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Lancaster's future is in Ireland

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PRO 14    

Stuart Lancaster spurns English club return to continue Irish sojourn

Leinster have confirmed that much sought after coach Stuart Lancaster is to remain on at the province, despite keen interest from outside of Ireland.

The 49-year-old has signed a new contract with the Dublin based set-up as a senior coach, under the charge of head coach Leo Cullen, who is also being retained.

There had been much speculation over the future of Lancaster after what has been seen as his key role invigorating what had become a sleeping giant of European Rugby. 

Lancaster’s time at Leinster has also seen him redeem his standing in the game after he oversaw England’s disastrous pool exit from the Rugby World Cup in 2015.

Working alongside Leo Cullen, many have credited Lancaster efforts with turning the Leinster ship around behind the scenes, and his efforts have not gone unnoticed in the UK, where Premiership clubs are constantly on the lookout for elite coaching talent.

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Paying tribute to the Englishman, Leinster Rugby CEO Mick Dawson said: “Everyone can see that we have benefited from Stuart’s vast experience working within the academy system in England plus of course his time with the English national team.

“He has consistently shown his commitment to the Leinster cause and it is a real boost to retain the services of a world class coach.”

Leinster and the IRFU also confirmed a contract extension for Cullen.

Cullen, who won 221 caps for Leinster and was captain of three Heineken Cup winning squads, was appointed Head Coach at the start of the 2015/16 season and will now lead the province for a further two seasons until the end of the 2020/21 season.

“Leo’s skills as a player and as a captain have been well celebrated over the years and rightly so.

“Over the last four seasons he has continued to build on that legacy and has added considerable coaching credentials to his list of achievements. Not only did Leo oversee the great double success of last season, he also oversaw the rebuilding of the playing squad after a number of high profile retirements and the recruitment of the new coaching team.

“We have seen the impact Leo has had on the organisation both on and off the field and we are thrilled to see him commit for a further two seasons with the club.

“That level of continuity is crucial for the model that we have here at the club, a model that Leo not only believes in but is a product of.

“In his four seasons he has capped 43 new players with the majority of them coming from the 12 counties of Leinster.

“This season he has capped eight players from our Academy in the 54 players used across the Guinness PRO14 and the Heineken Champions Cup.

“This is an important announcement for the club and we are delighted to have our business done ahead of a crucial block of games for Leo, his staff and the players.”

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Stuart Lancaster spurns English club return to continue Irish sojourn