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London Irish confirm Declan Kidney as technical consultant, Les Kiss takes reins as head coach

Kidney has signed a three-year deal with the club, replacing Brendan Venter who has been released from his part-time contract with immediate effect.

IRELAND’S GRAND SLAM-winning coach Declan Kidney says he can’t wait to get started after London Irish confirmed his and Les Kiss’ appointment with immediate effect.

Kidney will take up his role of technical consultant with the struggling Premiership club as a direct replacement for Brendan Venter who vacates the role of technical director he held since 2016.

Declan Kidney with Les Kiss Kidney and Kiss at Ireland training in 2009. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Kiss, who won three Six Nations titles as defence coach under Kidney and Joe Schmidt, has been appointed head coach.

Both men have committed to three-year contracts, which a statement from the club this afternoon today says will ‘remain in place regardless of whether London Irish are in the Premiership or Championship in 2018/19′. The Exiles currently sit rock bottom of the Premiership, 14 points adrift of Worcester Warriors.

“It is a club which has a history of producing quality young players, and there appears to be a group of coaches with plenty of promise, and an off-field management team which is putting everything in place for a bright future,” says Kidney, who has worked as director of sport in UCC since 2013.

“I’m under no illusions that this is going to be a challenging job. English club rugby is very competitive, and it is going to take several years for us to cement a place at the top end of the Aviva Premiership, but I believe that with the right structures this becomes a realistic ambition for us.

“I’m particularly excited to be working with Les Kiss again. We had a great relationship with the Ireland national team and I know that he is the right person to join me on this journey.

“We can’t wait to get started.”

Declan Kidney Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Kiss, who was ousted as Ulster director of rugby in January, was also keen to get back to working in rugby, in particular with the coaching ticket who will remain in place for the remainder of this campaign.

“Declan is a great person to work with,” said the Australian, “it is a big job for us, but one we are relishing.

“There are some good coaches already at Hazelwood, the likes of Nick Kennedy, Declan Danaher, Paul Hodgson and George Skivington, who have all shown their commitment to the club for several years, and we believe that we will be able to help them reach their potential.”

The man overseeing the latest reshuffle, Irishman Mick Crossan added: “we’re as ambitious as every other club in the Aviva Premiership, and in order to achieve the objectives we have set for the club we need to make changes in the coaching structure to give us the best chance for success.”

‘It’s good to see’ – O’Mahony pleased by Kidney and Kiss to London Irish reports

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Sean Farrell

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