Sean O’Brien will reunite with the man who gave him first senior international cap when he moves to London Irish after the 2019 World Cup.
Declan Kidney, who coached Ireland between 2008 and 2013, gave O’Brien his first cap from the bench in their 41-6 win over Fiji at the RDS in November 2009.
Kidney, who arrived at London Irish last season as a technical consultant, has since been promoted to Director of Rugby and with head coach Les Kiss, they have guided the team to the top of the championship as they look set for a return to the Premiership next season.
O’Brien admits that the Cork man didn’t have to do too much selling to convince him to join ‘The Exiles’.
“He wants to bring the club to a real competitive place in the Premiership, hopefully, develop a lot of the younger guys and create a really good culture there,” O’Brien said.
“I think he’s done a great job from what he’s said to me and what I have seen so far in bits and pieces. Obviously, it’ll be a different kettle of fish when they get back into the Premiership. He didn’t have to sell it too much to me, they are things I enjoy doing.”
Throughout O’Brien’s time at Leinster, he has seen a whole host of young talent emerge to become fully-fledged international Test players – the quality of London Irish’s academy is also something which excites the 32-year-old.
“There are a lot of younger lads coming through their academy, there is a big focus on them for the past couple of seasons. You can see a lot of them are getting their chances in the last few games. I have been keeping one eye on (them) as such.
“That’s a major part of it and the brand of rugby they are trying to play is going to be an exciting brand of rugby hopefully. They have some nice classy players.”
Check out earlier footage of O’Brien speaking about how his move to London Irish came about and the difficulty in leaving Leinster.