Attention turns to Leinster's next attack coach as Sean O'Brien gets coaching gig
"It would be good to get in someone with a different perspective."
It is all go in Irish rugby coaching circles, today. Denis Leamy is leaving Leinster for Munster but, in Sean O'Brien, his replacement has already been found.
Minutes after Leinster announced Leamy (contact skills coach) would be leaving their coaching set-up, Munster swooped in with the news he was going to be their new defence coach. The Tipperary native, who won two Heineken Cups as a Munster player, turned heads in club rugby before progressing through the Leinster academy, as a coach, and into the province's senior squad.
Leamy will work under Graham Rowntree at Munster, next season, and joins Mike Prendergast (attack) and Andi Kyriacou (forwards) as part of a new-look coaching ticket. There could yet be additions to that coaching set-up.
Sean O'Brien is coming home
As for Leinster, they will have 'The Tullow Tank' back on deck for next season. Sean O'Brien is hanging up his playing boots after three seasons with London Irish, following a 2019 switch from Leinster.
Over the past two seasons, O'Brien has been co-host of JOE's House of Rugby show, in the UK, alongside Saracens and England star Alex Goode. He commented:
"I’d like to thank Leo Cullen for the opportunity and it’s an exciting one. Building on the great work of Hugh Hogan and most recently Denis Leamy, I can’t wait to get stuck in. I'll be working with players that I already know, but there is also some real talent coming through and to be having my first coaching opportunity back home at Leinster, is pretty special."
Leinster are not finished tooling up their coaching staff for 2022/23, and beyond. With Felipe Contepomi off to become assistant to Argentina head coach Michael Cheika, it leaves an attack coach vacancy that needs to be filled.
Former Leinster fullback Rob Kearney has some interesting views on the matter, and he would like the province to get in a fresh face, with a fresh coaching perspective.
Rob Kearney on Leinster's next attack coach
Many Leinster supporters will have wondered, after their side's Champions Cup final loss to La Rochelle, what the province could do to provide an extra attacking wrinkle, or two, to their game.
"Sometimes, after losses like this," Rob Kearney says, "it is very easy to think, let's hit the panic button and rip up everything we're doing. I don't think that's necessarily the case."
Kearney feels it 'did not click' for Leinster in that final defeat, and cites passing inaccuracies and not being able to inflict their preferred game-plan on the French side. "We only really see that when they come up against the bigger, stronger and more physical sides," he adds.
"Getting fresh eyes, insight and intellect from a different part of the world is really beneficial to organisations, too. You look at Robin McBryde and the impact that he has had on the [Leinster] group, and how highly all the players and coaches speak of him.
"Whether they go down to the southern hemisphere and look at a coach down there, I wouldn't be surprised if that was the case. But it's a big role, and a good opportunity to bring in a coach that looks at the game very differently, and who has got exposure to a different sort of rugby, in another part of the world."
Leinster have a close working relationship with Super Rugby giants, Crusaders so they may look there, or elsewhere in that competition, to bring some fresh thoughts to their attacking approach.
Work on that appointment will carry on, behind the scenes, but the immediate on-field focus is Glasgow Warriors in the United Rugby Championship quarter finals. Having let one trophy slip away, Leinster will be determined to close out their season with three straight victories.
Rob Kearney will be part of the Premier Sports team bringing live coverage of all four URC quarter-finals this weekend. Tune-in to every second of the drama live on Premier Sports - sign up at www.premiersports.com