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Page last updated at 12:05 GMT, Friday, 25 April 2008 13:05 UK

Ireland poised to appoint Kidney

Declan Kidney
Kidney was Ireland's assistant coach for three years

Munster coach Declan Kidney looks set to be installed as Ireland's new coach in succession to Eddie O'Sullivan.

The announcement could be made as early as next week, particularly if Munster fail to overcome Saracens in Sunday's Heineken Cup semi-final.

Kidney, O'Sullivan's number two from 2001 to 2004, is the stand-out candidate after several high-profile alternatives ruled themselves out.

An interim coaching team could be in place against the Barbarians on 27 May.

Niall O'Donovan, who was O'Sullivan's number two, could be put in charge for that game if Munster make the Heineken Cup final, which takes place in Cardiff three days before the Kingsholm match.

Kidney's promotion to the Ireland job will be widely accepted, although some will remember his short-lived stint with Welsh region the Dragons and his subsequent move from Leinster back to Munster.

Apart from Toulouse's Guy Noves he has the best club record in Europe, guiding Munster to three finals, winning one in 2006.


The Irish Rugby Football Union committee, given the job of filling the role vacated by O'Sullivan, have also considered a completely new back-room team.

The need for a coach to be installed quickly is vitally important as the International Rugby Board world rankings will be used for the first time to seed teams at the 2011 World Cup in New Zealand.

With the draw for pool places to take place in December, Ireland have the two summer Tests - against the All Blacks and Australia - along with autumn internationals against Canada, New Zealand and Argentina - to improve their current lowly ranking of eighth.

The new system replaces the previous seeding process which was determined by a team's performances in the previous World Cup, which ended with Ireland departing after the group stages.

Kidney, as well as helping Munster to yet another semi-final, will have already been working on a top-class back-up.

Ulster's Phil Morrow has already been earmarked for the post of strength and conditioning coach.

Mick Galwey's standing down as Shannon coach could also lead to the former Ireland lock taking a managerial role within the national team.

see also
Rankings to determine RWC pools
22 Feb 08 |  Rugby Union
Smith plays down Ireland job link
20 Mar 08 |  London Irish
Reddan lauds 'excellent' Howard
20 Mar 08 |  Rugby Union
Eddie's dignified exit
20 Mar 08 |  Irish
O'Sullivan's career
20 Mar 08 |  Rugby Union
England target Johnson as manager
21 Mar 08 |  Rugby Union
Moore expects Ashton England exit
18 Mar 08 |  Rugby Union
Axe hanging over Ashton
13 Mar 08 |  Rugby Union
Jake White laid bare
05 Feb 08 |  Rugby Union
White agent reveals England talks
04 Nov 07 |  Rugby Union
White to bide time over next post
19 Nov 07 |  Rugby Union
White confirms South Africa exit
31 Oct 07 |  Rugby Union

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