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Exit looms for coach O'Sullivan

Eddie O'Sullivan's reign could be abuot to end
Eddie O'Sullivan is expected to depart as Ireland coach

Eddie O'Sullivan's reign as Ireland coach is expected to come to an end when Irish rugby bosses meet to review a dismal RBS Six Nations campaign.

After a disastrous World Cup, Ireland's lowest championship finish since 1999 seems to have ensured an end to the coach's six-and-a-half-year reign.

The IRFU said a detailed review of the Six Nations would be carried out soon.

However, it is believed officials may consider negotiating severance terms on O'Sullivan's four-year contract.

The IRFU came in for criticism for not terminating O'Sullivan's contract after Ireland had crashed out of the World Cup in humiliating fashion.

I believe I'm the right man to lead Irish rugby

Eddie O'Sullivan
They commissioned an independent report, which recommended the appointment of a team manager, backs coach and sports psychologist, but none were introduced before the Six Nations.

Philip Browne, the IRFU's chief executive, said in a statement on Sunday: "The IRFU shares in the disappointment with the outcome of this year's RBS Six Nations from an Irish perspective and will be undertaking a detailed review of our performance.

"Our objective in this, as always, will be to ensure the Irish team has in place the optimal structures to allow it to perform at the highest international levels in the future."

O'Sullivan is Ireland's most successful Test coach, having led them to three Triple Crowns in four years from 2004-07 and four Six Nations runners-up finishes in five years.

Saturday's defeat by England condemned Ireland to their first Six Nations finish outside the top three, but O'Sullivan is keen to remain in his post.

"I believe I'm the right man to lead Irish rugby," he said. "The big question for me is 'have I still got the hunger for the job?' - and the answer to that is 'absolutely'.

"I love this job and have always given it 110%. If I felt I couldn't give that then I'd be the first to admit it.

"What we do after every tournament is have a meeting with the Irish Rugby Football Union and discuss the bigger picture.

"After that, I suppose we'll know what we're doing going forward. Until then, there is not much point in doing anything."

Two players have already come out in support of the coach.

Ulster centre Andrew Trimble claims the players "are behind Eddie 100%".

I would like Eddie to stay on. I have a lot of respect for him as a coach

Ireland hooker Rory Best
"Everyone is criticising Eddie, but it is not his fault we dropped balls against England," Trimble said.

Ireland hooker Rory Best also believes O'Sullivan should continue in the post.

"It has been a disappointing Six Nations campaign and our coach is under fire," Best told BBC Sport in his regular column.

"That is not surprising, he is an easy target to hit simply because he is the coach.

"I would like Eddie to stay on. I have a lot of respect for him as a coach. He has brought my game on a lot in the last two years.

"When I look at the player I am now, and think about where I was a couple of years ago, I owe him big time."

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