Surprise Candidate Leads The Way For Leinster Defence Coach Role


Leinster have reportedly identified former Bath head coach, Mike Ford as one of the leading candidates to become their new defence coach following the departure of Kurt McQuilkin.

McQuilkin has decided to return to New Zealand for personal reasons, leaving Leinster with little time to fill his role.

“Kurt leaving will obviously leave a hole,” head coach Leo Cullen told the Irish Times just over two weeks before the PRO12 season commences.

“He has had to move on for family reasons. For us now it is an opportunity to add somebody really positive into the group.”

Former England assistant coach Andy Farrell as well as former New Zealand coach Graham Henry have been ruled out. The plan was for Farrell to take a short-term dual role with Leinster and Ireland, but Ireland’s expanded November schedule has ruled that out.

Henry, who spent two weeks with the squad earlier this month, is not available on a permanent basis.

“I don’t see it happening,” said Leinster scrum coach John Fogarty.

“He has got his own roles in New Zealand. His family is there.”

Ford spent four seasons as Ireland defence coach from January 2002 and was part of the coaching staff for the British and Irish Lions tour of New Zealand in 2005. Should he be interested it would no doubt be a massive coup for Leinster to attract someone of his experience for the role.

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