Planet Rugby

Cullen set for coaching role

23rd December 2013 10:19

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SKY_MOBILE Leo Cullen - Leinster Heineken Cup

Stepping up: Leo Cullen

Leinster coach Matt O'Connor has confirmed veteran second-row Leo Cullen will take over as forwards coach at the end of the season.

O'Connor's assistant, Jono Gibbes, is moving to Clermont ahead of next season, with 35-year-old Cullen set to step up, calling time on his playing career.

"Leo has been an unbelievable leader for the organisation on and off the field," O'Connor told Dublin radio station 98FM.

"I think given that Jono is moving off to Clermont, it was the natural progression for Leo. He's got all that knowledge, he understands what's required at the very top level and I'm really looking forward to working with him.

"You don't have to talk to people for too long to understand whether they'll be able to do it or not. Leo's demonstrated that he's certainly got the knowledge.

"When you sit down and have the conversation with him, the genuine excitement and student of the game that he is, you know he will thrive in the environment.

"He's certainly a leader and he's got vast rugby knowledge and experience. I wouldn't doubt that he'd be a very good head coach, but it's just about how the thing twists and turns, how long he wants to be in the game."

Cullen's European career spans some fifteen years, having made his Heineken Cup debut in 1998 against Stade Francais. His current tally sits at over 90 European appearances.

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