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Tuesday 13 November 2018

Felipe is back as Stringer bows out

Appointed: Contepomi
Appointed: Contepomi

Leo Cullen has added another significant voice to the weekly coaching debate at Leinster.

The head coach has not been lulled into sitting on his hands after achieving an unprecedented Champions Cup-PRO14 League double.

When club captain Isa Nacewa retired, the province acted quickly to secure the signature of the respected Wallaby Joe Tomane.

Now, Cullen has turned to his former Leinster teammate Felipe Contepomi to replace Girvan Dempsey as the backs coach.

Cullen is convinced Contepomi can provide the same positive influence off the field as he did on it, for six seasons from 2003 to 2009.

"Felipe, he could always see the game very quickly," noted Cullen. "He has a great appreciation for the game and is a very smart guy."

The mercurial out-half was a maverick in his style of play, moving seamlessly from inspiring Leinster to goading Munster.

"It was pretty incredible what he did here," said Cullen. "He was a great character in the dressing-room and he still speaks incredibly passionately about Leinster."

From there, he returned to his father's medical practice and has been involved as an assistant to the Super 15 franchise Jaguares.

The free-flowing movement of the Argentinean club may be reflective of the direction in which Leinster are looking to move their game.

Cullen added: "Every now and again it is nice to have an outside perspective coming in. He has been at Leinster. He understands how things operate here.

"He played in England prior to Leinster and went to France to play for a couple of different clubs there.

"He has experience of the international game as well with Argentina. He can add a huge amount to some of the young players we have."

Meanwhile, Peter Stringer has brought the curtain down on his 20-year playing career.

The Grand Slam-winning scrum-half was capped 98 times for Ireland from 2000 to 2011.

He followed a 15-year career at Munster with Premiership experience at Saracens, Newcastle Falcons, Bath, Sale Sharks and Worcester Warriors.

"From the age of five all I ever dreamed of was playing rugby. I cannot describe how it feels to have lived that dream," he stated.

"To the coaches who never saw my size as a disadvantage, thank you."

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