IRE­LAND COACH

Rugby World - - WA R R E N G A T L A N D -

“It was a great ex­pe­ri­ence. I’m in­debted to Ire­land for giv­ing me an op­por­tu­nity, par­tic­u­larly at such a young age – I was 34 when asked to take over in 1998.

“It was chal­leng­ing at times – I was the ninth coach of the Nineties so there wasn’t much sta­bil­ity. Play­ers were be­ing picked and dropped. I fo­cused on con­sis­tency and con­ti­nu­ity of se­lec­tion.

“I learnt a lot about my­self dur­ing that time and I’ve still got very close friends in Ire­land. The kids spent a lot of time grow­ing up there and Bryn talked with a strong Ir­ish ac­cent.

“I re­mem­ber hav­ing cof­fee with the kids once and a wo­man asked, ‘How do you have a son with an Ir­ish ac­cent, a daugh­ter with an English ac­cent and you have a New Zealand ac­cent?!’”

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