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Leinster confirm Leo Cullen as permanent head coach on two-year deal

Defence coach Kurt McQuilkin has also extended his contract to two years.

LEINSTER HAVE CONFIRMED that Leo Cullen has been appointed head coach of the province on a two-year contract.

The former lock had been in the role on an interim basis after Matt O’Connor was removed at the end of last season and the province have now acted to make Cullen’s position permanent.

Leo Cullen Cullen had been made permanent as head coach. Cathal Noonan / INPHO Cathal Noonan / INPHO / INPHO

Cullen informed Leinster’s players of his decision to accept the offer at a squad meeting this morning in UCD.

Leinster have also confirmed that Kurt McQuilkin’s short-term contract as defence coach has been extended to a two-year deal. Girvan Dempsey is on a short-term contract as backs coach until after the World Cup, while John Fogarty had previously been appointed as scrum coach.

Richie Murphy will re-join the set-up as skills and kicking coach after his involvement with Ireland’s World Cup campaign.

37-year-old Cullen won three Heineken Cups as the province’s captain, earning a total of 221 caps before moving into the position of forwards coach last season following his retirement from playing.

Cullen certainly didn’t expect to find himself as head coach at this early point in his new career, but Leinster are confident that the Wicklow man was the ideal candidate to succeed O’Connor.

We are delighted that Leo has agreed to become our head coach and to continue an association with Leinster Rugby that started back in 1995 with the schools team,” said Leinster CEO Mick Dawson in a statement.

“It was a thorough and robust interview process and we took our time to ensure that this was the case. The process included the input of all relevant stakeholders, and ultimately Leo was the best candidate that we interviewed.

Leinster's Leo Cullen lifts the Heineken Cup Trophy Cullen drove Leinster to three Heineken Cup titles as captain. Graham Stuart / INPHO Graham Stuart / INPHO / INPHO

“This is an exciting time for Leinster Rugby. We have great talent coming through our sub and full academy. We had 25 players called up to provisional World Cup squad and we have signed players during the summer that our supporters can get really excited about.

“I am sure I echo everyone’s sentiments when I wish Leo and the lads the very best of luck over the coming season.”

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