three Argentinean coaches coaching at the top level in Europe and it just so happens that he’s one of them so we expect him to be linked. We’d like to think he’s happy here.”

In his time as head coach with the province, Cullen has overseen some change to the backroom set-up with the likes of Hugh Hogan, Noel McNamara and John Fogarty moving on to different roles in the last number of years.

“There’s always some level of turnover here. Opportunities will come along and particularly for an international job. We would never stand in anyone’s way.

“From an athletic performance point of view, it’s a similar level and we’ll always celebrate lads if they move on,” he added.

It’s Ospreys at the RDS Arena this evening for the URC holders as they look to push on further from last week’s win against Edinburgh.

The Welsh side had a stunning late victory in the same fixture in March last season, three tries in the closing minutes securing a rare victory for them at the Dublin venue.

James Lowe returns to the match-day squad for Cullen’s men, taking his place on the bench, while Cian Healy, Jordan Larmour and Ryan Baird are all included from the off having been released from international duty for the weekend.

Injuries and Six Nations call-ups mean that Harry Byrne is once again called upon to slot into the Leinster midfield where he has featured off the bench over the last month.

Hooker Seán Cronin is also set to make his 200th appearance for the province off the bench.

Verdict: Leinster

Leinster – J O’Brien; J Larmour, J Osbourne, H Byrne, D Kearney; R Byrne, L McGrath; C Healy, J Tracy, M Ala’alatoa; R Molony, R Baird; M Moloney, S Penny, M Deegan. Reps: S Cronin, P Dooley, T Clarkson, J Dunne, N McCarthy, R O’Loughlin, J Lowe.

Ospreys – D Evans; K Giles, M Collins, K Williams, L Morgan; S Myler, R Webb; N Smith, S Parry, T Botha; B Davies, W Griffiths; E Roots, H Deaves, M Morris. Reps: E Taoine, R Jones, R Henry, L Ashley, D Lydiate, R Morgan-Williams, G Anscombe, TT Wheeler.

Leinster v Ospreys, Live, RTÉ2/Premier Sports 2, 5.0