Wokingham Today

Long game for Six Nations winning duo

- By TOM CROCKER tcrocker@wokinghamp­aper.co.uk

DECLAN KIDNEY says it will take many years for London Irish to become one of the country’s biggest forces again.

The Irishman arrived this week as the club’s new technical consultant following the departure of Brendan Venter.

He is joined by Les Kiss, who joins as head coach to work alongside the current team of Nick Kennedy, Paul Hodgson, Declan Danaher and George Skivington.

Kidney and Kiss’ finest hour came when they worked together for Ireland, winning the Six Nations in 2009 with a Grand Slam to boot.

And the pair have been reunited to try and arrest the club’s slump with a second relegation in three years imminent with the Exiles 12 points adrift at the foot of the Premiershi­p table.

“I’m under no illusions that this is going to be a challengin­g job,” said Kidney.

“English rugby is very competitiv­e and it is going to take several years for us to cement a place at the top end of the Aviva Premiershi­p.

“But I believe that with the right structures this becomes a realistic ambition for us.

“I’m particular­ly excited to be working with

Les Kiss again.

“We had a great relationsh­ip with the Ireland national team and I know that he is the right person to join me on this journey.

“We can’t wait to get started.”

He added: “London Irish is a club with a proud and rich tradition, both in London and in Ireland, and I had no hesitation in agreeing to join the team at Hazelwood.

“It is a club which has a history of producing quality young players and there appears to be a group of coaches with plenty of promise and an off-field management team which is putting everything in place for a bright future.”

Kiss has recently left his position as director of rugby at Ulster after two years following a poor run of results, culminatin­g in European Champions Cup defeat to Wasps.

And the 53-year-old is keen to work with the young group of coaches already in place at Irish.

“It’s a big job for us, but one we are relishing,” said Kiss.

“There are some good coaches already at Hazelwood, the likes of Nick Kennedy, Declan Danaher, Paul Hodgson and George Skivington, who have all shown their commitment to the club for several years.

“We believe that we will be able to help them reach their potential.”

 ??  ?? Nick Kennedy took over as director of rugby in 2016
Nick Kennedy took over as director of rugby in 2016

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United Kingdom