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OTD – Declan Kidney takes step up into Test rugby

By PA
(Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

Declan Kidney was appointed head coach of the Ireland rugby union team on this day in 2008.

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The 48-year-old Munster director of rugby replaced Eddie O’Sullivan, who had resigned following a dismal World Cup and a worst-ever finish in a Six Nations campaign.

However, with Munster chasing a second Heineken Cup triumph in three years, Kidney did not take charge of the national team until after Ireland’s summer tour of New Zealand and Australia.

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Baby Boks presser ahead of Round Two of the U20 Rugby Champs

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Baby Boks presser ahead of Round Two of the U20 Rugby Champs

Speaking following his appointment, Kidney said: “There is no greater honour for any coach than to lead his own country. I am delighted to have this opportunity and to be here at what is the pinnacle of my career.

“I have worked with many exceptional players during my career at both international and provincial level and there is no doubt that we have the talent in Ireland to be successful at the highest level.

“My focus now for the next three weeks will be totally on the Munster team and the preparation for the Heineken European Cup final.”

IRFU chief executive Philip Browne added: “While the need to make the appointment as soon as was practicable was important, the IRFU was conscious of keeping any disruption to the preparations of the Munster team to a minimum.

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“Declan Kidney’s record speaks for itself and it was obvious from the very beginning of this process that he was one of the main contenders to lead Ireland to the next Rugby World Cup in 2011.”

In his first year in charge of Ireland, Kidney led the team to a Six Nations Grand Slam and, in a tournament which included a memorable victory against Australia, to the quarter-finals of the 2011 World Cup, where they were knocked out by Wales.

Kidney was relieved of his role in April 2013 following shock Six Nations defeats to Scotland and Italy as they finished fifth in the competition and slumped to a lowest-ever world ranking of nine.

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