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Munster Director of Coaching
4 April 2005, 3:07 pm
Munster Rugby today (Thursday) announced that Declan Kidney will succeed Alan Gaffney as their Director of Coaching when Gaffney returns to his native Australia at the end of the season.
Munster Rugby today (Thursday) announced that Declan Kidney will succeed Alan Gaffney as their Director of Coaching. Gaffney, who returns to his native Australia at the end of the season to take up a position of assistant coach to the Wallabies, will remain in control of the Munster squad until their involvement in the Celtic Cup competition ends. Declan Kidney has been contracted on a three year term and like Gaffney is expected to remain on with Leinster until their season ends.

Re-action to the re-appointment of Kidney came from Munster Chief Executive Garrett Fitzgerald and squad captain, Anthony Foley.

"Firstly I would like to thank all those who expressed an interest in the position. Fitzgerald said. It is obviously a very important role and I am delighted that Declan has opted to accept it. In my opinion, he is an outstanding coach, whose record at the highest European level speaks for itself.

Despite the fact that his family are based in Cork and that he has been away from them for long periods over the past three years, I know it can't have been an easy decision for him to decide to change roles within the IRFU.

However, we found ourselves in a similar position to Leinster three years ago when we lost him to the national squad so his return is a welcome development."

Squad captain Foley said,

I am looking forward to Declan s return, looking forward to working with him again. He is a top flight coach who I have the height of respect for. All the valuable experience he has gained over the past three years should benefit us.

Having coached Munster to two Heineken Cup finals and the inaugural Celtic League Cup final, Kidney was appointed assistant to Eddie O'Sullivan when Warren Gatland was relieved of the national coaching role.

What appeared to be a difficult relationship between the national coach and his assistant ended early when Kidney was deemed surplus to requirements for the Irish summer tour to South Africa.

Kidney was then approached by several British clubs including Newport-Gwent Dragons, and, anxious to remain in coaching and with no domestic offers on the table he accepted the position - and the prospect of a commute from his home in Cork - as head coach to a side who had enjoyed success in their inaugural year under Mike Ruddock.

Then however, Leinster, who had shown no interest prior to his Welsh appointment, approached Kidney and The Dragons magnamimously agreed to release him from his contract.

This season Kidney coached Leinster to a 100% Pool record that gave them a home quarter final place in the Heineken Cup and they currently stand in third place in the Celtic League.

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