10 Dec, 12:23
Ireland's John Lacey will referee his first ever RBS 6 Nations match in February, while Alain Rolland is also included in the Elite Panel in what is his last season.
The IRFU thank Declan Kidney for the unquestionable commitment, passion, professionalism and success he has delivered to Irish rugby to date.
The IRFU, through the NTRG, will continue the process of identifying suitable candidates for the Ireland coaching role.
The tour of North America, where Ireland will play the USA (Houston, June 8) and Canada (Toronto, June 15) will now be led by interim head coach Les Kiss who will be assisted by Gert Smal and Anthony Foley.
Philip Browne, IRFU CEO, said: "We would like to sincerely thank Declan for his commitment to Irish rugby. His contribution and involvement across the spectrum of Irish rugby delivered under-age, provincial, Grand Slam and Triple Crown success, and epitomises his passion, belief and commitment to the game.
"With a host of new and emerging talent at every level, and despite the clear challenges ahead, we are confident of securing another world class coach to work with this talented and ambitious group of players."
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