Ben Brady/INPHO Stuart Lancaster.

Leinster confirm Stuart Lancaster will join Racing 92 at end of season

The former England head coach will leave Leinster after seven seasons with the province.

LEINSTER HAVE CONFIRMED that senior coach Stuart Lancaster will leave the province at the end of the season to join French side Racing 92.

Lancaster had been heavily linked with the Parisian club in recent months, and the province have now confirmed that he will depart when his contract is up at the end of the current campaign, following seven seasons in Dublin.

Current Racing boss Laurent Travers is stepping up to become chairman of the club’s management board at the end of the season, with Lancaster joining as director of rugby on a four-year contract.

“I will be eternally grateful to Leo, Mick and Guy and the whole Leinster organisation for the opportunity they gave me and my family back in 2016,” Lancaster said.

Initially it was for just one season and here I am entering my seventh and that is a reflection on all the players past and present I have worked with and the people of Leinster and Ireland who have made me and my family feel so welcome.

“I have always wanted to challenge myself as a coach in different ways and the opportunity to coach in France at a club like Racing 92 is an exciting one and I will look forward to that challenge when it comes.

“In the meantime, I really want to give everything to the whole of Leinster Rugby and the supporters in the next eight months as I feel we have more to come as we drive towards the exciting challenge ahead both in the URC and in Europe.”

“Stuart has been a brilliant asset to Leinster Rugby since he joined us in 2016,” added Leinster head coach, Leo Cullen.

He has helped us to grow at all levels, both through his work with the senior team and his willingness to get involved with underage teams as well as clubs around the province, where he is always so generous with his time.

“I think there has always been a realisation that Stuart would move on to a new challenge at some stage. For that reason, we feel fortunate to have had him here for as long as we have, and we wish him, his wife Nina and kids Sophie and Dan the very best in their next adventure with Racing 92 in France.

“We have had some great days together and, on a personal level, Stu has been an incredible support. We will all miss him but I am very excited and enthused to go on and try to achieve further success this season as a group.”

Lancaster has been a major part of Leinster’s success in recent seasons, having joined the province in September 2016.

stuart-lancaster-and-leo-cullen-celebrate-after-winning-the-guinness-pro14-final Dan Sheridan / INPHO Lancaster and Cullen celebrate Pro14 success in 2019. Dan Sheridan / INPHO / INPHO

The Leinster role was his first job since being sacked as England head coach following the 2015 World Cup, where he came in for heavy criticism from some sections of the English media after the host nation failed to qualify from their pool.

At Leinster, Lancaster was able to step away from the limelight and rebuild his reputation.

Forming a superb relationship with Cullen, the pair have guided Leinster to four league titles and one Champions Cup.

Last season ended in heartbreaking fashion as Leinster were beaten in the Champions Cup final by La Rochelle before a shock home-semi defeat to the Bulls in the URC.

With Lancaster’s impending exit now confirmed, Leinster will be determined to send him off with some silverware.

The province will now begin the process of replacing Lancaster, following a summer in which the coaching team has already experienced significant change.

Attack coach Andrew Goodman and contact skills coach Seán O’Brien are both only settling into their new roles having replaced Felipe Contepomi and Denis Leamy, respectively.

With long-serving CEO Mick Dawson also stepping aside, Lancaster’s exit is the latest in a series of high-profile departures at the province.

Lancaster is due to speak to the media later today.

Racing finished sixth in the Top14 table last season and were well-beaten by Bordeaux in the first round of the play-offs. They reached the semi-finals of the Champions Cup, where they lost to fellow French side La Rochelle.

Racing last won the Top14 title in 2016. They were Champions Cup runners-up in 2016, 2018 and 2020, but have yet to land European club rugby’s top prize.

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