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Les Kiss

Rugby Digest: Les Kiss will helm Irish rugby team’s summer tour including US and Canada

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Les Kiss

Joe Schmidt has asked interim Ireland coach Les Kiss to stay on board as part of the national team’s new management set-up after they work together on the American and Canadian tour this summer.

Kiss will take charge of Ireland for matches against the U.S., in Houston, and Canada next month when Schmidt will enjoy a watching brief ahead of his official introduction to the role in July.

Schmidt will say goodbye to Leinster after Saturday’s Rabo12 final against Ulster at the RDS, but is happy to let Kiss take charge of the summer tour and remain on board afterwards.

After announcing the squad for the summer games, Kiss revealed, “I had that conversation with Joe and he’s keen to have me on board. I’m very happy to be going forward in the coaching structure with Joe.

“These conversations have not been had in depth. I just need to finish off the paperwork but I’ll be involved going forward. Look, the truth is that it has been busy for Joe and busy for me. Joe will work on that and those decisions will be for him to make over the summer.”

The pair have already worked on the make-up of the Ireland squad for the games against the U.S. and Canada when the team will be captained by Rory Best after he was overlooked for the Lions tour.

“Joe has been flat out as you know, we’ve had a few discussions and I consulted him on some of the selections,” Kiss said.

“He said go ahead, he doesn’t want to interfere, he doesn’t have time, he has a lot of things on his plate. He said, ‘It’s your baby Les.’

“I know he has a Six Nations meeting to attend and I think he’s trying to plan what date he’ll fly over. I don’t think he’ll be over for the first week, he could be in for the first test.”

Leinster’s Jamie Hagan, Munster’s Mike Sherry and Tommy O’Donnell, Stuart Olding of Ulster and Connacht pair Robbie Henshaw and Kieran Marmion are all included as uncapped players in the Ireland squad.

Kiss has also backed Ronan O’Gara to be a success in his new role as a coach with French side Racing Metro.

“I actually spoke to him on Saturday, he’s under no illusion about the challenge in terms of coaching.  I wish him well. I think he’ll do well, he’s a super player he’s a super understanding of what it takes to perform at an elite level. I think he’ll do a superb job,” Kiss said.

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