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Last Updated: Tuesday, 2 October 2007, 08:08 GMT 09:08 UK
Irish rugby boss backs O'Sullivan
IRFU chief executive Philip Browne
IRFU chief executive Philip Browne backs Eddie O'Sullivan
Irish Rugby Football Union chief executive Philip Browne has given his full backing to beleaguered national head coach Eddie O'Sullivan.

Speaking on RTE, Ireland's national broadcaster, Browne said O'Sullivan's four-year contract would be honoured.

"Absolutely," said Browne. "We have put our faith in Eddie. We made decisions last May in terms of where we wanted to go over the next four years.

"We're happy with that decision. In our view he's the best man for the job."

Browne went on to point out that O'Sullivan had overseen the most successful period in the history of Irish rugby.

"What we have is a situation where we've had three bad matches and people are very disappointed - no more than ourselves.

606: DEBATE

"But we also have to reflect on what has happened over the last four or five years, where we have had the most successful performance of any Irish team or squad.

"That in effect really dictated and set the scene or the context in which we made decisions.

"In our view those decisions were right and we are quite happy with the situation we have," continued Browne.

"You can look across the water in Wales, where decisions have been made in relation to their coach.

"Wales are going into a situation where they have had 12 or 14 coaches in the last 21 years.

We are a small sporting nation, and I think what Eddie has brought to this team and Irish rugby has been second to none

Philip Browne

"I don't think that is necessarily good for Irish rugby to go down that road. We believe in continuity.

"We are a small sporting nation, and I think what Eddie has brought to this team and Irish rugby has been second to none.

"I think we had a blip. We are going to have to address the reasons why we had that blip and we'll do that in a considered way in a review process."

Many voiced surprise that O'Sullivan was given a four-year extension to his contract before the World Cup.

However, the precedent was set back in 2003 when he was given a four-year extension a week before Ireland travelled to Australia for the World Cup.

O'Sullivan will have completed six years in the job since he took over from Warren Gatland on 30 November, 2001.

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