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England open door to Irish


Ex-Ireland coach spends day watching England get ready to take on Wales

Not since the 2015 World Cup exit to Argentina has former Ireland defence coach Les Kiss been spotted on the international scene. However, that gap was bridged this week when the current London Irish coach turned up at England training on Wednesday.

The presence of Kiss at England camp in the company of Eddie Jones wasn’t as high profile a rendezvous as the sight earlier this week of John Terry, the former England and Chelsea footballer, looking on as Jones’ charges trained for their seismic Six Nations clash on Saturday away to Wales.

However, the sight of the Australian chatting away to his fellow countryman in the week of a big Test match was a sharp reminder of the type of elite rugby workplace that Kiss used to be employed in.

Kiss was a vital part of Ireland’s Six Nations title wins in 2009, 2014 and 2015, the ’09 success ending the enormous gap in between Grand Slams for the Irish that stretched back to 1948.

But he has had a difficult time since stepping away from an Ireland job that covered 82 matches across seven years and enjoyed a 61.5 percent win rate under his two coaches, Declan Kidney and Joe Schmidt.

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After serving a lengthy apprenticeship in the IRFU system since his initial recruitment by Kidney in 2008, Kiss felt ready for running a team on his own terms. But his three seasons in charge as director of rugby at Ulster were a disaster.

Les Kiss’ first season with Ireland ended with Brian O’Driscoll leading the 2009 Grand Slam celebrations (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

The club’s form spiralled rather than improved and the rookie boss was cut loose in January 2018 following his third successive failure to reach the knockout stages of the Champions Cup.

Kiss wasn’t out in the cold for long. His old Test boss Kidney invited him along to help with the London Irish project he started last March. The Exile club is now on course for a return next season to the Premiership.

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Ex-Ireland coach spends day watching England get ready to take on Wales