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The New Favourite For The Leinster Job May Be Unfamiliar: But He'll Be A Success

The New Favourite For The Leinster Job May Be Unfamiliar: But He'll Be A Success
Conor O'Leary
By Conor O'Leary
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Things looked to be moving swiftly for Leinster after Matt O'Connor's surprise departure from the province last month. With the Barbarians in the country, their head coach Robbie Deans was swiftly installed as favourite for the job.

Deans and the Barbarians have since come and gone, and Leinste remain without a head coach with candidates appearing to rule themselves out.

Reports from Gavin Cummisky in the Irish Times indicate that there is a clear front runner for the job now, and it may not be the household name that Leinster fans were looking for. Former All Black Tony Brown is the man most heavily linked right now, and it would be a great bit of business for Leinster CEO Mick Dawson to make.

Tony Brown is a young coach, at just 40-years-old, and much like former Leinster head coaches Michael Cheika and Joe Schmidt, he doesn't have any coaching experience. But Brown is already making a name for himself.

Already a legend in New Zealand for his exploits with Super Rugby side the Highlanders, of which he is the current backs coach. Unlike Schmidt, Brown is already highly rated as a coach, turning Otago into a playoff side twice in the last three seasons, before graduating to his current post. Sidenote, he's also the man responsible for bringing Fumiaka Tanaka to Super Rugby.

But it's not just the success that he is getting that will excite Leinster fans, it's how he plays. I included Brown as one of the 11 candidates to replace Matt O'Connor last month accompanied with this video of his Otago team scoring one of the craziest tries you will ever see that completes bamboozled the commentators before the credit was given to their coach:

Now focusing on the Highlanders, they've gone from 14th the year before Brown joined, to sixth last year and they currently have the second most competition points in Super Rugby this year.


From the outside looking in, that transformation is down to the newfound consistency of outhalf Lima Sopoaga, who has turned into a genuine option for the New Zealand international side. Sopoaga came out just this week crediting Brown for his vast improvement. Speaking to stuff.co.nz, Sopoaga said:

Browny is a student of the game. He's always thinking of ways to outsmart people. Even though he played like that [very physical], his coaching style doesn't reflect that. He's a very smart coach.

Browny is all about the three point attack. You can go through them, around them or behind them and that’s what we’re trying to do. It doesn’t matter where we are on the field, we feel like the three options are always available to us.

Browny comes up with plays that really excite us all. That's what I think is coming out in our game. Players are excited because we want to do these cool moves and we are challenging ourselves to execute them as best we can.

The conclusions that the article took from Sopoaga's quotes are that Brown "has added the missing pieces to Sopoaga's game without interfering with his attacking mentality."


As a fan of Irish rugby, it's an extremely exciting prospect to think that the likes of Johnny Sexton and Ian Madigan could be getting tutelage from another of the game's thinkers that could get the best out of each of them while teaching them a few new tricks. Brown's arrival would allow Leo Cullen to remain as forward's coach and not upset the current backroom staff too much.

And why would Brown want to come to Ireland? Well, he does have links to the country after his brother Cory was part of the Connacht set-up working domestically and with the academy. Cory Brown can be given some credit in the development of Kieran Marmion before he left to takeover from his brother as head coach of Otago.

If Tony Brown gets the job, we could look forward to seeing similar improvements from some of Leinster's brightest players.


Be excited, if this happens it'll be another unheralded capture along the ilk of Joe Schmidt, Michael Cheika and Isa Nacewa.

See Also: 11 Of The Most Likely Contenders To Be The Next Leinster Head Coach
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