Tomas O'Leary's new boss has a lash at Declan Kidney
Former Munster man Tomas O’Leary has arrived at London Irish and his new boss was quick to defend him and lash Ireland coach Declan Kidney.
The Rugby World Cup seems a long time ago now but the selection made by Declan Kidney for New Zealand is still an issue.
To refresh your memory, Eoin Reddan, Conor Murray and Isaac Boss all got the nod, with Tomas O’Leary, formerly an Ireland regular, left at home. And after falling behind Murray in the Munster pecking order, O’Leary has signed a three-year deal with London Irish.
In today’s Examiner, his new boss, Brian Smith, has come out to defend his new signing, and slam Declan Kidney in the process.
“Tomás O’Leary was hung out to dry," said Smith of the World Cup selection. "He was a starting player for Ireland and they came under a bit of pressure in the warm-up games for the World Cup. He threw an intercept pass in a game that didn’t go well for Ireland (against France) and he was hung out to dry.
"Tomás O’Leary has never stopped being a brilliant player. He was hung out to dry and the fact that he was a bit of a scapegoat is something that he can’t control. In my opinion, looking at it as a neutral observer, I felt that Tomás probably got a pretty bad deal."
While Kidney’s squad selections are a constant source of debate among fans, it is surprising to hear a coach have such a direct dig at another.
The paper also spoke to O’Leary, and told him what Smith had said. And it seems O’Leary is still understandably unhappy about missing out on the trip to New Zealand last year, though he was a bit kinder to Kidney and hopes to wear the green again.
"Obviously it was really disappointing, but that is the way it worked out — I wasn’t picked," said O’Leary.
"It would have been a great experience and I wanted to go to the World Cup, but s**t happens in rugby. I might have been struggling with a bit of form going into the World Cup. I wouldn’t be too bothered about it [Smith’s comments] as it’s all in the past.
"I played in last season’s Six Nations and I have a good relationship with Deccie — he picked me for a lot of games. I certainly don’t hold any grudges against him. I have a lot of time for him and hopefully I can get picked again by him.”
Playing in the Aviva Premiership won’t help him get back in the Ireland set-up so he will have to perform very well to get another call. Sounds like Smith will certainly have him revved up anyway.