Officially confirmed as Ireland’s new backs coach earlier this week, Alan Gaffney does not feel his additional role as Leinster backs coach will affect his work with the national squad.
Alan Gaffney, who guided English side Saracens to a Heineken Cup semi-final appearance last year, was back at the coaching coal face in Cork this week, where an extended Ireland squad is taking part in a four-day training camp.
The amiable Australian is confident that he can have a sizeable impact on both Leinster and Ireland’s back play this season, and the ‘double-jobbing’ aspect is simply not a worry.
“I don’t see it being a problem. Obviously it’s something we gave a lot of consideration to at Leinster with Michael (Cheika), and with Declan (Kidney).
“I’ve got great relationships with Munster and obviously am very close to Matt Williams and Brads (Michael Bradley). I’ve got no problem in relationships I have with the provinces, in that regard.
“Obviously I’ll be spending a lot of time at Leinster, but it won’t absolve me from spending time travelling around watching other players play and watching a lot of videotape.
“So I’m sure I can divorce myself from that, otherwise I wouldn’t have taken the job on,” added the former Munster coach.
Ireland supporters will be hoping Gaffney can bring the influence he had at Munster, where he coached them to Celtic League and Celtic Cup titles and two Heineken Cup semi-finals, to the national role.
Kidney, the new Ireland head coach, is clearly delighted to have Gaffney join him in the management team. He said: “Alan and myself know one another over a long period of time, so we were always wondering if we’d ever get the chance to work together. It’s something that I’m looking forward to.”
Having been a head coach and director of rugby at club level for some time, Gaffney is admittedly unconcerned about been an assistant in Kidney’s set-up.
“It’s something I’ve done in the past, it didn’t worry me then and it doesn’t worry me now. The title of being where Declan is at the moment, Declan’s got a lot of responsibility as we all do.
“Coming back into the role I have, it doesn’t phase me at all. I’m very, very relaxed to be working with Declan, working with Gert (Smal), Les (Kiss), Mark (Tainton) and Paul (McNaughton). I think it’s a fantastic role and one I’m looking forward to.”