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Ireland must power on towards more glory, says Declan Kidney

By Rory Keane

Declan Kidney has warned Ireland against any complacency ahead of their three-Test tour of Australia this summer.

Kidney, who guided Ireland to a Grand Slam in 2009, is back from a five-year exile and has taken up a role as technical consultant with London Irish in the Aviva Premiership.

Joe Schmidt's Ireland squad have been lauded following their clean sweep of this year's championship but the former Munster head coach, who guided the province to a brace of Heineken Cup titles, knows the pitfalls that success can bring.

"This is a one-off Six Nations and they will know better than anyone else it starts all over again," said Kidney.

"It starts in June when they are down in Australia and there are three massive Tests ahead.

"Michael Cheika from Australia will know a lot of our lads (from his time at Leinster) and the system they have come from so it is another massive series for Ireland.

"Joe is an excellent coach. There is great credit due to all the academy systems around the country that there are so many good players coming through and Joe has a style of play that encourages those guys to come through and fill those roles."

Rory Best and Rob Kearney, who played key roles in this season's championship, were also key lieutenants during Kidney's stint as Ireland boss. For Kidney, it was a proud day to see skipper Best claim an historic brace of Grand Slam titles.

"That is the joy of international football, every game is like a cup final and you try and stay involved for as many as you can," said Kidney. "So for someone like Rory to captain the side, and I think of all the bangs and knocks he has had and the highs and lows he has had in rugby, to come through and to have the team as gelled as he has there is massive credit due to Rory and all his leadership team around him. And Joe has facilitated for that to happen."

Following Ireland's fifth-place finish in the 2013 Six Nations, Kidney stepped down from the job and took up a role as director of sport at his alma mater, University College Cork.

Now, the 58-year-old has been convinced to return to the game and help guide London Irish to safety in the Premiership.

When Les Kiss left his role as Ulster's director of rugby in January, Kidney sought out the Australian to join forces with him in London.

Kiss was first recruited by Kidney to take charge of Ireland's defence back in 2008. Kiss became a key figure in Ireland's coaching set-up, winning three Six Nations championships, across the Kidney and Schmidt reigns.

"I suppose in life sometimes the stars don't align but in this particular case, one bit of misfortune turns out to be another's good fortune," said Kidney on appointing Kiss as his new head coach at London Irish.

"Les was really unlucky with injuries at Ulster at the time and Ulster and Les parted ways," he added.

"I just gave him a shout to say, 'What would you think?' and here we are."

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