Kidney in Irish hotseat

Munster mentor Declan Kidney has officially succeeded Eddie O’Sullivan as Ireland head coach.

Kidney has secured a contract until the end of the 2011 Rugby World Cup. He will finish his stint with Munster (who face Toulouse in the European Cup final on 24 May) before taking charge for the tour of Australia and New Zealand.

Former Springbok forwards coach Gert Smal, Saracens mentor Alan Gaffney and Leinster manager Paul McNaughton have been widely tipped to be Kidney’s backroom staff.

Ireland won the Six Nations Triple Crown last year but were subsequently knocked out of the World Cup in the first round.