Declan Kidney named new Ireland coach - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Declan Kidney named new Ireland coach

07/05/2008 11:03:42 PM Comments (0)

Ireland has named Declan Kidney as their new head coach, hoping the man who led Munster to the peak of European rugby can improve the national side's fortunes.

Kidney succeeds Eddie O'Sullivan, who resigned in March after a poor World Cup and Six Nations campaign.

"The 48-year-old current Munster coach has been invited to sign a contract that will see him lead Ireland up to and including Rugby World Cup 2011 in New Zealand," the Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) said in a statement.

Kidney, who was Ireland's assistant coach during the 2003 World Cup, led Munster to their first Heineken Cup win in 2006 and also coached Leinster for one season.

He will not be preparing Ireland for their summer tour games against the Barbarians, New Zealand and Australia to allow him to concentrate on Munster's Heineken Cup final in Cardiff on May 24 and then long-term planning for Ireland, the IRFU said.

"My focus now for the next three weeks will be totally on the Munster team and the preparation for the Heineken European Cup Final," Kidney said.

Kidney has also coached the Ireland schools and under-19 teams, including the side that won the FIRA World Cup in 1998 with players like current internationals Brian O'Driscoll, Donncha O'Callaghan and Paddy Wallace.

O'Sullivan had been hailed as the country's most successful coach but was criticised for not getting the best from a golden generation of players.

He led Ireland to three triple crowns but the team finished fourth in this year's Six Nations, winning two matches out of five having been knocked out of last year's World Cup in the group stages.

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