Matt O'Connor to succeed Joe Schmidt as Leinster head coach

Matt O'Connor

Leinster have appointed Matt O'Connor as new head coach to replace Joe Schmidt who will leave the job to take over as Ireland boss after this season.

Current Leicester head coach O'Connor's appointment to the Leinster role was widely expected.

The Australian, 42, has been head coach at Leicester since July 2010 and has led the Tigers to successive runner-up positions in the Premiership.

O'Connor was a backs coach in Australia before his Leicester role.

The son of a former Australian rugby league professional, O'Connor played most of his club rugby in Canberra with ACT and then the Brumbies and was capped at senior level by Australia against Ireland.

He also coached in Japan before his return to Australia where he worked for four years with the Brumbies during which time he also coached Australia 'A' before joining Leicester.

O'Connor joined Tigers coaching team in early 2009 and later that season, Leicester won the Premiership trophy before losing in the Heineken Cup final against Leinster.

After Leinster retained the Premiership title in May 2010, O'Connor then became the club's head coach.

O'Connor, who will start in the Leinster job on 1 July, said he was "delighted" to take over at the Irish province.

"The playing staff, coaching team and facilities are first class and I have been hugely encouraged by the hunger within the province to push on despite enjoying an unprecedented period of success on the field in recent years," added O'Connor.

"At this time my focus remains with Leicester, but I would like to thank the Leinster board for this vote of confidence."

Leinster chief executive Mick Dawson said that the club "believe he will be carry on the fine work which has been done over the course of the last eight years".

Top Stories