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RugbyU: Kidney sacked as Ireland coach - IRFU

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Declan Kidney was sacked as Ireland coach on Tuesday, the Irish Rugby Football Union announced.

The 53-year-old -- who guided Ireland to the 2009 Six Nations Grand Slam and won the world coach of the year award as a result -- had been widely expected not to have his contract renewed at the end of June after a disappointing Six Nations.

The Irish only avoided the wooden spoon by a better points difference to France.

The IRFU issued a statement announcing the end of Kidney's four-year tenure.

"The Irish Rugby Football Union today announced that it will not be offering a new contract to Declan Kidney after his current agreement ends (on 30 June next), with Declan's role as Ireland's Senior Men's Coach ceasing today," it read.

"The decision was made following an in-depth review process carried out by the IRFU's National Team Review Group (NTRG).

"The IRFU thank Declan Kidney for the unquestionable commitment, passion, professionalism and success he has delivered to Irish Rugby to-date."

The federation said that Australian Les Kiss, who is also the Irish defence coach, would take temporary charge of the team on its tour of the United States and Canada in June but they would be searching for a long-term replacement.

Among the names mentioned in recent weeks has been Joe Schmidt, a New Zealander who has guided Leinster to two European Cup triumphs.

"The IRFU, through the NTRG, will continue the process of identifying suitable candidates for the Ireland Coaching role," the statement continued.

"The tour of North America, where Ireland will play the USA (Houston, June 8th) and Canada (Toronto, June 15th) will now be led by interim Head Coach Les Kiss who will be assisted by Gert Smal and Anthony Foley."

Philip Browne, chief executive of the IRFU, paid a handsome tribute to Kidney, who got the Ireland job on the back of huge success at provincial level with Munster, winning two European Cups as well as taking them to the final in another two.

"We would like to sincerely thank Declan for his commitment to Irish Rugby," said Browne.

"His contribution and involvement across the spectrum of Irish rugby delivered Under Age, Provincial, Grand Slam and Triple Crown success, and epitomises his passion, belief and commitment to the game.

"With a host of new and emerging talent at every level, and despite the clear challenges ahead, we are confident of securing another world-class coach to work with this talented and ambitious group of players."

pi/phz

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130402/rugbyu-kidney-sacked-ireland-coach-irfu-0