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Still room for 'right person' as Leinster's backs coach under Cullen

Girvan Dempsey is currently in the role on a short-term contract.

LEO CULLEN SAYS Leinster will always be on the lookout for ways to improve their coaching team, with the full-time position of backs coach remaining available.

Academy manager Girvan Dempsey is currently occupying the role on a short-term basis until the end of the World Cup.

Leo Cullen Cullen and Dempsey arrive for Leinster's win over Ulster on Friday night. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

While Cullen’s two-year deal as head coach was officially confirmed last week and Kurt McQuilkin was installed as permanent defence coach for the same duration, there was no announcement on a full-time backs coach.

Speaking at the Guinness Pro12 launch in London yesterday, Cullen pointed out that installing a new backs coach after the World Cup – by which time Leinster will have played five games and be just a fortnight from the start of the Champions Cup – could potentially be tricky.

The province have previously looked at Leo Crowley (out of contract with Canada post-RWC) and Carlos Spencer (currently out of work) as possibilities to fill the role.

I’d have to have a really good think about how that would work,” said Cullen.

“We’re already up and running in the season and (would have to think about) how that would fit together. If it’s the right person we’ll definitely be able to consider it, if it’s going to help drive the team forward.

“It’s something that we look at all the time, the same as the playing group. The reality is that there’s always a bit of movement and not just the players and rugby coaches.

“In the backroom team there can be changes that might not get highlighted as much, medical, S&C, the whole thing. We’re always looking at ways to move forward and, in theory, improve what we’re doing.

The players at today's launch take a group 'selfie' Leinster's Kevin McLaughlin and players from the 11 other Pro12 clubs at yesterday's launch. Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

“Girvan is combining his role with the academy at the moment and we’re seeing how that goes. Girvan is an amazing resource for me to have at my disposal because he knows the guys so well, the respect he has. He was away on that Emerging (Ireland) tour as well, so he’s built up a lot of experience.”

Cullen also spoke of his fortune at having a reliable coaching team around him for the beginning of his first season as head coach of his home province.

“Richie Murphy is with Ireland for the World Cup period and then he’ll come back in,” said Cullen. “He’s contracted until the end of the season with us, so I’m very fortunate that I can lean on him too.

Kurt McQuilkin, as we know, is in on a two-year deal and it’s great to have him back, a guy who is so passionate about Leinster.

“John Fogarty is another who has a very strong understanding of what it means to be successful, a former European Cup winner as a player. He’s worked a lot with the academy, the 20s, the B&I team over the last number of years, so he has a good understanding of what’s coming through the system.

“It’s a good step up for him working with the senior squad. I’m lucky that there’s a really good team around me.”

- This article was originally posted on 24 August, then updated at 9.15 on 25 August.

Leo Cullen: ‘It’s quite soon in my career as a coach, but Leinster too good to turn down’

‘As long as the hunger is there, I’ll keep playing on’ — John Muldoon

About the author:

Murray Kinsella

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