Cullen agrees to extend his stay at Leinster for another year

New deal will take the head coach up to the end of the 2022-2023 season

The IRFU and Leinster have confirmed a one-year contract extension for Leo Cullen, a timeframe agreed at the behest of the head coach.

Cullen signed a rolling one-year contract extension in May of last year and has committed to the province for at least another 12 months that will take him up to the end of the 2022-2023 season.

The 44-year-old has been a popular and hugely successful figure and the new agreement sees him extend his relationship with the province – apart from a two season spell with the Leicester Tigers – that dates back to his senior debut in the 1998-1999 season.

Cullen, who won 221 caps for Leinster and was captain of three Heineken Cup-winning squads, was appointed forwards’ coach under Matt O’Connor in July 2014. He succeeded the Australian as head coach at the start of the 2015/16 season. He has led the team to a Champions Cup and four PRO14/URC titles in his time in charge.

Having reached the semi-finals of both the Guinness PRO12 and the Champions Cup, a year later in 2018, in his third season, Cullen became the first man to win a Champions Cup title as a player and as a head coach as he presided over a first ever Guinness Pro14 and Champions Cup double for Leinster; the province are currently on a run of four successive Pro14 title triumphs.

"Leinster Rugby CEO Mick Dawson said, "We offered Leo a two-year contract last year but were very happy to work with Leo to make the situation work for him. It was always our intention, all going well, that we would sit down again and agree to the second year and that has been the case. It has been very straightforward, thankfully.

“I’d like to thank Leo for his work and his dedication and indeed thank his wife Dairine, and his wider family, for the support they give to him in allowing him to be the coach that he is.

“The job that Leo has done in his time as head coach has been excellent and he has with him, a group of coaches and staff that contribute and drive the standards that we have here today at Leinster Rugby. They have created a hugely positive environment for the players over the last few years to perform to the best of their abilities.

“That continuity in our coaching team is a vital piece of the puzzle for us, as well as having someone like Leo who understands the system, our pathway and the importance of the clubs and the schools to the future success of Leinster Rugby. I wish Leo every success for the rest of this season and indeed the season to come.”

The IRFU performance director, David Nucifora, said: "It's great that Leo has again extended his contract to remain in his role with Leinster Rugby. The combined strength of Irish rugby lies in the cohesion and alignment we have with our provinces and with our pathways. Stability in our coaching ranks is a key part of what underpins Irish rugby."

John O'Sullivan

John O'Sullivan

John O'Sullivan is an Irish Times sports writer