Leinster Rugby are delighted to announce the appointment of former captain Kurt McQuilkin as Defence Coach for the coming season.
The 41-year-old former Ireland international centre, who captained Leinster to Interprovincial success in 1997/’98, represented his country at Senior (5 caps) and ‘A’ (1 cap) levels.
In all, he made 32 appearances for Leinster (including 15 in the Heineken Cup) and captained the province on nine occasions. In the season of his captaincy, Leinster famously defeated Leicester in the Heineken Cup for the first time.
He played club rugby with both Lansdowne FC, where he led the club to the 1998 Leinster Senior Cup final, and Bective Rangers, where his father Noel coached.
After retiring from competitive rugby he coached the Ireland Under-19’s to three World Cups (including the victorious 1997 campaign), the Ireland Under-21’s to a World Cup and Six Nations, two seasons as Ireland 7’s Coach, and he also held coaching positions with the Ireland Development side and Samoa King Country in the NPC for two seasons.
Until his recent appointment with the Leinster Senior team, McQuilkin had also coached the Leinster Under-20’s as well as both Lansdowne and Greystones in the AIB League.
McQuilkin joins the backroom team which includes assistant coaches Mike Brewer and David Knox.
Speaking about his new appointment, Kurt McQuilkin said: “I received a call right out of the blue from Michael (Cheika) towards the end of last season where I had been working as a Technical Analyst in the IRFU’s High Performance Unit.
“It was a surprise, but a pleasant one at that and I was delighted to accept. It was too good an opportunity to turn down.
“Leinster Rugby is a totally different animal to when I first arrived. The professional running of the team then compared to now is like light and day and I have been really impressed by the facilities and the strength of the squad.
“One of my key objectives is to get a structure on our defence and to look to construct an overall defensive plan that everyone’s comfortable with.”
Welcoming McQuilkin’s arrival, Leinster Head Coach Michael Cheika said: “Defence was an area I identified as one that we needed improvement on, and I am delighted to welcome Kurt to his new role with the province.
“He has strong links with Leinster and Irish Rugby and I wish him well.”
In other news, Jason Cowman has been named the new Strength & Conditioning Coach with the Leinster Senior team, replacing Brad Harrington who returns to Australia to take up a position with the New South Wales Waratahs.
Cowman (31) was educated in Clonkeen College, Dublin and obtained a degree in Sports Science from the University of Limerick in 1998.
He then held the position of senior fitness advisor for three years with Leinster before leaving to complete a Masters in Exercise Physiology from Florida State University.
He returned to Ireland in November 2003 and held the positions of National Fitness Advisor for the IRFU Academy players and for the Ireland Under-21 side before returning to the position of Senior Fitness Advisor with Leinster in 2004.
Cheika commented: “We’re delighted to welcome Jason back as he is hugely respected in both the backroom team and playing staff and his recruitment has been very well received.
“I would also like to add my appreciation to Brad who is leaving to return to Australia having done an excellent job with Leinster.”