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Felipe Contepomi is leaving Leinster

By Kim Ekin
Backs coach Felipe Contepomi during Leinster Rugby squad training at UCD in Dublin. (Photo By Harry Murphy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

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Leinster have confirmed that Felipe Contepomi will leave the province at the end of the season to link up with Los Pumas in his native Argentina.

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The highly rated coach had been rumoured to be on Argentina’s radar and so it has transpired, with the former flyhalf set to join Argentina as assistant coach to Michael Cheika.

“This is a brilliant opportunity for me and for my family to return home but I would like to say how thankful I am to Leo Cullen and to Leinster Rugby for the opportunity to come back to Leinster and to Dublin over the last few years,” said Contepomi.

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Contepomi joined the Leinster coaching staff before the 2018/19 season and has played a vital role in the province’s three PRO14 titles since then.

Prior to that he played 116 times for the province as a player and won the Celtic League in 2008 and the Heineken Cup the following year.

“It was an easy decision to come back to the club and I have loved every minute of my time here working with Leo and all the coaches and backroom team. Of course, I would also like to thank all the players that I have had the privilege and the pleasure to work with. My time as a coach has only added to the warmth and the love I have for the club from my time here as a player.

“While there have been great moments on the field, it is the memories and the friendships made off the field that I will take with me.

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“There is still of course a huge end to the season to come and I hope to finish the season strong before heading home.

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“This is a proud moment for me and for my family. The opportunity and the challenge presented by Michael Cheika and the UAR is one that excites me and I very much look forward to continuing my coaching journey back home. To be able to coach your country is special. There is no higher honour as a coach and I look forward to getting started in due course.

“Dublin and Leinster have been very good to me as a player and as a coach, and I will forever be grateful for all that we have achieved together.”

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The Argentinian became a firm favourite with the RDS faithful after joining Leinster as a player in 2003. He has 87 caps for Argentina and was a vital player of Argentina’s third-place performance at the 2007 Rugby World Cup.

He was elected into the World Rugby Hall of Fame in 2017, and this news will see him return to Argentina, where he most recently worked as the Head Coach of the Argentina XV in 2017/18 and with the Jaguares in Super Rugby.

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“It’s been a privilege for everyone at Leinster Rugby to have had the opportunity to work with Felipe over the last four seasons. He is a great character to have around and has made a huge contribution to so many areas of the club,” said Leinster Rugby head coach Leo Cullen. “We were all excited at the thought of ‘getting Felipe back’ to coach the group and he has definitely lived up to our hopes. He is a great tactician, and I am sure he will go on to enjoy an outstanding coaching career.

“Of course, we will miss Felipe but everyone understands the opportunity to return to Argentina to take up an exciting new role, plus the draw of being closer to family. This day was always likely to come but for me, the memories are only good ones as we celebrate the successes we have shared. Hopefully, we can add to those by finishing this season as strongly as possible.

“On behalf of everyone at Leinster, I would like to wish Felipe, Sofia and the rest of the Contepomi family all the best for the future. They will always have the warmest of welcomes here in Dublin and who knows, maybe there will be a ‘third coming’ down the line!”

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