Easterby lauds O’Connor appointment

Leinster team manager Guy Easterby believes the club have made the ideal appointment in Matt O’Connor, who will replace Joe Schmidt as head coach at the end of the season (Leinster 8/11 Grand Final winner 2012/13).

Current Leicester coach O’Connor signed a three-year contract with Leinster on Monday and will officially begin his role on July 1.

He arrives with a fine reputation after a successful spell at Welford Road, where he helped Leicester to back-to-back Premiership titles in 2009 and 2010, as well as the 2012 LV Cup.

Current head coach Schmidt confirmed last month that he was stepping down from the role he has held since 2010 in order to become coach of Ireland.

He could end his time at the RDS Arena with two trophies, with the club taking on Glasgow Warriors in Rabo Direct Pro12 semi-final on Saturday before playing Stade Francais in the Amlin Challenge Cup next week (Leinster 1/7 Stade Francis 9/2 European Challenge Cup outright).

Speaking ahead of Saturday’s game with Gregor Townsend’s side, Easterby praised the imminent arrival of Australian O’Connor.

“Our players are a very experienced group and they manage a lot of things themselves. It’s a matter of having a coach who is really going to challenge them? said Easterby, who also confirmed that star fly-half Jonathan Sexton will be fit despite sitting out training on Monday.

“You’re never going to get exactly the same [type of coach] and you probably don’t want exactly the same, because it’s nice to change things up every now and again, but we are continuing with that ilk in Matt, I believe.

“He’ll bring some small tweaks that are different to Joe but will also continue the good work of Joe.”

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