Belfast Telegraph

Friday 19 September 2014

New deals for Kidney and staff

Declan Kidney

Ireland coach Declan Kidney and his backroom team have agreed contract extensions through to the end of the 2012-13 season.

Kidney's existing deal will expire after this year's World Cup but he along with assistant coaches Gert Smal, Les Kiss and Mark Tainton have now committed themselves to staying on with the Irish Rugby Football Union.

Only Alan Gaffney of the current coaching set-up will leave after the World Cup, as he plans to return to his native Australia. IRFU chief executive Philip Browne said: "The IRFU are delighted that Declan Kidney, Gert Smal, Les Kiss and Mark Tainton have all agreed to their new contracts."

He added: "We felt it was important to give the squad continuity over the next four months and importantly after the end of the World Cup tournament in New Zealand.

"Apart from securing the Grand Slam in 2009, the squad has made significant progress over the last two years in terms of results and the development of players in international competition.

"This is not only due to the ability of the players, but the standard of coaching they have received. The contract extension to the coaching staff allows everybody to plan ahead following the World Cup with a greater degree of certainty and to allow the team to continue to develop.

"The focus now for the coaches and players is firmly on the preparations for the World Cup and the tournament itself."

Ireland head coach Declan Kidney commented: "It has been a privilege over the last three years to have been involved with the Ireland team and so I am delighted that the IRFU have offered me the opportunity to continue that work.

"To be able to work with the level of players and coaches that Ireland have had during that time is a chance that very few get, so it has been a wonderful experience.

"While the World Cup has been our focus in terms of developing the team and what we have been aiming at over the last number of years in terms of squad development, I think there are plenty more young players still to come through to international rugby and that is an exciting prospect for the future."

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