Irish Rugby
Cotter rules himself out of Ireland running
ESPN Staff
April 4, 2013
Clermont Auvergne head coach Vern Cotter, Clermont Auvergne v Leicester Tigers, Heineken Cup, Stade Marcel Michelin, Clermont-Ferrand, France, December 11, 2011
Vern Cotter is keen to stay at Clermont © Getty Images

Clermont Auvergne boss Vern Cotter has reportedly ruled himself out of the running to replace Declan Kidney as Ireland boss.

Cotter led Clermont to the 2011 Top 14 title and they currently sit second in the French top flight with just three matches left in the regular season. Les Jaunards are also excelling on the Heineken Cup stage and will play Montpellier this weekend in the quarter-finals of the competition.

The coach has one year left on his Clermont deal and he has told Radio Sport in New Zealand that he plans to honour his contract. Cotter had been linked with the post alongside Leinster boss Joe Schmidt whom he worked alongside at Clermont.

This proposal was supported by former Ireland international Tony Ward who wrote in the Belfast Telegraph: "Schmidt has a year to go with Leinster before returning to New Zealand, but with the right offer and the right management in place, coaching an Ireland squad he knows so well would surely make for an opportunity extremely difficult to refuse.

"I cannot think of a more appropriate appointment. He is young, enthusiastic, articulate, media friendly and more than anything a player's coach who is at his most comfortable in the heart of the training action. Clearly there would be respective roles to be defined between Cotter and Schmidt but, given their track record, the dynamic would be right, provided they are given carte blanche to appoint their own back-room team.

"Hopefully it would include the likes of Les Kiss, Gert Smal, Anthony Foley and Greg Feek, but that decision must be made by the new coaching ticket and not by any committee sitting in a room in Lansdowne Road."

The potential link-up would have seen two of northern hemisphere domestic rugby's greatest brains work in tandem but that now seems unlikely. Cotter now joins Harlequins boss Conor O'Shea and Saracens coach Mark McCall in distancing himself from the Irish post.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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