Leinster have confirmed that former Leinster and Argentina out-half Felipe Contepomi has been appointed as the province’s new backs coach, subject to being granted a work permit.
Confirming recent media speculation, head coach Leo Cullen hailed the appointment when speaking to the Leinster Rugby website and said he is looking forward to welcoming his former team-mate back to Leinster and to Dublin.
“We’ve been working very hard behind the scenes to recruit someone we think can build on the work done over the last few seasons, and who can ultimately add to the systems and the processes we already have in place,” said Cullen.
“To be able to call on someone of Felipe’s standing, not only within the province but within the game of rugby as a whole, is a huge boost for us as we look towards the season ahead. He has spoken so passionately to me about Leinster and wanting to help the players improve so they can achieve their full potential.
“The landscape and the playing group may have changed since he was last here, but the respect that people have for him hasn’t. We are all looking forward to welcoming Felipe back to Leinster. Finally, I would like to thank the UAR for their help in this matter and for facilitating Felipe’s release.”
Having joined the province in 2003, Contepomi played 116 times for Leinster during his time in blue, winning a Celtic League title in 2008 and a Heineken Cup title a year later before joining Toulon.
While at Leinster, the legendary out-half was also nominated for the IRB Player of the Year award in 2007 and until last season was the record all-time points scorer for the province with 1,225 points. He won 87 caps for Argentina and was a key member of the team that finished third at the 2007 Rugby World Cup in France.
Inducted into the World Rugby Hall of Fame last year, the 40-year-old has for the last few seasons been working back home in Buenos Aires with the Argentinian Rugby Union as head coach of the Argentina XV for 2017/18 and with the Jaguares in Super Rugby.
Ahead of his arrival back on Irish shores, Contepomi, who takes over the backs coach role from Girvan Dempsey who has left to join English club Bath, spoke about the decision to come back to Leinster.
“The UAR gave me the opportunity to develop as a coach in recent years and have now allowed me the opportunity to face this new challenge in Leinster Rugby. I only have words of thanks for the Union,” he said.
“I spent much of my playing career at Leinster and now I’ll be back in Dublin to join a great staff and to work with great players. All this is a huge motivation and it will be a great experience to continue growing as a coach.
“I also want to thank the people who worked with me over the last few years and, especially, the players I had in Argentina XV, for the commitment they had and their desire to learn, because they gave me the opportunity to become a better coach and person.”