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Contepomi to leave Leinster at end of season and join Cheika's Argentina

The former Pumas out-half has had two successful spells with the Irish province.

Contepomi will leave Leinster this summer.
Contepomi will leave Leinster this summer.
Image: Bryan Keane/INPHO

LEINSTER HAVE CONFIRMED that assistant coach Felipe Contepomi will leave the province at the end of the season to become part of Michael Cheika’s coaching team with his native Argentina.

Contepomi played for Leinster from 2003 until 2009, then re-joined as part of Leo Cullen’s staff in 2018, helping them to three Pro14 titles since.

The former Pumas out-half has responsibility for Leinster’s backs and has earned positive reviews from the province’s players for his coaching in that area of the game.

Contepomi, who is part of World Rugby’s Hall of Fame, will join the Argentina set-up this summer, working under new boss Cheika, who was previously his head coach in Leinster.

Cullen will now look for a new backs coach ahead of next season, while Leinster are also set to have a new contact skills coach with Denis Leamy in line to return home to Munster as part of Graham Rowntree’s coaching staff.

Contepomi will hope to finish on a high with Leinster by helping them towards their fifth Champions Cup title and another URC crown.

“This is a brilliant opportunity for me and for my family to return home but I would like to say how thankful I am to Leo Cullen and to Leinster Rugby for the opportunity to come back to Leinster and to Dublin over the last few years,” said Contepomi.

“It was an easy decision to come back to the club and I have loved every minute of my time here working with Leo and all the coaches and backroom team.

“Of course, I would also like to thank all the players that I have had the privilege and the pleasure to work with. My time as a coach has only added to the warmth and the love I have for the club from my time here as a player.

“While there have been great moments on the field, it is the memories and the friendships made off the field that I will take with me.

“There is still of course a huge end to the season to come and I hope to finish the season strong before heading home.

felipe-contepomi-and-leo-cullen Leinster and Cullen will be looking for a new backs coach. Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

“This is a proud moment for me and for my family. The opportunity and the challenge presented by Michael Cheika and the UAR is one that excites me and I very much look forward to continuing my coaching journey back home. To be able to coach your country is special. There is no higher honour as a coach and I look forward to getting started in due course.

“Dublin and Leinster have been very good to me as a player and as a coach, and I will forever be grateful for all that we have achieved together.

“But the time is right for me now to return home and I will leave with nothing but fond memories of a great club, great supporters and my home away from home.”

Meanwhile, Leinster boss Cullen paid tribute to Contepomi’s influence on the province.

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“It’s been a privilege for everyone at Leinster Rugby to have had the opportunity to work with Felipe over the last four seasons,” said Cullen. “He is a great character to have around and has made a huge contribution to so many areas of the club.

“We were all excited at the thought of ‘getting Felipe back’ to coach the group and he has definitely lived up to our hopes. He is a great tactician, and I am sure he will go on to enjoy an outstanding coaching career.

“Of course, we will miss Felipe but everyone understands the opportunity to return to Argentina to take up an exciting new role, plus the draw of being closer to family. This day was always likely to come but for me, the memories are only good ones as we celebrate the successes we have shared. Hopefully, we can add to those by finishing this season as strongly as possible.

“On behalf of everyone at Leinster, I would like to wish Felipe, Sofia and the rest of the Contepomi family all the best for the future. They will always have the warmest of welcomes here in Dublin and who knows, maybe there will be a ‘third coming’ down the line!”

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