Kiss set work alongside Schmidt
May 19, 2013
Ulster hooker Rory Best was considered unlucky to miss out on this summer's British & Irish Lions tour © Getty Images
Ireland's acting head coach Les Kiss has confirmed he will form part of new boss Joe Schmidt's support staff after the forthcoming tour of the USA and Canada.
Kiss was handed temporary charge of the national side when previous boss Declan Kidney failed to earn a new contract following this year's Six Nations but it was unclear whether his services would be retained by current Leinster coach Schmidt who was appointed by the Irish Rugby Football Union last month.
But Kiss, whose side will tackle the USA in Houston on June 8 and Canada in Toronto on June 15, has revealed he will return to his role of defence coach when Schmidt assumes control of the team. "We've had a simple conversation and I'm very happy to be involved. I'm looking forward to working with Joe," Kiss said. "I've known Joe since he came to Ireland and have worked with him before at the start of his Leinster tenure. We get on well."
Schmidt, in the midst of successive cup finals with Leinster having won the Amlin Challenge Cup on Friday and preparing for the RaboDirect PRO12 final against Ulster this weekend, had some input into the make-up of the squad bound for North America and will travel as an observer.
Rory Best will lead the 28-man party after being overlooked by the British & Irish Lions. The Ulster hooker, who was also captain of Ireland's tour in 2009, leads a squad containing seven uncapped players in scrum-half Kieran Marmion, centre Stuart Olding, scrum-half Paul Marshall, fullback Robbie Henshaw, prop Jamie Hagan, openside Tommy O'Donnell and hooker Mike Sherry.
"We talked about players to be selected but because Joe's still involved with Leinster at the moment he didn't want to interfere too much," Kiss said. "But it's been busy for me and busy for him - he has another final coming up this week. He's happy for me to run the tour, there are no issues. He'll make his way over at some stage, which will be a fantastic opportunity for him to observe some of the players and see how they perform in a Test match."
Wing Keith Earls, centre Gordon D'Arcy, scrum-half Eoin Reddan, centre Luke Marshall and wing Craig Gilroy miss the tour due to injury. Lock Donnacha Ryan is rehabilitating shoulder and rib problems at Munster, but Kiss informed Lions selectors that he is available to tour if required.
"Donnacha could play - if the Lions called him up tomorrow he could play, but it's just an opportunity for him to have a bit of rest and recover," he said. "He definitely has a chance of being called up by the Lions, but I'm not privy to anything and a standby list hasn't been announced."
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