Declan Kidney (born 20 October 1959) is an Irish rugby union coach. He was the head coach of the Ireland national rugby union team from 2008 to 2013, where he won the 2009 Six Nations with a Grand Slam, winning the 2009 IRB Coach of the Year award.[1][2] He was also the head coach at Munster, leading them to four Heineken Cup finals, in 2006 and 2008. He is currently Director of Rugby at London Irish having been appointed in March 2018.

Declan Kidney
Birth nameDeclan Kidney
Date of birth (1959-10-20) 20 October 1959 (age 60)
Place of birthBallincollig, Cork, Ireland
Rugby union career
Position(s) Director of Rugby
Current team London Irish
Amateur team(s)
Years Team Apps (Points)

University College Cork
Teams coached
Years Team
Ireland (assistant)
Newport Gwent Dragons
UCC (Director of Sport)
London Irish
Correct as of 22 May 2018

Early lifeEdit

Kidney was born in Ballincollig, County Cork. He played rugby for UCC and later for Dolphin RFC. He studied to become an accounting and mathematics teacher,[3] in which position he was appointed at Presentation Brothers College, Cork, and later became the career guidance officer.

He took on the role of rugby coach at the school, where he had initial success as coach of the junior and later senior side.[4]

Coaching careerEdit

Youth and professionalEdit

Following his coaching of the Irish Schools team, Kidney coached the Ireland under 19s team which won the FIRA World Cup in 1998.[5]

After the 1998 Tournament he joined Munster.[6] His initial stint at Munster ended in 2002, when he left to become Ireland's assistant coach. He was replaced at Munster by Alan Gaffney.

In the summer of 2004, he became coach at Newport Gwent Dragons. However, in August 2004, after only 3 months in the job, he left to join Leinster.[7]

He rejoined Munster in 2005, winning the Heineken Cup in his first season back, after losing in both 2000 and 2002 in the final.[8][9] After this win, Kidney was awarded the 2006 Philips Sports Manager of the Year award,[10] and on 24 May 2008, his Munster squad won the Heineken Cup once again.[11]

Ireland (2008–2013)Edit

Kidney was succeeded as Munster coach in July 2008 by Tony McGahan,[12] when Kidney became the Irish national coach. He coached the Irish team to the Grand Slam and Triple Crown in 2009, in his first year as head coach.[13] In June 2009, coached Ireland Wolfhounds, then known as Ireland A, to their first Churchill Cup. He was awarded the 2009 IRB Coach of the Year.[14] He was also awarded the 2009 Phillips Manager of the Year for the third time in four years, beating Brian Cody, John Oxx and Giovanni Trapattoni to the title.[15]

Ireland's international fortunes declined after 2009 with a poor string of results, which was the antithesis to the success of its provinces Leinster, Ulster, Connacht and Munster. In 2011 and Kidney led Ireland to the quarter finals of the 2011 Rugby World Cup, at which Ireland recorded their first-ever clean sweep of their pool, including Ireland's first-ever win at a world cup against a major rugby nation (Australia). A series of poor game management decisions by senior players saw them defeated 22–10 by Wales.[16] Ireland suffered their heaviest defeat in history in 2012 going down by 60-0 against New Zealand[17], and by 2013 had slipped to their worst IRB World Ranking of ninth when Ireland suffered a string of injuries to key players, the likes of which Ireland has not suffered previously nor suffered since. After finishing fifth in the 2013 Six Nations Championship, which included an historic loss to Italy, the IRFU, on 2 April 2013, decided to terminate Kidney's contract.[18][19][20][21] Kidney finished with a record of 28 wins, 3 draws and 23 defeats.


In August 2013, Kidney was appointed as the Director of Sport and Physical Activity at UCC.[22]




  1. ^ "Declan Kidney Confirmed As New Ireland Coach". Irish Rugby. 7 May 2008. Archived from the original on 10 May 2008. Retrieved 7 May 2008.
  2. ^ "Ireland appoint Kidney as coach". BBC Sport. 7 May 2008. Retrieved 7 May 2008.
  3. ^ "Ireland's coach in waiting". This is London. 8 April 2008. Archived from the original on 5 May 2013. Retrieved 7 May 2008.
  4. ^ "The Return of the Prodigal Son". October 2005. Archived from the original on 30 May 2008. Retrieved 7 May 2008.
  5. ^ New role for Kidney BBC Sport, 16 February 2004
  6. ^ Munster: Heineken Cup Factfile Archived 29 May 2008 at the Wayback Machine Irish Rugby, 4 April 2008
  7. ^ Leinster land Kidney BBC Sport, 26 May 2004
  8. ^ Kidney knows it's getting tougher in Heineken Cup Archived 29 May 2008 at the Wayback Machine RTÉ Sport, 30 October 2001
  9. ^ Munster 23–19 Biarritz BBC Sport, 20 May 2006
  10. ^ Kidney Confirmed as Manager of the year Archived 29 May 2008 at the Wayback Machine Irish Rugby, 8 December 2006
  11. ^ "2008 Heineken Cup final". BBC Sport. 24 May 2008. Retrieved 23 March 2009.
  12. ^ McGahan Confirmed as New Munster Coach Archived 1 July 2008 at the Wayback Machine Irish Rugby
  13. ^ "2009 Six Nations". BBC Sport. 22 March 2009. Retrieved 22 March 2009.
  14. ^ "IRB awards for McCaw, South Africa & Kidney". BBC Sport. 28 November 2009. Retrieved 30 November 2009.
  15. ^ Kidney named Phillips Manager of the Year Archived 13 December 2009 at the Wayback Machine, RTÉ Sport, 9 December 2009
  16. ^ "Major opportunity lost as superb Welsh slam door shut". Irish Independent. 10 October 2011. Archived from the original on 5 September 2012. Retrieved 10 October 2011.
  17. ^ 2012 Ireland rugby union tour of New Zealand
  18. ^ "IRFU Announce Decision Not To Offer Declan Kidney New Contract". 2 April 2013. Archived from the original on 5 April 2013. Retrieved 2 April 2013.
  19. ^ "Declan Kidney sacked as Ireland coach". Irish Independent. 2 April 2013. Retrieved 4 April 2013.
  20. ^ "Ewen McKenzie favourite to replace Ireland coach Declan Kidney". Daily Telegraph. 2 April 2013. Retrieved 4 April 2013.
  21. ^ "Declan Kidney sacked as Ireland rugby union coach". BBC Sport. 2 April 2013. Retrieved 4 April 2013.
  22. ^ "Declan Kidney appointed Director of Sport at UCC". Irish Independent. 22 August 2013. Retrieved 22 August 2013.

External linksEdit

Preceded by
Graham Henry
IRB International Coach of the Year
Succeeded by
Graham Henry
Preceded by
 Nick Kennedy
London Irish coach
Succeeded by
Preceded by
  Eddie O'Sullivan
Ireland rugby coach
Succeeded by
Les Kiss  
Preceded by
 Alan Gaffney
Munster Rugby coach
Succeeded by
Tony McGahan