Ex-Ireland coach Eddie O’Sullivan is absolutely delighted that his former charges have claimed an RBS 6 Nations title and the famed Grand Slam.
The Corkman coached Ireland from 2001 – taking over the reins from Warren Gatland – until just after the RBS 6 Nations Championship last year and had nothing but praise for his successor Declan Kidney and the current squad.
"It's been a long, long wait so to eventually get across the line is fantastic for everybody, particularly for the players who have been on the scene for a while and some of them would have seen it as the last chance saloon,” O’Sullivan declared, speaking to Setanta Sports’ news channel.
"I would love to have been there on Saturday, sitting in the coaches' box, but it wasn't to be. But I'm delighted for the team. I had my time with them, gave it my best shot and it just didn't happen for us back them.
“This group of players deserved to win a Grand Slam, they've been good enough to do it for a while now but it's the old story - it takes a while to get across the line.
"Even if you look at the great England team that won a World Cup, it took them four or five years to crack a Grand Slam and when they eventually did, we were the team that lost out to them in Dublin in 2003. It's a very hard thing to achieve and I'm glad it came to fruition this weekend.”
Declan Kidney was quick to mention the contribution made by O’Sullivan to the international set-up in the hours after Ireland’s victory in Cardiff, and while the U.S. Eagles coach said it was a “very generous thing to say,” he believes the former Munster man deserves all the praise he gets.
"It's nice to be mentioned, but credit where credit's due - when I left the team were on a bit of a low, and Declan had the task of turning things around and he's managed to do that. He had a tough Autumn, but he stuck to his guns and the team hit the ground running in the 6 Nations and achieved their goal.
"You could see Brian O'Driscoll after the game - it was relief more than anything when he got his hands on the trophy. I was so delighted for him though, as he's had a tough time in the last couple of years. People doubted his captaincy and doubted his leadership qualities.
“And I'm delighted that Declan hung in there with him, which was tough on Declan because in Paul O'Connell you had an extraordinary leader as well to take over. Brian has proven that form is temporary and class is permanent.”
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