Ireland in hunt for new coach as Kidney pays price for poor Six Nations

The Irish Rugby Football Union have appointed Les Kiss as interim coach for their summer tour of North America after Declan Kidney departed from the post last night.

Former Irish rugby coach Declan Kidney.
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Ireland have begun the hunt for a new head coach after dismissing former Grand Slam winning coach Declan Kidney in the wake of the side's poor Six Nations campaign.

The former Munster coach's contract was due to expire in the summer, but the Irish Rugby Football Union announced last night that they would not be renewing his deal and that he would be leaving the post with immediate effect.

Les Kiss has been confirmed as the interim head coach for Ireland's summer tour of north America, with Gert Smal and Anthony Foley acting as his assistants.

Ireland will be hoping they can show a marked improvement against the United States in Houston on June 8 and then Canada in Toronto a week later following their dismal showing in the Six Nations.

"The decision was made following an in-depth review process carried out by the IRFU's National Team Review Group," said a statement on the IRFU official website.

"The IRFU thank Declan Kidney for the unquestionable commitment, passion, professionalism and success he has delivered to Irish Rugby to date.

"The IRFU, through the NTRG, will continue the process of identifying suitable candidates for the Ireland coaching role."

Kidney's future had been the subject of much speculation after a poor Six Nations campaign produced shock defeats to Scotland and Italy, resulting in a fifth-placed finish and Ireland's lowest ever world ranking of ninth.

The loss in Italy on the final weekend of the campaign led many to call for Kidney's resignation, so yesterday's announcement came as no surprise.

Back-to-back defeats against England and Scotland was followed by a draw against France before another surprise loss in Italy on the final weekend.

There were some extenuating circumstances during the championship, with Ireland dealing with a debilitating injury list which robbed them of key players such as Paul O'Connell, Jonathan Sexton and Simon Zebo.

Kidney replaced the outgoing Eddie O'Sullivan as Ireland coach in 2008 and his crowning glory was undoubtedly leading them to the Six Nations Grand Slam a year later.

They were beaten in the World Cup quarter-final in 2011 by Wales, while they suffered a record 60-0 defeat against world champions New Zealand last year.

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