Leo Cullen and Leinster remain hopeful that Stuart Lancaster will stay with the province.
LEINSTER HEAD COACH Leo Cullen says the province are hopeful that Stuart Lancaster will remain with the province into next season.
Lancaster, Leinster’s senior coach, is due to be out of contract at the end of the current campaign.
The RFU have intimated a willingness to bring Lancaster back in as England head coach, a position he was sacked from after the 2015 World Cup, while links to Bath persist.
Lancaster has also been suggested as a possible part of Ireland’s coaching team under new boss Andy Farrell when Joe Schmidt departs after next year’s World Cup.
However, Leinster remain positive about their chances of convincing Lancaster to extend his deal with the province and continue his fine work alongside Cullen.
“We would be hopeful, yes,” said Cullen this afternoon at Leinster’s training centre in UCD.
“He’s telling me he is very happy at the moment anyway so that is all we can work off at the moment.
“Stuart has had a huge impact on us a group. We’re all very happy at the moment with the way the dynamic is working.”
Lancaster has publicly indicated his happiness in his role at Leinster several times since joining in 2016, underlining his enjoyment of being on the training pitch actively coaching and working with the province’s young players.
He still commutes from his family home in Leeds in the UK but has also stressed that the regular journey is not a great ordeal.
Of more immediate concern to Cullen and Leinster is Saturday’s Heineken Champions Cup tie with Bath at the Rec.
Cullen is due to announce his starting team for the Pool 1 fixture tomorrow afternoon at 12pm, but it appears that slight injury concerns over Dan Leavy, Jordan Larmour, Jack Conan and Rory O’Loughlin are subsiding.
“As the week has progressed, they are closer to getting selected,” said Cullen. “The guys have trained well this week so far, so everyone’s in good form and looking forward to the game.
“It’s a great challenge against Bath. They’re a quality club and very well coached. Girvan [Dempsey] we know well and he knows us well and that’s always something for us to consider. There’s danger in that.
“We discussed it even way back in pre-season in terms of altering some of our calls, etc. so that when this day comes we’re not having to change a whole lot of things on the given week. It’s a great challenge away from home, there’s a huge amount at stake for us as a group.
“Everyone in the group is hungry and wants to represent the team well.”
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