The Ireland team that lines up in the Six Nations will be very different to the Irish team we know now. Apart from the obvious international retirement of Paul O'Connell - there will be key figures in the backroom staff that will be different. From bagman Rala and defence coach Les Kiss departing the team - Ireland will set about rebuilding ahead of the 2019 World Cup.
With Kiss moving to the director of rugby position with Ulster after six years working with Ireland. He was the defence coach under Declan Kidney for Ireland's Grand Slam in 2009. He's been one of the biggest reasons for Ireland's success in his time with the national team - and it will be quite a challenge for someone to fully fill his boots.
According to Wales Online, Ireland are lining up a suitably big name to fill Kiss' boots. Former rugby league great and Lions defence coach Shaun Edwards is the name being heavily linked with joining Joe Schmidt's team. The current Welsh defence coach will see his contract with the WRU run out at the end of the World Cup, and it doesn't appear that the WRU are looking to renew his contract.
Edwards has links with Ireland, having played for them in a rugby league international against France in 1998 after a stellar career with Great Britain and England. Whether Ireland can secure Edwards services remains to be seen. His standing in the game is very high. The former Lions defence coach held together a patch work Wales team that only conceded three tries in the World Cup against the likes of England, Fiji, Australia, and South Africa.
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