“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?!’”