Former England boss Stuart Lancaster has returned to full-time rugby union on the senior coaching staff of Pro12 side Leinster until the end of the season. The 46-year-old, who left Twickenham by mutual consent last November in the aftermath of a dismal World Cup campaign on home soil, heads to the east of Ireland as a replacement for ex-defence coach Kurt McQuilkin, who went back home to New Zealand in August.
"The sad departure of Kurt McQuilkin due to family reasons has brought about an opportunity to bring in somebody new to the Leinster Rugby coaching team," head coach Leo Cullen said in an announcement on the official Leinster website.
"Stuart brings a wealth of experience and is a highly respected figure in world rugby. We are all looking forward to having Stuart join our team and together helping the players maximise their potential as a group."
Cumbrian Lancaster, a former Scotland U21 international, played his club rugby in Yorkshire and later became academy head and director of rugby at Leeds Carnegie – with whom he won promotion back to the Premiership – before joining the Rugby Football Union (RFU) as head of elite player development.
He also took charge of the Saxons before being named as senior England head coach on an interim basis for the 2012 Six Nations following the resignation of Martin Johnson in the aftermath of a terrible World Cup campaign in New Zealand.
After guiding the team to second place in that year's competition, he was appointed to the role permanently and subsequently won 28 of his 46 matches at the helm before leaving by mutual consent in 2015 after England lost to both Wales and Australia en route to becoming the first host nation ever to be eliminated at the pool stage of a Rugby World Cup.
Since that ignominious exit, Lancaster has boosted his experience with an array of different sporting organisations including British Cycling, The Football Association (FA), NFL franchise the Atlanta Falcons and Counties Manukau. He was also linked with head coaching jobs at Toulon and the Queensland Reds while admitting that the "lure of coaching Super Rugby" and in the southern hemisphere was a big deal.
Lancaster joins a Leinster side that topped the Pro12 table in 2015-16 under Cullen, only to lose 20-10 to fellow Irish province and first-time title winners Connacht in the final at Murrayfield. They began the new campaign with a 20-8 home win over Italian outfit Benetton Treviso on Friday evening (2 September) that featured two tries from young fly-half Joey Carbery on his maiden start and another effort from hooker James Tracy. They failed to secure a winning bonus point, however, and travel to face Glasgow Warriors next weekend before meeting Edinburgh and Ospreys.