O’Sullivan quits as Ireland coach

Eddie O’Sullivan has confirmed his resignation as head coach of Ireland.He had been in change since November 2001 and was under pressure after a disastrous World Cup, followed by a poor campaign in the RBS Six Nations.

Ireland failed to make it out of the group stages at the World Cup and could only manage victories over Scotland and Italy in the Six Nations.

O’Sullivan said: “Having given my role as team head coach much consideration, I have decided to step down.”

The 49-year-old coach led Ireland to three Triple Crowns during his reign but his critics still felt he did not get the best out of a richly talented team.

Expectations were high that the Irish would do well at the World Cup but heavy defeats by France and Argentina meant they failed to progress from the group stages for the first time.

Last Saturday’s 33-10 defeat by England sealed a poor championship for Ireland and signalled the end for O’Sullivan.

His statement continued: “I would like to thank my management team and all the players that I have worked with during my tenure as Irish coach.

“Their commitment and professionalism in representing their country has been consummate throughout.

“I would also like to thank the IRFU for their unwavering support of me as coach to the team.

“In addition, I would like to thank the Irish rugby supporters who have played a huge role in driving the team on to some outstanding performances in recent years.

“Finally, I would like to wish the Irish rugby team and the IRFU every success in the future, in a professional sport that is becoming more demanding and competitive by the day.

“I will not be making any further comments on this issue for the foreseeable future, and I would ask that the privacy of both myself and my family at this time be respected.”