In a timely boost for the province, Leinster 'senior coach' Stuart Lancaster looks set to remain part of the backroom team beyond the end of the season.
Lancaster initially signed a one-year deal with the three-time Heineken Cup champions having been sacked by England following a disastrous World Cup on home soil. However, following an initial report from Peter O'Reilly in The Times last night, The Rugby Paper suggests Lancaster has agreed on a two-year extension, which will keep him at the club until 2019.
After a difficult head coaching bow for Leo Cullen last season, Lancaster's introduction to the Leinster fold has garnered more-than-solid results. Since his arrival, Leinster have won 15 of 20 games, losing three and drawing one. During this resurgence, Lancaster's influence on Leinster's backs play has drawn considerable acclaim.
The 47-year-old has recently been touted as a potential replacement head coach for Leicester or Northampton, who have both endured dismal seasons, but Peter O'Reilly wrote in The Times last night that the Cumbria man is enjoying being allowed to actually coach, as opposed to manage and deal with media duties.
Lancaster's extension is set to be announced as soon as Leinster finalise a new deal for Cullen, and will arrive as positive news for Leinster's players, who have lauded his impact.
Back in January, Johnny Sexton said of the Englishman:
It’s not by accident that you see everyone wanting to get the ball in their hands. Stuart Lancaster has come in and had a big influence on the style of rugby.
This is the stuff we practise every day in training, the unstructured part of our game. We spend time on our offloading game, so it’s not by chance or a fluke — it is being worked on every day. Stuart has had a great influence on us and the whole organisation.