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RugbyU: Aussie O'Connor lands Leinster role

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Australia's Matt O'Connor has been appointed as the new head coach of Leinster on a three-year deal starting on July 1, the Irish province announced Monday.

The 42-year-old O'Connor, currently with English giants Leicester, will take over from Joe Schmidt following the New Zealander's appointment as Ireland coach in succession to Declan Kidney.

Former Australia international O'Connor has been with Leicester, working under Richard Cockerill, since 2009 and in that time has helped the Tigers win two Premiership titles.

Leicester are also through to this season's English title play-offs but the chance to be in charge of a leading side such as reigning European champions Leinster was too much of an opportunity for former Australia A coach O'Connor to turn down.

"I am delighted to join Leinster," O'Connor said in a Leinster statement .

"The playing staff, coaching team and facilities are first-class, and I have been hugely encouraged by the hunger within the province to push on despite enjoying an unprecedented period of success on the field in recent years.

"I look forward to working with the province's established and burgeoning talent from the renowned Leinster academy, and I am also pleased to work with the current coaching team who have played such a key part in the province's success over the last four years.

"At this time my focus remains with Leicester, but I would like to thank the Leinster board for this vote of confidence. My family and I are hugely excited about starting this new chapter in our lives."

Leinster may have failed in their bid this term to win a third successive European Cup title, and a fourth in all, but a side featuring Ireland great Brian O'Driscoll remain in contention for three trophies -- the European Challenge Cup, the Celtic League and the British and Irish Cup.

And in O'Connor they believe they have the man to oversee yet more success, with Leinster chief executive Mick Dawson saying: "We are delighted that Matt has agreed to become head coach, and we believe that he will be carry on the fine work which has been done over the course of the last eight years.

"Matt joins Leinster with an impressive pedigree. We were impressed by his vision for Leinster Rugby, and speaking to him it is clear that he is excited about the opportunity. We look forward to working with him over the coming years."

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130506/rugbyu-aussie-oconnor-lands-leinster-role-0